Naya Rivera honored by Lovato, ‘Glee’ solid at GLAAD Awards

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The solid of “Glee” reunited nearly Thursday to honor their good friend and costar Naya Rivera, who died at age 33 final summer time whereas on a boating journey together with her son in Lake Piru.

Singer Demi Lovato, who briefly visitor starred on “Glee” as Rivera’s onscreen girlfriend, kicked off the touching tribute to the trailblazing expertise on the 2021 GLAAD Media Awards. Within the hit musical sequence, Rivera performed Santana Lopez, a sharp-tongued cheerleader who made main strides for LGBTQ illustration when she got here out as homosexual on the primetime Fox program.

“I’ll all the time cherish the prospect I bought to play Naya’s girlfriend, Dani, on ‘Glee,’” Lovato mentioned earlier than introducing her fellow “Glee” actors. “The character Naya performed, Santana Lopez, was groundbreaking for closeted queer ladies like I used to be on the time. And her ambition and accomplishments impressed Latina girls everywhere in the world. …

“It’s been 10 years since Santana Lopez got here out. Take a look at what LGBTQ teenagers have accomplished in a decade. Think about what we will do within the subsequent one. Some pals of mine bought collectively to allow them to bear in mind Naya and remind you: Don’t cease believing.”

Among the many reunited “Glee” alumni had been Amber Riley, Lauren Potter, Chris Colfer, Jane Lynch, Matthew Morrison, Darren Criss, Kevin McHale, Jenna Ushkowitz, Heather Morris, Harry Shum Jr., Alex Newell, Becca Tobin, Jessalyn Gilsig, Dot-Marie Jones, Jacob Artist and Vanessa Lengies. Criss fondly recalled that there was “all the time a lot greater than met the attention with Naya.”

“I bear in mind when Naya grew to become an everyday solid member,” added Lynch, who portrayed fearsome cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester. “She was a dancer, and I all the time thought she was cute and she or he was an amazing dancer. After which [executive producer Ryan Murphy] began giving her traces, and I used to be like, ‘Wow, this woman is admittedly one thing.’”

“She made all people snicker onscreen and off,” mentioned Ushkowitz, who performed goth glee membership member Tina Cohen-Chang. “However the actual win was if you happen to made her snicker, since you knew you really did one thing actually humorous.”

Along with celebrating her legacy as a performer and a mom, the actors hailed Rivera for her contributions to the LGBTQ group and famous that she hosted the GLAAD Media Awards twice — as soon as on her personal and as soon as together with her late costar Cory Monteith, who died of a drug overdose in 2013.

“Santana principally bought disowned by her household and, as lots of us know, that’s a sense too many LGBTQ children know too properly,” mentioned Colfer, who portrayed standout glee membership soprano Kurt Hummel.

“Aside from our present, there have been nearly no LGBTQ teenagers on tv on the time,” mentioned Newell, who performed glee membership member Distinctive Adams.

“Particularly younger, Latina LGBTQ girls,” added Shum, who performed breakdancer Mike Chang.

Gilsig, who portrayed the spouse of glee membership director Will Schuester (Morrison), closed out the tribute with a heartfelt assertion from Rivera’s mom, Yolanda Previtire.

“Naya could be honored to obtain this recognition,” it learn. “When Naya was advised that Santana could be a lesbian, she referred to as me to let me know, and I requested her how did she really feel about that, and she or he mentioned, ‘I really feel nice about it.’

“Little did we all know that she would affect so many individuals within the LGBTQ group. Her need was to all the time be an advocate to those that didn’t have a voice. I don’t imagine that she realized how vital she was to this world. I’m grateful that my eldest daughter helped to alter the panorama of how we view and see one another. Thanks … for preserving my daughter’s legacy alive.”

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