Monday night, November 12, Janelle Monae accepted the 2018 Glamour Women of the Year award with a moving speech that discussed the responsibility we all have to protect our queer and otherwise marginalized brothers and sisters.
Monae was honored at the 29th annual ceremony alongside other activists, actors, and artists including Viola Davis, Chrissy Teigen, and Senator Kamala Harris.
Here are some of the best excerpts from the Dirty Computer singer's speech.
"These past weeks have been interesting, to say the least. Very interesting. And they've been exciting all at the same time. Come on, over 100 women in Congress representing us? That is huge. That is something to celebrate. There is no better place I can think of right now than be right here as we're going through these highs and lows of life."
"This beautiful video shared that my grandmother was a sharecropper in Mississippi. I am one of 50 grandchildren. I have 50 first cousins--I know all of their names. It's hell getting them into a concert, everybody wants free tickets. But what growing up in that big family taught me was responsibility. Community. And to protect each other. I had no choice: I had to wash dishes, babysit my cousins. My grandmother was raising all of us. I had to contribute."
"I've taken that same mentality with me in the entertainment industry: I feel a huge responsibility to protect my brothers and sisters in the LGBTQIA+ community, to protect women, to protect black folks, to protect immigrants, to protect lower class folks like my parents who put on uniforms to protect me and my sister. I feel a responsibility to protect all the dirty computers around the world: We're pushed to the margins of society. This year is for you. This album is for you. Everything that I am doing right now is bigger than me--it is for all of us."
"I feel a greater responsibility as an artist, but I am a young, black, queer woman in America. I am not afraid to piss off the power. We can do this together. I am not afraid to piss off the abuser of power in chief who reminds us daily that the freedom we have is not free--we have to fight for it."
"I hope to serve as a reminder that we're not America's nightmare, but we are the American dream. You girls out here in the back, we are the American dream. We are here as allies and nurturers of one another. It's going to get hard. It's going to difficult. But if we understand, if we can protect each other, we can get through it."
You can read her entire acceptance speech on Glamour.