Glee cast members honoured their late co-star Naya Rivera during an unexpected reunion at the Los Angeles-based Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) strike.
On Wednesday (23 August), a majority of the stars from Fox’s hit musical series, including Heather Morris, Darren Criss, Kevin McHale and Jenna Ushkowitz, convened on the front lines of the ongoing actors’ and writers’ strike.
In an Instagram post made later that day by Morris, she is pictured proudly holding a sign that reads, “Only straight I am is straight-up broke”, above a photo of Rivera’s character Santana.
The quote is an ode to one of Santana’s memorable lines: “Only straight I am is a straight-up b****.”
Glee production assistant Meg Doyle was also pictured holding a sign with the phrase, “I’m about to go all Lima Heights” underneath a separate episodic image of Santana.
Fans flooded the comment section to celebrate the “Glee reunion no one expected”, with one writing: “Love that you took a Santana sign so that Naya could be there too.”
“The fact that you guys used signs with some of Santana’s iconic lines [fire emoji, hand raise emoji],” a second agreed.
Another added: “Naya would love it!”
Rivera, who died aged 33 on 8 July 2020 in an accidental drowning, portrayed the sharp-tongued cheerleader on the six-season show, which aired from 2009 to 2015.
Her character, who came out as a lesbian in season three, was revered by the LGBT+ community for being among TV’s first mainstream Latinx queer characters.
Demi Lovato, who guest-starred as one of Santana’s lovers in the fifth season, previously paid tribute to Rivera, writing: “I will always cherish the chance I got to play Naya’s girlfriend, Dani, on Glee.”
The “Cool for the Summer” singer further described Rivera’s character as “groundbreaking for closeted queer girls, like I was at the time”.
“Her ambition and accomplishments inspired Latina women all over the world,” Lovato said at the time.
In January, Rivera’s ex-husband and father of her son, Josey, penned an emotional message in celebration of what would’ve been the actor’s 36th birthday.
“A little easier with each little bit of time that passes by to look at pictures,” Ryan Dorsey wrote on Instagram.
“But I still don’t have the answers to the questions to the ‘why’s’ our sweet boy asks from time to time. I never will,” he added. “Doing the best we can.”