Search form

Scroll To Top

Janelle Monáe at the CFDA Awards: 'LGBTQ Rights are Human Rights'

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

The performer's speech steered the night's conversation out of stilettos and into solidarity. 

The CFDA Awards last night saw political statements from a score of fashion's biggest names. Founder's Award winner Pat McGrath said "Fashion is an industry where the real insiders are all outsiders," and in accepting the award for Swarovski Award for Positive Change, Kenneth Cole said, "Thank you for recognizing a socially conscious business model and platform that I believe is so important in this time in which we are living." But the real speech MVP of the night? Miss Janelle Monae.

Related | Raf Simons Wins CFDA Awards for Menswear & Womenswear

Accepting the CFDA Board of Directors' Tribute for her contributions to February's Women's March on DC, alongside feminist legend Gloria Steinem and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, Monae quickly steered the conversation out of stilettos and into solidarity.

"As human beings it is going to be our responsibility to take care of one another," she began. "Women's rights are human rights. LGBTQ rights are human rights. Poor folks' rights are human rights. Immigrants' rights are human rights. Minorities' rights are human rights. So as human beings let us never forget that none of us are free until we are all free. I ask you tonight--the dreamers... the students up there, I see y'all! We're here. We're all here. And we're artists."

She continued, "I never wanted to be a politician because artists get to be honest. We get to tell it like it is through our work. And I ask you guys tonight to stand with me. Let's continue to speak out against the sexism, the racism, the homophobia, the Islamophobia, and all those things that are constantly trying to divide us. In these moments of turmoil, I know we see it, and we're tired of it--we must choose freedom instead of fear."

Take a look at the speech, below:

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Hilton Dresden