Beyoncé reveals she lost her uncle to HIV in emotional speech at 2019 GLAAD Media Awards

By Caitlin O'Kane

/ CBS News

Thursday night's 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards was a star-studded bash, but two celebrities stood out: Beyoncé and Jay-Z. The power couple received the prestigious Vanguard Award, and during their acceptance speech, Beyoncé became emotional as she dedicated the honor to her uncle, Johnny, Entertainment Tonight reported.

The superstar said her uncle was "the most fabulous gay man I have ever met," and "he lived his truth and 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," she said. "I'm hopeful that his struggle served to open pathways for other young people to live more freely."

[email protected] and @S_C_ accept the Vanguard Award at the 30th Annual #GLAADawards in Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/lqSoRkFPyl

— GLAAD (@glaad) March 29, 2019

The GLAAD Vanguard Award "is presented to celebs and notables who have made a big difference in promoting equality and acceptance of LGBTQ people," according to GLAAD's website. Past recipients include Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Cher and Whoopi Goldberg, ET reported.

Beyoncé said LGBTQ rights are human rights, sneaking in a lyric from her song "Formation."

"To choose who you love is your human right. How you identify and see yourself is your human right. Who you make love to and take that ass to Red Lobster is your human right," she said as the crowd erupted in applause.

A tribute performance before Beyoncé's speech got a standing ovation. "Rupaul's Drag Race" star Shangela lip synced to a Beyoncé medley, prompting Queen Bey herself to stand in astonishment.

"I already cried, I put a run in my stocking from Shangela," Beyoncé joked when she got up on stage to accept the award.

OMG. @itsSHANGELA IS PERFORMING A BEYONCÉ MEDLEY IN FRONT OF BEYONCÉ AT THE #GLAADAWARDS. pic.twitter.com/VNS0oGurxF

— Raymond Braun (@raymondbraun) March 29, 2019

During her speech, Beyoncé thanked her husband. "I'm so proud of you for making incredible strides towards changing stigmas in the hip-hop community," she said.

Jay-Z has opened up about his mother's struggle to come out as a lesbian, due to society's pressures. The rapper said his mom, Gloria Carter, first came out to him while he was working on his album 4:44, which was released last year. Jay-Z then wrote the song "Smile" about his mom's coming out journey.

During the acceptance speech, Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, said his mother was honored at the GLAAD awards last year. "I get to follow in her footsteps of spreading love and acceptance in her beautiful speech at the end of the song 'Smile,'" he said.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z's night did not end after they received the honor. After the GLAAD Awards, the couple showed up at Diana Ross' 75th birthday party and sang "Happy Birthday" to the icon, according to ET.

Beyoncé 42 photos

First published on March 29, 2019 / 11:47 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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