Jennifer Lopez has paid tribute to her gay aunt as she celebrates Pride Month as part of a new Billboard Love Letters campaign.
Publication bosses recently asked a number of pop culture icons to pen “love letters” to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, and in a second wave of notes, J.Lo remembers her late relative, who struggled with her sexuality for much of her life.
“When I was growing up in the Bronx, I always thought my Aunt Myrza was the coolest,” she writes. “She lived in NYC and wanted to be an actress. I wanted to be just like her.
“What I didn’t realize was that she was struggling with being gay. At that time, families didn’t sit around a dinner table and talk about tolerance and acceptance. Life was different and it is heartbreaking for me to think about it now. The people she watched on TV didn’t represent her. Movies didn’t represent her. She thought she was alone.
“Myzra isn’t with us anymore, but I like to think she is proudly looking down on me from above – the way I always looked up to her.”
Lopez reveals her aunt’s legacy lives on in her niece’s TV drama The Fosters, which tackles gay issues.
“That is why I’m proud of The Fosters, a show celebrating its 100th episode,” Jennifer explains in her Billboard love letter. “A show that holds a mirror to society and shines a light on what love looks like. It doesn’t matter your race or sexual orientation. Love is love.”
Britney Spears, Elton John, Barbra Streisand, and Celine Dion were among the stars who kicked off Pride Month with letters to gay and lesbian fans.
Britney hand wrote her message of support, stating: “Continuously throughout my career, you’ve always been so vocal about what a positive impact I’ve had on you – that I’ve instilled joy, hope and love in you at times when there was none. That my music is an inspiration. That my story gives you hope.
“But I have a secret to share with you. You see, it’s actually you that lifts me up. The unwavering loyalty. The lack of judgment. The unapologetic truth. Acceptance! Your stories are what inspire me, bring me joy and make me and my sons strive to be better people. I love you.”
Meanwhile, Rocket Man Elton John thanked his gay fans for accepting him when others didn’t, adding: “This Pride Month, I’m celebrating you. You’ve showed the world that people of all creeds, colors, and cultures can come together to enjoy the music of an openly gay artist like me. And more than that, you’ve showed the world that we are all worthy of love.”