A Glee episode wasn’t a Glee episode without Santana Lopez. You might have hated her at first given she was partly a bully but her character made the show. No song or scene could go on without Santana on the set. Naya Rivera was perfect to play Santana and served as a staple Glee fans could never imagine leaving so soon.
Santana, Afro-Latina queer woman, served a great deal of strength against the perils that face women of color. Taking the first step a lot of teens (especially of color) could not take themselves, Santana came out to her parents about her sexuality. She washed away the fears of fiery backlash, with the exception of her grandmother. But she gave girls the words they could never formulate themselves to express how they love girls. It was powerful seeing someone with such vigor and fierceness be so vulnerable.
Brutally Honest & Hilarious
Santana was the bitch everybody couldn’t stand but couldn’t get enough of. Besides snatching up everyone’s boyfriend, Santana provided a soft and fuzzy side that only really came out when she was around her love, Brittany. In addition to her wit, Santana could read anyone for filth before they could even get their thoughts together while making the audience laugh at the same time. Sure, what she said was mean. But wasn’t it hilarious?
Her honesty was not for everyone, especially those who dared to take a jab at her. Most of the time she issued her insults nonchalantly, but her slightly feisty attitude could take her to another level. Santana was the friend you wanted near when someone picked on you but also the friend to keep it 100 percent real with you.
Santana was arguably one of the most talented singers and performers on the show. Embodying the vulnerability of a love song, the soul of Tina Turner and the sex appeal of Britney Spears, Santana was a force when she was in the spotlight. Her vocal range could go soft and humble to loud and raspy.
Stealing the vocal rights of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from character Rachel Berry (pissing her off immensely because Santana KILLED it), she proved she was equal to if not better than the assumed “best” singer. Performing in duets with only the vocalists who could match near enough to her skill emphasized she was a voice to take seriously. Not to mention, her cover of “River Deep Mountain High” with character Mercedes Jones hit almost 10 million views on YouTube.
Naya Rivera left behind a true icon for all black and brown girls to admire. For her strength, talent and confidence, Santana Lopez will forever reign as one of the most memorable characters.