Beyoncé honours gay Uncle Johnny in Renaissance tour film

Beyonce Renaissance tour film features tribute to gay uncle Johnny
Image: Raph_PH/Flickr/Creative Commons,

Beyoncé’s new Renaissance tour film features a powerful tribute to her beloved late Uncle Johnny, a gay man who died when she was a teenager.

The music superstar released the film, officially titled Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé, on Friday in almost 100 cinemas around the world, including Australia.

It’s part concert film, part behind-the-scenes documentary following Beyoncé’s tour of the same name, which sadly Bey didn’t bring to Australia this year.

Beyoncé confirmed the film’s release date of December 1 – World AIDS Day – was in honour of Uncle Johnny (above right) who died of HIV complications.

In a powerful portion of the film, Beyoncé and her mum Tina Knowles share stories about him, and how close they were before his death when Beyoncé was 17.

“Starting out in Destiny’s Child, high-end labels didn’t really want to dress four black country curvy girls,” Beyoncé recalls.

“We couldn’t afford designer dresses and couture. My mother and my uncle, God rest his soul, made all of our first costumes.

“[They] individually sewed hundreds of crystals and pearls, putting so much passion and love into every small detail.”

In the Renaissance album’s dedication, Beyoncé also thanked Uncle Johnny, whom she described as “the most fabulous gay man I’ve ever known”.

“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.

“Thank you to all of the pioneers who originate culture. To all of the fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognised for far too long. This is a celebration for you.”

Beyoncé’s entire Renaissance era celebrates queer performers

Beyoncé’s Renaissance album, concerts and the new film celebrate queer and Black performers, with house music and homages to ballroom culture featuring heavily.

“When I am performing, I am nothing but free,” she says in the Renaissance tour film.

“My goal for this tour was to create a place where everyone is free, and no one is judged.

“My hope was the music from Renaissance would lead to some of these beautiful legends getting the flowers they deserve. There’s so many bees in this hive.”

Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé is in Australian cinemas now.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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