Beyonce Makes Surprise Appearance at AFI Gala to Honor Her Friend, Melina Matsoukas

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Beyonce
Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for NAACP

Beyonce shows up for her friends. 

On Thursday night, a slew of stars hit the red carpet at the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award Gala honoring Denzel Washington in Hollywood, but Queen Bey didn't make her presence known until she showed up onstage to present her longtime collaborator, Melina Matsoukas, with the Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni honor. Per usual, Beyonce was stunning in a cream-colored, goddess-like Phuong My gown that she paired with a chunky neck piece, a matching belt and diamond statement earrings. 

"Melina, I’m so proud of you my sister. Love you deep," Beyonce captioned a series of photos on Instagram of her and Matsoukas from the event.

Beyonce has worked on a number of music videos with Matsoukas -- including “Upgrade U,” “Diva,” “Sweet Dreams,” “Why Don’t You Love Me,” “Move Your Body,” “RUN” and “Formation" -- and praised her longtime collaborator's vision.

"After over a decade of collaborating with Melina we’ve become family," she told the audience, who was shocked to see her take the stage. "In 2005 she managed to shoot five videos with me in three days, creating beautiful imagery with little to no budget. We’ve come a long ways since those days."

The praise didn't stop there. "[Melina] is holding up a mirror for people who look like you and me to see ourselves, saying, 'You are beautiful, and your stories matter,'" Beyonce continued. "She is fearless, no matter the challenges, and believes in breaking stereotypes in the industry, hiring marginalized creators, especially women. As a woman of color, conformity is not her thing. She stays authentic to her roots and femininity in an industry dominated by men. Her drive, vision, taste level, and storytelling is boldly unapologetic."

Matsoukas returned the compliments when it was her time to accept the award. "[Beyonce] truly influenced my career. She taught me how to work, how to dream, and how to achieve," she said of the 37-year-old singer. "And most importantly as an artist, how to take control of your own narrative. Without her, I’m not the same voice, I’m not the same creator, and I’m definitely not the same filmmaker."

In an exclusive interview with ET in 2017, Matsoukas further gushed over her relationship with Beyonce. "I think we speak the same language," she said. "We’re great collaborators and [we] created something that spoke to the world."

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