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The cast of 'Glee' will reunite to honor their late castmate, Naya Rivera. Why are the GLAAD awards recognizing Santana Lopez? You might be surprised.

Naya Rivera: Witness the ‘Glee’ cast back together to celebrate Santana

It has been announced that the cast of Glee will be reuniting at the upcoming GLAAD Awards to honor their late castmate, Naya Rivera, who tragically passed away last year after an accidental drowning. It’s also believed the cast will too be honoring the tenth anniversary of the coming out of Rivera’s Glee character, Santana Lopez.

The character of Santana Lopez left a lasting legacy for Glee fans, especially for those who struggle with their own insecurities as it pertains to sharing who you really are with the rest of the world. To honor both Naya Rivera and Santana Lopez, former Glee co-stars Amber Riley, Jane Lynch, Jenna Ushkowitz, Kevin McHale, Heather Morris, Matthew Morrison, Darren Criss, Harry Shum Jr., as well as others will all be present. 

An introduction by Demi Lovato – who actually played the girlfriend of Santana Lopez in the latter Glee seasons – is expected to kick off the proceedings. It will be a welcome tribute to all those who loved Naya Rivera, as well as for those who found inspiration in the character of Santana Lopez, seeing her as not only a character but a symbol of courage & hope. Let’s delve into the full legacy of Santana Lopez.  

Glee’s Santana Lopez

Season 1 of Glee introduced us to the b!+$% of McKinley High School, Santana Lopez, who was dead set on her mission to destroy the Glee club New Directions and all who wasted their time with it. Equally, Lopez had an individual cause that involved putting down those she deemed weak, fat, gay, stupid, or whatever she could come up with. Rivera’s sharp delivery perfectly suited the character’s stubbornness, and we loved it!  

However, as the seasons evolved so did the character of Santana Lopez, who was able to find herself alongside her close band of misfits, realizing that there are more people like her than she ever thought. It was in season 3 where the character was outed as a lesbian, having struggled with her sexuality in the episodes leading up to her reveal. 

While it was a culture shock at first, Lopez went on to hone her true identity, as well as her relationship with fellow cheerio, Brittany. It was one of the better character arcs in Glee, and it likely couldn’t have been portrayed any better than how Naya Rivera executed the role. 

Naya passes away

At the young age of thirty-three, Naya Rivera passed away as the result of a tragic drowning after she and her young son Josey, now five, rented a boat at Southern California’s Lake Piru. Worries grew after the boat failed to return after its three-hour rental, which led to the staff finding the boat at the north side of the lake, only to find a sleeping Josey. Naya’s body went missing and was eventually recovered five days later. 

It is believed that Rivera gave her own life in an effort to save her child.

Heather Morris gives her thoughts 

Heather Morris, who played the clueless yet loveable Brittany S. Pierce on the show, later opened up about her and Rivera’s on-screen relationship, as it was considered by many to be a groundbreaking representation of LGBTQ+ in primetime television.

She had the following to say on her Instagram account last August: “I don’t need to explain what the importance of Santana and Brittany’s relationship was to all of you who are watching, because most of you felt like it was your gateway into your current life. Most of you felt like it was an inspiration to become your best self.” 

She continued:  “I want you to know that that was never lost on me. It was never lost on Naya. We both knew how special that was. I think she knew a little bit more than I did. I really felt it a lot later with all the messages and all the people reaching out. And I knew the writers also knew that as well. They were basically writing for the fans.” 

The 32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards will be hosted by Niecy Nash, and will air April 8th at 8:00pm ET on YouTube; it will also be available to stream on Hulu starting at 10:00pm ET.

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