It’s official: Janelle Monae has gone Ivy League!
Janelle Monáe filled Harvard College with her electric soul energy during a performance Monday then graciously accepted awards for both Women’s Center Award for Achievement in Arts and Media by The Women’s Center of Harvard College and 2014 Women of the Year by the Black Man’s Forum of Harvard College.
Monáe is the first to be honored with the Women’s Center Award for Achievement in Arts and Media, which is meant to highlight those who discuss aspects of identity openly in their works and elsewhere.
Previous awardees of Women of the Year include Jada Pickett Smith and Phylicia Rashad. During the event, students were able to interview and snag pics with the soulful songstress.
The Harvard Crimson reports that Janelle was a hit with students and that she made it clear that she’s an advocate for equality. The “We Are Young” singer also shared her appreciation for the “I, Too, Am Harvard” campaign, which highlights African Americans at Harvard. She also took a moment to speak about diversity and racism.
“When I got into the music industry, there were not a lot of African-American girls wearing tuxedos [and] rocking natural hair on a mainstream level,” she said. “I was not status quo, and I can relate to the students here who come, and they may be the minority.”
Speaking about her trip to Harvard, she said, “I know you guys have other artists who come that may not be in the same vein as me. I took that as an opportunity to share my story and to get people familiar with my message and what I’m about as a human being and as a woman, and as a daughter, and as a sister, and as a black woman, and as an artist who’s redefining what it means to be an artist.”