On Saturday, celebrities flooded New York for the 29th annual GLAAD Media Awards, where Ava DuVernay, Samira Wiley, and Gloria Carter were honored.
Carter, along with her son Jay-Z who was unable to be in attendance, received the Special Recognition Award for “Smile,” a track from Jay’s album in which Carter publicly comes out.
Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts presented Carter with the award as Jay’s mom told the audience, “I accept it with pride and joy on behalf of my son and myself. Thanks to my family for loving me unconditionally, no matter what. Thanks to my partner, for loving me and helping me free myself from being in the shadows. Thanks to you, to all the people whose lives I touched, for your support, by just telling my truth.”
Carter added, “‘Smile’ became a reality because I shared with my son who I am. Not that people didn’t know; I was just someone they didn’t talk about but they loved me anyway. But for me, this was the first time that I spoke to anyone about who I really am. My son cried and said, ‘It must have been horrible to live that way for so long.’ My life wasn’t horrible, I chose to protect my family from ignorance. I was happy but I was not free.”
She also told People, “I didn’t realize how we touched so many lives. I’m just glad that I can inspire people.”
Director Ava DuVernay and actress Samira Wiley were also honored at the event. The award-winning director received GLAAD’s Excellence in Media Award for her work through ARRAY, which gives LGBTQ filmmakers the opportunity to tell their stories.
The Root reports that DuVernay was presented the award by Senator Cory Booker, telling the audience, “People ask me a lot about being an activist and an artist, and to me, they’re one in the same. To be an activist one must be highly creative. It takes great imagination to envision in a world in a way that’s not there…I thank my LGBTQ comrades for your fight, for your resilience, for your daring, for your dignity, for your declaration of self, and I dedicate this award tonight to those of every pronoun.”
Wiley, who currently stars in The Handmaid’s Tale, was presented with the Vito Russo Award and detailed her own coming out and her father’s reaction, “I heard the words, ‘I like girls’ come out of my mouth. When I was finished I looked up and I said, ‘OK, I’m done.’ I waited, and my father looked at me and said, ‘Cool.’”
Congrats to all the honorees, who continue to inspire and do the work to uplift the LGBTQ community.