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Janelle Monáe Opens Up the Oscars With Monumental Performance

Janelle Monáe Opens Up the Oscars With Monumental Performance

Janelle Monáe Opens Up the Oscars With Monumental Performance

She was joined by Billy Porter.

rachelkiley

The Oscars may have been a predominantly straight and white affair, but we were still phenomenally #blessed to see Janelle Monáe and Billy Porter open the whole damn thing up with a song.

Monáe popped on stage first, entering through a Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood-esque set, donning that iconic red cardigan, and singing “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” before bounding into an elaborate song and dance.

Her number celebrated not only the films nominated, but highlighted the excellent ones that failed to receive their due credit this year. Costumes reminiscent of those from Us, Midsommar, Dolemite Is My Name, and Queen & Slim were donned by her backup dancers throughout the number. (And yes, there were also some Jokers and soldiers.)

Porter eventually joined her for a verse, a much appreciated moment of collaboration between these two titans, though Monáe certainly could have held the whole thing down all on her own.

 

“I’m proud to stand here as a black, queer artist, telling stories,” she said at one point.

The comment was a celebration of her achievements and identity, no doubt, but perhaps also a jab at the fact that black and queer artists, let alone black queer artists, are so rarely featured in these mainstream events. And certainly not this year.

As The Atlantic points out, the Oscars trotted out a number of diverse performers and moments that seemed to be a strange attempt to make up for the lack of inclusivity in the nominations that ultimately fell short because it was all too little, too late.

But despite the Academy desperately needing to do better, we’re still absolutely thrilled to live in a world where Janelle Monáe can open up the ceremony, and Billy Porter can do double duty, joining in on the song and killing it on the red carpet.

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Rachel Kiley

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.