We can go weeks, sometimes months without seeing Beyoncé and now we’ve gone and seen her twice in two days. What did we do to deserve this? After checking out Game Three of the NBA finals Wednesday where the Raptors took the series lead over the Warriors, Bey made a surprise appearance at the AFI Achievement Award ceremony honouring Denzel Washington.
The event was mainly dedicated to Denzel, but Bey was on hand before the official ceremony began to present the Schaffner Medal to her friend and collaborator, director Melina Matsoukas. Beyoncé and Matsoukas have worked together on a number of Bey’s most iconic music videos including “Formation,” “Move Your Body” and “Why Don’t You Love Me.”
“[Matsoukas] is holding up a mirror for people who look like you and me to see ourselves, saying, ‘You are beautiful, and your stories matter,'” she said in her speech. “She is fearless, no matter the challenges, and believes in breaking stereotypes in the industry, hiring marginalized creators, especially women. As a woman of color, conformity is not her thing. She stays authentic to her roots and femininity in an industry dominated by men. Her drive, vision, taste level, and storytelling is boldly unapologetic.”
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Of course, there was a lot of time for singing Denzel’s praises too. The actor joins the likes of Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, George Clooney and Diane Keaton in receiving the honour. To present it to him, several of his A-list friends and colleagues came out for the night including Julia Roberts, Spike Lee and Jamie Foxx.
“Working with Denzel, I have never seen anything like it, honestly. It was like working, as I would imagine, with The Beatles,” Roberts said. “People screaming, women fainting in the street … but what I remember so well was meeting [your wife] Pauletta and your kids and seeing how you valued your family, your home life above all else.”
Spoiler: he said his wife and kids are his greatest life achievement. Awww!
— AFI (@AmericanFilm) June 7, 2019
Mahershala Ali and Chadwick Boseman haven’t known the star as long as Roberts, but they shared how, as a black actor, Denzel paved the way in Hollywood for them to work on the projects and play the characters they have. Chadwick even attended a University of Oxford acting program on a Denzel Washington-funded scholarship.
“There is no Black Panther without Denzel Washington,” Boseman said. “And not just because of me. My whole cast, that generation stands on your shoulders.”
Jamie Foxx had a similar story about Washington’s impact on his career. He shared how Denzel inspired him when he had the older actor over to his house (brag).
“I’ve had Denzel to my house. I like saying that because not a lot of people get a chance to do that,” Foxx said. “He sat at the table, and he talked to all of the young actors who were coming up, and all the young actresses … That night he talked to all of us, and he made us all feel like absolutely we could do it.”
You know who else can ABSOLUTELY do it? Jennifer Hudson. JHud performed a cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and Denzel said it all with his standing ovation
— Variety (@Variety) June 7, 2019
— Andrea Mandell (@AndreaMandell) June 7, 2019
Other speakers included Michael B. Jordan, Issa Rae and living legend Cicely Tyson. Director Spike Lee capped off the night by officially presenting the lifetime achievement award to “the G.O.A.T.”
“That means the greatest of all time,” Lee clarified.
— Mia Galuppo (@miagaluppo) June 7, 2019
Congrats, Denzel! And congratulations to the world for seeing Beyoncé so much this week.
The full ceremony will air on TV later this month.