Watch: 'Glee' Cast and Demi Lovato Honor Late Naya Rivera At GLAAD Awards

by Brendan Walker

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday April 10, 2021
Originally published on April 9, 2021

On Thursday night, the cast of Fox's "Glee" and former guest star Demi Lovato reunited to pay their respects to their late co-star Naya Rivera.

Rivera, who passed away last July after a drowning accident, was known for portraying Santana Lopez, one of television's first openly LGBTQ teen characters, and one of its first Latina ones as well.

The show's cast and Lovato talked about the diversity of her character and the pride Rivera felt to stand up for those communities.

"With the exception of our show, there were almost no LGBTQ teens on television at the time. Especially young, Latina, LGBTQ women," the cast collectively said. "As an ally, Naya was so honored to represent them. But things are getting better, because every year there's more LGBTQ representation on TV."

Lovato, who portrayed Lopez's girlfriend Dani and recently opened up about her identity, also expressed just how much being involved with this role meant to her own experiences.

"Naya's role was groundbreaking for closeted queer girls, like I was at the time," she said. "Her ambition and accomplishments inspired Latina women all over the world."

In addition to expressing their admiration for Rivera's achievements, the cast and Lovato also opened about what Rivera's presence meant to those on set.

"There was always so much more than met the eye with Naya," the cast collectively explained in the tribute. "She made everybody laugh onscreen and off, but the real win was when you made her laugh."

A written statement from Rivera's mother, Yolanda Previtire, she detailed her daughter's dreams, and how she might not have been fully aware of her own importance to communities.

"Her desire was to always be an advocate for those who did not have a voice. I don't believe she realized how important she was to this world," Previtire wrote. ""I am grateful that my eldest daughter helped to change the landscape of how we view and see each other."

Watch the tribute below.