Janelle Monáe Gets A Little Teary-Eyed At Essence Dinner Party While Discussing Her Modest Upbringing

April 9, 2013  |  

If you’ve passed newsstands recently, chances are you’ve seen Essence‘s May 2013 cover featuring stunning, 27-year-old soul singer, Janelle Monáe. The Kansas City native recently joined the publication and some of fashion’s elite, including Iman, Bethann Hardison and June Ambrose at the Mondrian Soho in New York City for a celebratory dinner in honor of the 2013 cover, Necole Bitchie reports. During the dinner, Janelle delivered a a touching speech where discussed cherishing each day, her humble upbringing and what an honor it was to be chosen by Essence for their May cover. An excerpt from her speech reads:

“There are lots of beautiful young women of color out there who would have been just as gorgeous or even more gorgeous on this cover. And for you guys to see something in me, for my story to connect in a way that you’ve allowed me to have this platform to tell my story to your readers, it’s just something I won’t take for granted. I want to continue to do what’s right, and by what’s right is continuing to lead by example.

We don’t know [she cries and pauses] when we’ll exit. And I try to always keep that in mind when I’m given a day. It’s a conscious decision to make. Sometimes, you can take for granted your days. I didn’t have to have this life or answer to the calling that I just feel in my heart. I love making music but at the same time, I understand the importance of having a message and having something that you’re bringing awareness to, something that other people coming up can be inspired by, something that can guide their lives, something that I can do to open up doors for young girls.

I’m from Kansas and I grew up in a hard-working class family. My mother’s last occupation was a janitor, my father delivered trash and my step father worked at the post office. So whenever I’m given these opportunities, I always keep that with me. I thank God for giving me that life because it just keeps me anchored and I’m able to have as much compassion as I possibly can. […] I look forward to continuing to partner and do things that can encourage our young girls to be comfortable in their own skin, to know they don’t have to sacrifice or…they don’t even have to be like Janelle Monae to be on the cover of Essence.”


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