On Thursday night, actress, musician and lawyer Demi Lovato introduced a heartwarming tribute to the late, great Glee actress Naya Rivera. Lovato was a friend of Riveras Santana and also played his girlfriend on the Fox musical series.
Tribute paid tribute to the 10th anniversary of Santana coming out as a lesbian in the GLAAD Media Award-winning series. As Lovato pointed out, this was a groundbreaking character for Latinx’s LGBTQ representation on television. “Her ambition and achievements inspired Latin women around the world,” said Lovato of Rivera. “It’s the strength of a show like Glee.”
The special tribute included Jacob Artist, Chris Colfer, Darren Criss, Jessalyn Gilsig, Dot Marie-Jones, Vanessa Lengies, Jane Lynch, Kevin McHale, Heather Morris, Matthew Morrison, Alex Newell, Lauren Potter, Amber Riley, Harry Shum Jr., Becca Tobin and Jenna Ushkowitz.
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“There was so much more than met the eye with Naya,” Criss said.
Lynch recalled how impressed she was with how great a performer Rivera was when she became a series regular. Tobin, Ushkowitz and Newell celebrated his amazing performance of “Nutbush City Limits”.
McHale said everyone said the same thing about Rivera when she treated everyone with kindness. Ushkowitz added: “She made everyone laugh on screen and turned off, but the real gain is if you made her laugh because you knew you were actually doing something really funny.”
Morrison talked about how great a mother she was, and Riley pointed out how she hosted the GLAAD Media Awards twice – once alone and with the late Cory Monteith.
Cast shared the heartbreaking scene when Santana’s grandmother kicked her out of the house for being gay and treated what impact she made for that queer and Latinx community.
Rivera’s mother, Yolanda Previtire, was unable to attend the tribute, but she shared a message: “Naya would be honored to receive this recognition. When Naya was told that Santana wanted to be a lesbian, she called me to tell me and I asked her how she thought about it and she said ‘I’m fine!’ “
“We did not know she would influence so many people in the LGBTQ community,” Previtire continued. “Her wish was always to be an advocate for those who did not have a voice. I do not think she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my oldest daughter helped change the landscape the way I look and see each other. Thank you GLAAD for keeping my daughter’s legacy alive. ”
See the full tribute above.