A year ago today the world lost a talented actress, Naya Rivera. Naya, a proud Afro-Latina was best known for her role as ‘Santana Lopez’ in Fox Network’s “Glee” an American-musical television series that had its final season 6 back in 2015. Glee featured on-screen performance-based musical numbers, a mix of a show tune style and pop chart hits. It is where we saw Naya shine as an actress, dancer and singer.

The character actress Naya Rivera played ‘Santana’ was a cheerleader for fictitious William McKinley High School, a member of their glee club and just an all-around student. Episodes later, Santana Lopez became a fan favorite known for her snappy comebacks and those ‘eye rolls’. Aside from Rivera’s soulful vocals, it was her portrayal as a lesbian which made her iconic with the real-life LGBTQ+ community fandom. The character of ‘Santana Lopez’ was complex, she struggled with her sexuality and it was in season three, that Santana was outed as a lesbian. An issue familiar for any LGBTQ+ who came out later in life or outed against their own control.

Actress Naya Rivera, was only 33 years old when she died of accidental drowning in Lake Piru near Los Angeles. Naya and her then 4-year son had taken a trip to the lake, rented a boat and went for a swim. Authorities believe Naya may have saved her 4-year son from an apparent and potential accident in the water.  Her most important role was not that of a triple threat actress, singer and dancer but that of a mother.

In a Good Morning America tribute to the actress Naya Rivera, her family wanted to ensure her legacy was kept alive. Her mother stated,”I feel Naya’s energy constantly telling me, ‘Mom, be happy. Don’t cry. I’m OK. Go get Josey. Have fun.’ And I feel that it’s coming from her,” she said. “I literally wake up every morning, and it’s almost like a restart button, and I have to shake it off … one foot at a time,” she said. “And here we are.”

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