On the Tuesday (June 27) episode of Nightline, Aguilera sat down with ABC News correspondent Steve Osunsami to talk about her history with the LGBTQ community, which led to her being honored as a headliner at this year’s Stonewall Day in New York City.
“I’m so appreciative for the ability I have to share and to help other people somehow in their lives,” she said. “That’s the stuff that means the most — Grammys are nice, but things like this brings it back to other people. The greater purpose that we’re kind of all here for its to connect and to, hopefully, spread positivity and unity.”
LGBTQ media advocates often point to the music video for Aguilera’s “Beautiful” as a clear example of representation in art — the clip featured same-sex couples and a transgender woman while Aguilera sings the iconic refrain. “I didn’t even think at the time that it was gonna be controversial,” Aguilera said of the video. “I don’t think anything of those things — I look at people as people. That’s why I’m so anti-judgement and criticizing other people, or having no sympathy or compassion for things that don’t fit the norm inside your own box.”
Aguilera also used her platform in 2008 to actively campaign against California Proposition 8, which aimed to ban same-sex marriage in the state. (The resolution was ultimately overturned in court.) Looking back today on all the critics who told her to “shut up and sing,” Aguilera remained clear in her convictions: “So [my music] is not for you, then. You don’t need to subscribe. I’m doing what I feel is intentionally right for me and what I am here as a greater purpose to do as a human being.”
Check out the full segment from Nightline above, including an inspiring message from LGBTQ activist and icon Victoria Cruz calling for acceptance of the LGBTQ community.