Beyoncé honors LGBTQ+ trailblazers on ‘Renaissance’ album, thanks fans for avoiding leaks

The superstar's seventh studio album is dedicated to her late gay uncle, who she writes introduced her to the various music and cultural references that inspired the record.

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Welcome to the “Renaissance.” The highly anticipated seventh studio album from global superstar Beyoncé has landed, a high-energy dance project with various influences and references to Black LGBTQ+ trailblazers. The project has fans all over the internet posting about their love of Queen Bey and her new tunes, and Beyoncé herself took to social media as the album dropped Thursday night to speak on the project, while also thanking the Beyhive for not listening to the leaked version of the album that appeared on the internet two days prior.

63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards – Telecast
Beyoncé addressed fans on her website as her album dropped. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy)

“So, the album leaked, and you all actually waited until the proper release time so you all can enjoy it together,” the multiple Grammy Award winner wrote in her post on her website ahead of the release. “I’ve never seen anything like it. I can’t thank y’all enough for your love and protection. I appreciate you for calling out anyone that was trying to sneak into the club early. It means the world to me.”

“Thank you for your unwavering support,” she continued. “Thank you for being patient. We are going to take our time and enjoy the music. I will continue to give my all and do my best to bring you joy. I love you deep.” The post currently has more than 2 million likes.

Listeners have taken to social media with their various takeaways from the album, including its very clear references to Black LGBTQ+ artists, ballroom culture and more. In her website post, Beyoncé specifically dedicated the project to her gay uncle and club culture.

“A big thank you to my Uncle Jonny,” she wrote. “He was my godmother and the first person to expose me to a lot of the music and culture that serve as inspiration for this album,” she wrote in a note on her official website. “Thank you to all of the pioneers who originate culture, to all of the fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognized for far too long. This is a celebration for you.”

This is not the first time Beyoncé has opened up about her late uncle. When accepting a GLAAD Media Vanguard Award in 2019, Beyoncé referred to him as “the most fabulous gay man” she has ever known. She said, “He was brave and unapologetic during 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 struggles serve to open pathways for other young people to live more freely. LGBTQI rights are human rights.”

The production credits for the album also reveal all of the Black LGBTQ+ creators she worked with and featured on the album, including Big Freedia, Honey Dijon, TS Madison, Syd and more. The Beyhive also clocked many of the references in Beyoncé’s visuals for the album, with fashions that pay homage to some of the biggest names in drag queen and ballroom culture like Pepper LaBeija and Octavia St. Laurent.

“Renaissance” is available to stream now.

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