Beyoncé and Jay-Z have won a GLAAD Media Award.
The married music superstars accepted the Vanguard Award, "which is presented to media professionals who have made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance of LGBTQ people," according to the LGBTQ media organization.
In their acceptance speech Thursday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, the pair, humbled and emotional, reaffirmed their commitment to LGBTQ rights.
Jay-Z first thanked the media watchdog for honoring his mother, who came out late in life, at last year's ceremony.
"Well, first of all I'm overwhelmed," Beyoncé said. "Just super honored and overwhelmed. I already cried and put a run in my stocking. One of the most beautiful memories of my tour was looking out from the stage every night and seeing the hardest gangster tramping out right next to the most fabulous queen. Respecting and celebrating each other.
That's the beauty of a great partnership. Connecting people who at first glance, seem to be world's apart. Whether it's our fans or our families, the LGBTQI community has always supported us and lifted us up. We thank you.
We're here to promote love for every human being. And change begins with those closest to you. So let's tell them they are loved. Let's remind them they are beautiful, let's speak out and protect them. And parents, let's love our kids in their truest form.
I'd like to request that we continue to shift the stigmas in this community, especially the stigmas in black families towards queer black and brown men. Lastly, I want to dedicate this award to my Uncle Johnny, the most fabulous gay man I've ever met, who helped raise me and my sister. He lived his truth, he was brave and unapologetic at a time when this country was not as accepting.
Witnessing his battle with HIV was one of the most painful experiences I've ever lived. I'm hopeful his struggles served to open pathways for other young people to live more freely. LGBTQI rights are human rights. 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 before thanking her husband for his contributions to the LGBTQ cause.
— BEYONCÉ LEGION (@BeyLegion) March 29, 2019
Beyoncé tears up thanking her Uncle Johnny who was the most fabulous gay man she knows. He helped raise her and Solange and she was heartbroken to witness firsthand his struggle with HIV #GLAADAwardshttps://t.co/pDKJbLi5f6
— PRIDE (@pride_site) March 29, 2019
GLAAD's recognition of Beyoncé's work as an ally was initially met with some pushback. Critics on social media questioned whether the "Formation" singer has been vocal enough about LGBTQ rights throughout her career.
However, Beyoncé has used her global platform to support various LGBTQ issues, including marriage equality, support of transgender youth, and honoring the victims of the Pulse shooting.
Moreover, Jay-Z's song "Smile" discussed his mother's struggle in the closet and with societal stigma: “Mama had four kids, but she's a lesbian. Had to pretend so long that she's a thespian. Had to hide in the closet, so she medicate. Society shame and the pain was too much to take. Cried tears of joy when you fell in love. Don't matter to me if it's a him or her. I just wanna see you smile through all the hate.”
The Vanguard Award is one of the highest honors of an ally can receive in the entertainment industry. Past recipients include Elizabeth Taylor, Cher, and Patricia Arquette. Pop superstar Britney Spears faced criticism similar to Beyoncé's when she was honored with the award in 2018.
Hosted by RuPaul's Drag Race judge Ross Mathews, the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards also presented its Stephen F. Kolzak Award to Sean Hayes, the gay star of Will & Grace. Lizzo was the evening's performer. Other special guests included Adam Lambert, and the casts of Queer Eye, Love Simon, My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, One Day at a Time, and Dear White People.
Watch the speech below.