If I weren’t already aggressively queer, Janelle Monáe gracing the Oscars stage with her otherworldly, unapologetically black and queer presence would’ve done the trick.
The Grammy-nominated Dirty Computer mastermind and pansexual icon opened last night’s 92nd annual Academy Awards with a standout performance for the ages.
“Tonight, we celebrate all the amazing talent in this room,” the 34-year-old told the crowd at the start of her number. “We celebrate all the women who directed phenomenal films. I’m so proud to stand here as a black, queer artist, telling stories.”
Donning a crisp white button-up and black pants, Monáe started off singing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” from 2019’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
But the Mister Rogers tribute quickly morphed into something bigger: The “Pynk” singer used her platform to call out the Academy for snubbing black actors and filmmakers, directly referencing the ongoing #OscarsSoWhite campaign.
“The Oscars, it’s so white / It’s time to come alive,” she belted, reminding us all just how powerful that famed “black girl magic” can be.
But wait, there’s more! Monáe and her backup dancers welcomed another LGBTQ icon to the stage: Pose star—and honorary POTUS of the LGBTQ union—Billy Porter, who grabbed a mic and joined her in belting an original number shouting-out some 2020 Oscar nominees (and Oscar snubs, like Eddie Murphy’s comeback film Dolemite Is My Name).
Monáe also shrugged on a floral cape as a nod to Midsommar star Florence Pugh. The 24-year-old British actress was up for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Amy March in Greta Gerwig’s rendition of Little Women.
Surprise, surprise: Gerwig was also snubbed for a Best Director nod, although 2019’s Little Women did score her team a Best Picture nomination.
T H A N K Y O U !!!!!!!!!!— Janelle Monáe, Cindi (@JanelleMonae) February 10, 2020
Treat yourself to Monáe and Porter ruining all other Oscars performances forever, except maybe Elton John’s rendition of “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again.”
With this epic queer kickoff, and Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite sweeping, the 92nd annual Academy Awards was a night none of us will ever forget.