'Beyond powerful': Janelle Monae hailed for clarifying her pronouns in inspiring Critics Choice Awards speech

'Beyond powerful': Janelle Monae hailed for clarifying her pronouns in inspiring Critics Choice Awards speech
Janelle Monae accepts the #SeeHer Award onstage at the Critics Choice Awards (Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Janelle Monae clarified her identity as she accepted the #SeeHer award at Critics Choice Awards. The 28th edition of the awards witnessed the actress's inspiring speech onstage.

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The 'Glass Onion' actress said, “I’m Janelle Monae and my pronouns are she/her/they/them… and free-a** motherf***er." The singer added, "I try to make an effort in my work ... to highlight the ones who have been pushed to the margins of society, who've been outcast or relegated to the other. This is a deeply personal choice for me because I grew up to working-class parents: My mother was a janitor, my father was a trash man, and my grandmother was a sharecropper in Aberdeen, Mississippi."

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Further, Monae explained, "And it's personal because I am non-binary, I am queer, and my identity influences my decisions and my work. There were so many times in my life, y'all, where I did not see me. I couldn't see my light. I couldn't see past my circumstances. If you know my story, I wasn't supposed to make it out of Kansas City, Kansas, to be here tonight. I wasn't."

Janelle Monáe with FIJI Water at the 28th Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Janelle Monae at the 28th Annual Critics' Choice Awards (John Sciulli/Getty Images for FIJI Water)

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Later, the 37-year-old stated, "I didn't see the vision clearly for myself. I couldn't see my gift. I couldn't see what my purpose was supposed to be at that time. But thank you, God, so many other people did. They didn't give up on me, and they gave me opportunities despite my own lack of confidence. I was fakin' it till I made it." The singer concluded, "So to anyone out there like me watching right now. I just want you to know that I see you — but I challenge you to see you."

According to People, Monae is the seventh recipient of the SeeHer awards. The previous winners are Viola Davis, Gal Gadot, Claire Foy, Kristen Bell, Zendaya, and Halle Berry. The award is given every year to honor a woman who advocates for gender equality, portrays characters with authenticity, defies stereotypes, and pushes boundaries. 

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'Janelle Monae’s speech was phenomenal'

The Internet quickly responded to her speech. A user said, "So proud to be part of an organization Iike @CriticsChoice that honors women in entertainment!!! Janelle Monáe’s speech was phenomenal!!! #CriticsChoice #SeeHerAward." Another added, "Beyond powerful & moving speech from Janelle Monáe at the Critics Choice Awards. #CriticsChoiceAwards #CriticsHBOMax."

"Sheryl Lee Ralph & Janelle Monae just gave outstanding speeches at the @criticschoice while accepting their awards. Striking and moving!" said a user. Another claimed, "Janelle Monáe's Critics Choice Awards speech was... no words for it. Just, so real and moving. But hopefully someone posted it somewhere, because... wow."

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Another user added, "Amazing speech by Janelle Monae at the Critics Choice Awards. I cannot love it enough. #CriticsChoiceAwards2023." A user stated, "I have been a fan of Janelle Monae since the beginning of her career. seeing her honored and recognized is like seeing family honored and recognized. #CriticsChoiceAwards2023."

"Janelle monae is so cool," added a user. Another claimed, "I am only into men and I concur, Janelle Monáe is already an unrealistically flawless person visually so the fact that sunshine isn’t a smell won’t stop them." 

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This article contains remarks made on the Internet by individual people and organizations. MEAWW cannot confirm them independently and does not support claims or opinions being made online.

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