Beyoncé paid tribute to her late gay uncle Jonny during an emotional Grammys acceptance speech on Sunday night.
Jonny died at the start of Beyoncé’s career from an AIDS-related illness but he was a huge influence on her and helped to design some of her early stage ensembles.
The singer, 41, has regularly paid tribute to the man who inspired her, adding that his battle with HIV was ‘one of the most painful experiences’ of her life.
Beyonce broke the record for the most Grammy wins of all time on Sunday, with 32, after earning four awards from the Recording Academy in the 2023 proceedings.
And taking to the stage to collect her win for best dance/electronic album for Renaissance, Beyoncé gave her beloved family member a nod.
She said: ‘I’m trying not to be too emotional and I’m trying to just receive this night.’
‘I want to thank God for protecting me. … I’d like to thank my uncle Jonny, who’s not here, but he’s here in spirit’ to great cheers.
She thanked her parents, husband and three children before adding, ‘I’d like to thank the queer community for your love and for inventing this genre.’
Beyoncé has previously thanked Jonny who she calls her ‘godmother’ for being ‘the first person to expose [her] to a lot of the music and culture that serve as inspiration for this album [Renaissance].’
And this isn’t the first time the singer has spoken about how significant her uncle was in her life.
At the 2019 GLAAD Media Awards she called him ‘the most fabulous gay man I’ve ever known, who helped raise me and my sister’ during her acceptance speech.
Talking about the loss of her uncle, she said: ‘[He lived] his truth and was brave and unapologetic at a time when this country wasn’t as accepting.
‘Witnessing his battle with HIV was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever lived… I’m hopeful that his struggled served to open pathways for other young people to live more freely.’
She added that ‘LGBTQI rights are human rights’, with the crowds cheering as she continued her acceptance speech.
She said: ‘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.’
Beyonce previously acknowledged the impact Jonny had on her life back in 2016 when she collected the Fashion Icon Award from the CFDA.
She said: ‘My mother and my Uncle Jonny designed all of our first costumes and made each piece by hand…individually sewing hundreds of crystals and pearls…putting so much passion and love into every small detail.
‘And when I wore these clothes onstage, I felt like I had an extra suit of armor. It was so much deeper than any brand name…my mother and my uncle and my grandmother were with me…I couldn’t fail.’
She later noted: ‘So to my mother, my uncle, and my Grandma, I just want to say thank you.’
The singer spoke about Jonny as well in a 2006 interview, detailing the impact he had on her life.
‘I was raised by my uncle who passed away with AIDS a couple of years ago. He was my mother’s best friend. He brought me to school every day.
‘He helped me buy my prom dress. He made my clothes with my mother. He was like my nanny,’ said Beyonce.
‘He was my favorite person in the whole world.’
Speaking about her religious views, she went on to say: ‘I never mixed Christianity with how I felt [about Johnny]. I am about faith and spirituality more so than religion, doing right by others and not judging.’