Janelle Monae is having a banner year and she’s making sure to pay tribute to the black women who have inspired her to get to where she is now.
Monae, who starred in two blockbuster films “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures,” was honored with the Breakthrough award at Essence’s tenth annual Black Women in Hollywood event on Feb. 22nd. The event, which aired on OWN on March 5, recognized Monae as a trailblazer for her remarkable success in the entertainment industry.
Monae, in turn, made sure to uplift and pay tribute to other black women in an emotional speech she delivered as accepted the award.
“We’ve birthed this nation, we helped contribute to some of the greatest, American, extraordinary things that have happened here in this nation,” she said onstage. “We have been the backbones in communities from the ghetto to Silicon Valley. We are not monolithic. We’re multi-dimensional and we have a right to have our stories told.”
Monae referenced her role in “Hidden Figures” when she spoke about black women.
“It was black women like Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, Mary Jackson who took you to space. We did that,” Monae proclaimed as she paid tribute to the protagonists in the film. “Black women like Raye Montague who engineered the US Navy Ships. We did that.”
“The more we realize we are stronger together,” she added, “that’s when the change will happen.”