At last year’s GLAAD Media Awards, Jay-Z’s mother, Gloria Carter, accepted a Special Recognition Award on behalf of her son for the song “Smile,” on which she shared some powerful words about being a member of the LGBTQ community. At this year’s awards, Jay-Z and Beyonce followed her example, as the two were given the Vanguard Award, which is presented to people “who have made a big difference in promoting equality and acceptance of LGBTQ people.” The two were on hand to accept the honor, and they both spoke from the heart during their speech.
Jay-Z began, saying of his mother, “This journey is filled with highs, lows, and a lot of learning. […] I get to follow in her footsteps of spreading love and acceptance, and [thank her] for her beautiful speech at the end of the song ‘Smile,’ and for allowing me to tell her story.
Beyonce finished the speech, and she became visibly emotional while dedicating the award to her uncle, “the most fabulous gay man I have ever known.” She said, “He lived his truth. He was brave and unapologetic during a time when this country wasn’t as accepting. Witnessing his battle with HIV was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever lived. I’m hopeful that his struggle served to open pathway for other young people to live more freely. LGBTQI rights are human rights.”
Watch a clip of the pair’s acceptance speech above.