The cast of “Glee” gathered to pay tribute to Naya Rivera on Thursday.
During the GLAAD Media Awards, the stars of the show honoured Rivera and her character, Santana Lopez, who came out on the show 10 years ago. Her role is often praised for breaking ground for LGBTQ teens and Latinx teens.
Rivera died in a drowning accident last July while boating with her son on Lake Piru.
Demi Lovato, who played Lopez’s girlfriend Dani on the show, started the segment.
“I will always cherish the chance I got to play Naya’s girlfriend, Dani, on ‘Glee’,” said Lovato. “The character Naya played, Santana Lopez, was groundbreaking for closeted queer girls, like I was at the time. Her ambition and accomplishments inspired Latina women all over the world.”
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 then joined in on a virtual call where they shared memories of Rivera.
Lea Michele was missing.
Ushkowitz recalled Rivera’s laugh, “but the real win is if you made her laugh.” Adding, her “best role was being a mom.”
Gilsig read an emotional statement from Rivera’s mom Yolanda Previtire.
“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,” read the statement. “Her desire was to always be an advocate to those who did not have a voice. I don’t believe that 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.”