Britney Spears made a rare red carpet appearance on Thursday night at the GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles, where she was honored with the Vanguard Award. In true Spears fashion, she wore a sparkling, barely-there minidress by Giannina Azar and a pair of Christian Louboutin heels.
Ricky Martin presented Spears with the award, and he later posted a photo of himself with the pop star and wrote, “She helps us accelerate acceptance.” Spears, who’s become increasingly private over the years, gave a short speech stressing the importance of events like the GLAAD Media Awards.
“I feel like our society has always put such an emphasis on what’s normal, and to be different is unusual or seen as strange,” she said. “But to be accepted unconditionally, and to be able to express yourself as an individual through art, is such a blessing. Events like this, the one we are attending here tonight, show the world that we are not alone. We can all join hands together here and know that we are all beautiful. And we can lift each other up and show our gifts without hesitation.”
According to USA Today, once Spears left the stage, the audience became restless and unfocused. Wanda Sykes, the night’s host, joked, “Britney has broken the show.”
Jim Parsons, who later accepted the Stephen F. Kolzak Award for his work toward combating homophobia, thanked Spears in his speech. Parsons spoke of being nervous while applying to grad schools in the late 90s, the era of teenage Britney Spears.
“I remember watching [Spears] dance-walk down that school hallway in that Catholic-school uniform with those cute little pigtails,” he said. “And I remember feeling this sense of, ‘Oh yeah, that’s it. You can do it. You go out there and do it like Britney, and you get it’ . . . So thank you, Britney!”
The GLAAD Media Awards will air on Logo on Wednesday, April 18 at 8 P.M. E.T./P.T.