Beyoncé honours gay uncle Johnny in Renaissance tour film: ‘God rest his soul’ 


Beyoncé’s RENAISSANCE tour film pays homage to “the most fabulous gay man” in her life – the global pop icon’s late uncle Johnny, who died when she was a teenager. 

RENAISSANCE: A Film by Beyoncé was released in cinemas around the world last Friday (1 December) on World AIDS Day in honour of her uncle Johnny, who died of HIV complications when she was just 17.  

Johnny was the nephew of Tina Knowles, Beyoncé’s mother, but Beyoncé and her sister Solange referred to him as their uncle.

In the documentary, which was written, directed and produced by Beyoncé, the “Single Ladies” hitmaker and her mother share powerful stories about Johnny and the positive impact he had on their lives.

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

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

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

Johnny meant so much to Beyoncé that she dedicated her critically acclaimed seventh album  – 2022’s RENAISSANCE – to him, with the album’s world tour proving to be her queerest yet.

Beyoncé has previously spoken about the close bond she shared with Johnny, and referred to him as “the most fabulous gay man I ever knew, who helped raise me and my sister” when accepting the Vanguard Award at the 30th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2019. 

She thanked her uncle again in her latest album’s dedication, and said: “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.”

Tina Knowles took to social media following her daughter’s dedication to Johnny, referring to him as her “nanny / housekeeper / designer / dance partner / confident and bestie”. 

Tina added: “When he died a piece of me went with him. Solange and Beyoncé worshiped him. He helped me raise them. And influenced their sense of style and uniqueness!”  

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

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