‘Glee’ cast honors Naya Rivera at GLAAD Awards

The late Glee star previously hosted the GLAAD Media Awards twice

In a touching tribute, the Glee cast reunited to honor the late Naya Rivera at the GLADD awards on Thursday.

This summer will mark a year since the tragic passing of Glee star Naya Rivera. A landmark character in terms of LGBTQ+ representation, Rivera’s Santana Lopez is cherished for her spunky attitude, killer lines of dialogue, and brave acceptance of her truth.

In honor of Rivera and the ten year anniversary of the character’s official coming-out episode, the cast of Glee reunited to remember their late friend.

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WESTWOOD, CA – MAY 20: Actress Naya Rivera attends the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Hangover Part 3” at Westwood Village Theater on May 20, 2013 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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Jane Lynch, known for playing cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester in the series, spoke to how Rivera went from being a minor role to a fan-favorite character. The actress explained, “I remember when Naya became a regular cast member. She was a dancer, and I always thought she was cute, and she was a great dancer, and then Ryan started giving her lines, and I was like, ‘Wow. This girl is really something.'”

Glee cast member and now Broadway star Alex Newell recalled her high-energy performance of “Nutbush City Limits” in the show’s fourth season. Newell revealed, “She quite literally turned that song out, it was…my reactions that you see in that scene are very true, very honest, very in the moment because I was just so floored about the power and prowess that she had.”

Amber Riley also reminded audiences that Rivera has previously hosted the GLAAD awards twice, once by herself and once with the late Cory Monteith, who tragically passed away in 2013.

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The tribute ends with the cast reading a statement written by Rivera’s mother, Yolanda Previtire. It reads:

“Naya would be honored to receive this recognition. When Naya was told that Santana would be a lesbian she called me to let me know and I asked her how did she feel about that, and she said, ‘I feel great about it!’ Little did we know that she would impact so many people in the LGBTQ community.”

The statement concludes with Previtire speaking to Rivera’s character and how she wanted to amplify silenced voices, saying, “Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice. I don’t believe she realized how important she was to this world. I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other. Thank you GLAAD for keeping my daughter’s legacy alive.”

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