During the GLAAD Media Awards on Thursday, 16 stars from ‘Glee’ gathered to pay tribute to Rivera and her character Santana Lopez on the tenth anniversary of Lopez’s emergence as a lesbian on network TV.
Ten years ago on Fox Glee, Santana Lopez came out of the closet as a lesbian while finding her voice in a beloved teenage music series. Starring actress Naya Rivera, the character has since been hailed as a revolutionary role model for LGBTQ teens and LGBTQ Latinx teens.
To pay tribute to the milestones and pay tribute to the late Rivera, who drowned last July while riding a boat on a lake on Lake Pirae in Ventura County, California, 16. Glee members of the cast gathered practically as part of the GLAAD Media Awards on Thursday night. The organization was the champion of the hit show, honoring it as an outstanding comedy series twice at back-to-back ceremonies, in 2010 and 2011. Rivera hosted the show on two occasions, once alone and the other time the opposite Glee teammate Cory Monteith (who also suffered a tragic fate when he passed away in 2013 from an overdose).
A special segment was opened by pop star Demi Lovato, who played a major role in the series starring Dani, Lopez’s girlfriend. “I will always appreciate the chance I have to play Nay’s girlfriend Dani Glee, “said Lovato, who in real life recognizes himself as a pansexual.” The character Naya played, Santana Lopez, was revolutionary for closed queer girls, like me at the time. Her ambition and achievements have inspired Latin American women around the world. “
Lovato then introduced Glee cast, which 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. (Extremely absent was star Leo Michele.)
Gathering on a virtual invitation, the actors shared memories and compliments for Rivera in turn. Potter said she was “always in awe of how talented she was.” Criss added, “There was a lot more to Nay than just looking.” Lynch recalled seeing Rivera for the first time on set when she was a little player. “I always thought she was cute and a great dancer,” she explained, “and then [co-creator Ryan Murphy] I started giving her lines, and I said, “Wow, this girl is really something.”
Tobin was equally impressed. “I remember one day I started working and she was performing‘ Nutbush City Limits. ’I think I saw her for the first time then. [perform live]. You couldn’t take your eyes off her. “Newell added,” She literally turned that song off. “
Ushkowitz said Rivera always made everyone laugh on and off the screen, “but the real victory is if you made her laugh.” She added that Rivera “the best role was mom”. Morrison also mentioned Rivera’s transition to motherhood, who had a son Josey with ex-partner Ryan Dorsey. “Naya and I were good friends on the show, but I think we became a lot better friends when we both got kids,” he explained. “Seeing her put all her energy into her son was an amazing sight to see and something I’ll always remember.”
Lengies said that she will never forget the scene during which River’s grandmother’s character came out as a lesbian. It was an emotional and crucial moment in Lopez’s trajectory in the series, “and it still makes me cry,” she added, seeing her grandmother give up on Lopez.
Gilsig shared brief comments and then read a prepared statement from Yolanda Previtira, River’s mother who was not available to join the ceremony. ‘When Nayi was told Santana was going to be a lesbian, she called me to let me know and I asked her how she cared, and she said,’ I feel great about it. ‘ We didn’t know it would affect so many people in the LGBTQ community, ”the statement said. “Her desire was to always be an advocate for those who had no voice. I don’t believe she realized how important she is to this world. I’m grateful that my oldest daughter helped change the landscape of our view and see you.”
You can see the Glee gathering here in its entirety. Click here for the full list of GLAAD Media Award winners.