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Remembering Naya Rivera's Legacy For LGBT People Of Color

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Her fans are recalling the life and the work of Naya Rivera. She found stardom playing fiery and icy cheerleader Santana Lopez on "Glee."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "GLEE")

NAYA RIVERA: (As Santana) I mean, my carousel horse sweater should make me look like an institutionalized toddler, but no. I look hot and smart. I feel like Michelle Obama.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Rivera's character was fiercely funny, kind of mean. And many "Glee" fans cheered when she came out as a lesbian.

WHEMBLEY SEWELL: To see Naya Rivera play Santana Lopez was an utter revolution in my own personal life.

INSKEEP: Whembley Sewell is the executive editor of the website Them.

SEWELL: And it makes me incredibly emotional. I can't believe that I'm doing this. I still read fan fictions. I'm not even afraid to admit it. Like, it's an enormous loss to me.

KING: On "Glee," Santana experienced the excitement and fear of coming out. She fell in love with her best friend, Brittany.

SEWELL: When Santana Lopez was singing to Brittany "Songbird" - in the moment where she said, I wish you this love from myself, it all kind of clicked for me.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SONGBIRD")

RIVERA: (As Santana, singing) And I wish you all the love in the world. But most of all, I wish it from myself.

SEWELL: To have it in that context - I don't know what all of this means. I have these huge feelings. But the fact that it's OK that they're coming from me, that's what I could reflect on when I was piecing together who I was becoming.

INSKEEP: Sewell says Rivera's legacy will live on for LGBTQ people of color.

SEWELL: What they are going to create and put out into the world because she gave us what she did is going to be so, so incredible. And we can't even conceptualize right now what that's going to look like.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RUMOUR HAS IT/SOMEONE LIKE YOU")

RIVERA: (As Santana, singing) I heard... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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