He was also Beyoncé’s godmother.
As the BeyHive excitedly await the release of Beyoncé’s upcoming album, Renaissance, the singer dropped another gem about the new record. On July 28, the performer shared a touching message on her website about dedicating the album to her late Uncle Jonny. Talk about heartwarming.
In the note, Beyoncé began by labeling Renaissance as a “three act project” produced during the pandemic that allowed her space to not overthink or succumb to perfectionism. “Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” she wrote. “It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving.”
Most notably, though, Beyoncé then dedicated Renaissance to her family, specifically her late Uncle Jonny. “A big thank you to my Uncle Jonny. 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,” Beyoncé wrote.
This isn’t the first time the legendary performer has honored her uncle. In March 2019, Beyoncé and her husband, Jay Z, accepted the Vanguard Award at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in recognition of their support to the LGBTQ+ community. In her emotional speech, Beyoncé described her uncle as “the most fabulous gay man” she had ever met. She also revealed that he died from complications relating to HIV and witnessed his battle firsthand crushed her.
“He lived his truth. He was brave and unapologetic during a time when this country wasn’t as accepting,” she said in the rousing speech. “And witnessing his battle with HIV was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever lived. I’m hopeful that his struggle helped to open pathways for other young people to live more freely. LGBTQIA rights are human rights.”
As part of her statement ahead of the album release, Beyoncé’ also shared two family photos: one of her snuggling with her three kids and a throwback of her mother, Tina Knowles Lawson, with her Uncle Jonny. Honestly, this is the sweetest family album I’ve ever seen.
“Thank you to all of the pioneers who originate culture, to all of the fallen angels whose contributions have gone unrecognized for far too long. This is a celebration for you,” Beyonce wrote. She concluded the note with a loving shoutout to her fans, hoping they “release [their] wiggle” while listening to Renaissance.
Beyoncé’s mother Tina Knowles also recently shared her own tribute to Jonny in a July Instagram video. Knowles referred to Jonny as her “very best friend” and nephew who helped raise her children, Beyoncé and Solange.
In the video, Knowles and her friend Mark Bradford danced to “Break My Soul.” She wrote in the caption that Bradford reminded her of Jonny. “On this day at Mark's studio we danced with reckless abandon much like me and Johnny used to do and he and Yoli used to do. We channeled them that day and felt their spirits,” she wrote.
Renaissance is clearly a family affair, making its imminent release all the more exciting.