Daniels, the creator of the hit Fox series Empire and director of the acclaimed dramas Precious and The Butler, acknowledged that his life easily could have gone very differently had it not been for the love and support of his mother.
"My mom knew early on that I was gay. And she knew that I had to get out of the ghetto," Daniels said.
Detailing the difficult life he lead when he was younger, Daniels told the crowd, "I watched friends die in my arms, at five, six, at eight. When I grew up, the rest of my friends died of AIDs. That I don't have HIV is a miracle from God."
"So this evening is for my mom," Daniels added. "I love her from the bottom of my heart, and I honor her tonight, because this is really for her."