That well-worn cliche "It was a night to remember" has rarely been so true as it was for the OUT100 gala, a night of deserved celebration for the LGBTQ community. Janet Jackson was in attendance and received OUT's 2017 Music Icon Award, alongside an audience that included OUT100 honorees Chelsea Manning, Jonathan Groff and Wrabel, as well as guests including Michael Sam, and the Hamilton star and Tony winner Renee Elise Goldsberry.
"Words are necessary and mine are few so I'm going to try and speak from my heart," Jackson said to the crowd during her acceptance speech. "My heart says thank you, your appreciation means the world to me. My heart says thank you for being and having the courage to be who you are. Thank you for giving others the courage to be who they are."
Courtesy of Gregory Pace
The 51-year-old legend went on, touching on today's social climate. "My heart says so much of today's public discourse is ugly, so much prejudice, so much bullying, so much narrow-minded bigotry. But then my heart says look at you people here tonight. You're so loving, so giving, so willing to let the world know that differences don't matter. Differences are beautiful, diversity is a gift. We're all different, we're all the same, we're all vulnerable, we're all in need of acceptance and encouragement."
The singer and new mother's public appearances are rare these days, but she made the most of her OUT100 entrance. Layered and textured from head to toe with fur, lace, and leather, Jackson turned heads at the New York party in a combination of looks by David Ferreira, Rick Owens, Stefere and Azzedine Alaia. Accented with bold jewelry, an oversized clutch, and a geometric hair piece nestled into her caramel bun and braid, she reminded us all what an icon looks like.