Beyoncé’s newest film, Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé, is not just a musical spectacle and a heart-pumping recreation of the tour with which it shares a name, but a heartfelt tribute to her late Uncle Johnny.
The movie opened globally on Friday, Dec. 1, World AIDS Day, a day meant to honor and remember those who have passed away from the disease.
During a premiere event, the singer stood on stage and spoke to the crowd.
“I’m really proud this film is coming out on December 1st, World AIDS Day, in honor of Uncle Johnny,” she said.
In a deeply emotional segment of the film, Beyoncé and her mother, Tina Knowles, reflect on Uncle Johnny, underlining the profound bond they shared before his passing.
“Starting out in Destiny’s Child, high-end labels didn’t really want to dress four black country curvy girls,” Beyoncé recalled, remembering the earliest days in the girl group that launched her to superstardom. “We couldn’t afford designer dresses and couture.”
The singer went on to reveal that “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.”
Beyoncé has been talking a lot in her current Renaissance era about her Uncle Johnny.
In addition to the film, she also dedicated the album to him when it was released in mid-2022. In the liner notes, she referred to him as “the most fabulous gay man I’ve ever known.”
This sentiment echoes Beyoncé’s previous mentions during significant moments. She talked about Uncle Johnny in her GLAAD Media Award acceptance speech alongside her husband Jay-Z.
She also name-checked him when she accepted her Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Album for Renaissance. That speech was important, as it marked the moment she broke the record for the most wins in Grammy history.
Johnny isn’t actually Beyoncé’s uncle, but rather her mother’s nephew.
Regardless of how he’s technically connected to the family, Bey has consistently referred to him as her uncle. He passed away from complications to HIV, which he had contracted when Beyoncé was just 17.
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