Naya Rivera played the character of Santana Lopez in Glee.
PHOTO BY GLEE/YOUTUBE
LOS ANGELES – A month after her tragic death, Glee actress Naya Rivera continued to get tributes from fans through comments on social media, with one hailing the actress as the “voice for so many marginalized people”.
Rivera, best known for playing cheerleader Santana Lopez in Glee, drowned during a boat trip with her son at Lake Piru, northwest of Los Angeles, in July. She was 33.
Scores of fans have left comments on YouTube videos from Glee that featured Rivera, whose impressive vocals and acting made her one of the most beloved characters on the award-winning TV show that ran from 2009 to 2015.
Rivera played the openly gay Santana during the musical series’ six-year run. Many fans have shared their stories of how Rivera’s portrayal of high school life literally saved their lives.
Her character’s love interest in the show, fellow cheerleader Brittany, played by Heather Morris, eventually became her wife. Last month, show creators Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan lauded Rivera’s portrayal, making sure that her character’s love “was expressed with dignity, strength and with pure intentions.”
In a statement, they said “Naya was always moved by the girls who reached out to her to tell her how much Santana and Brittany’s love affected them.”
One of them was YouTube user F.A., who said in a comment that Rivera’s time on Glee “moulded and shaped the better most of us into the people we are today”. F.A. said Rivera’s character, Santana, taught her a “valuable lesson” on being “unapologetically me”.
The comment has gotten nearly 3,000 reaction as of Saturday (August 15).
“R.I.P. Naya Rivera. Your time on Glee has molded and shaped the better most of us into the people we are today. You showed little Latina girls to be proud, you gave women confidence, you gave representation to the LGBTQIA+ community, and in a way, you were a voice for so many marginalized groups of people.
You were talented, radiant, beautiful, and strong. The roles you played have helped so many people throughout the years, and it’s truly saddening how we have lost you.
Naya Rivera, you will always play an integral part in cultivating my childhood, my appreciation for music, and my compassion for all communities of people. You awoke my eyes to the possibilities of the world and the people I share it with.
You taught me to be tolerant, accepting, and strong. Naya, may you Rest In Peace knowing you’ve impacted and changed the lives of so many people. From your friends, to your family, and your fans. We love you.
(My Personal Experience):
Naya Rivera helped me find who I am. She opened my eyes to what I could be, and not just what I’m labeled as by others. Her portrayal of Santana Lopez, and the arc she goes through, gave me a better understanding of what it feels like to be sympathetic.
She taught me a valuable lesson about hatred, how it cycles, and the only way out of it being to find good friends. She pushed me to seek healthy relationships and stable support systems. She encouraged me to be proud of myself and unapologetically be me.
She did great by POCs (Person of Colors). She showed the deeper nuances of what it’s like to be a POC, the harsher cultural values and practices upheld by older generations of our people. She portrayed the struggles of being a woman and member of the LGBT. At the same time, she gave us hope.
She showed us, through Santana, that we’re all deserving of happy endings. She showed us how there are still happy moments in life. Some people won’t ever accept you for who you are, and that’s okay. Everyone has someone for them, like Santana has Brittany. And if that’s all some of us we’ll have, then it’s alright.
Because Naya showed me, that once you embrace and express yourself, there will be genuine people who will love you for you. Through all the hardships, tests, and tears, you’ll always pull through. No matter your skin tone, gender, or sexuality, no matter what society says, you are deserving of happiness and love.
Thank you Naya, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You gave me hope when I felt the most worthless and undeserving. You showed me life can still be beautiful and how hardships are temporary, only there to make you stronger later on.”
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