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Janelle Monáe slams US supreme court, Lizzo dazzles at 2022 BET Awards

They joined the chorus of outrage at the abortion ban

By Joe Goggins

Janelle Monáe onstage at Primavera Sound in Barcelona, 2019
Monáe had previously performed at the ceremony in 2018. (Photo: Raph_PH/Wikimedia Commons)

Janelle Monáe said “we must celebrate our art by protecting our rights and our truths,” as they slammed the US supreme court for their reversal of abortion rights.

Taking the stage at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles last night (June 26), ahead of presenting Jazmine Sullivan with the award for Best Female R&B/Pop Artist, Monáe took blunt aim at the court, which on Friday (June 24) overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that for decades had effectively made the right to access safe abortions sacrosanct. “Fuck you, supreme court,” they said. “I know we’re celebrating us right now, as we should – we absolutely deserve to celebrate. Especially now, we must celebrate our art by protecting our rights and our truths.”

The singer, who uses they/them pronouns had previously kicked off their speech with a “special shoutout to black women, to black queer artists [and] to black non-binary artists”. [We’re] artists making art on our own terms, owning our truths and expressing ourselves freely and unapologetically in a world that tries to control and police our bodies…and our decisions.”

Sullivan reaffirmed the message as she picked up the gong, urging men to speak up against the ruling. “As always, I do this for the women,” said the ‘Heaux Tales’ hitmaker – see her full speech above. “For my sisters, especially. It’s a hard time right now for us, and I want to speak directly to the men. We need y’all. We need y’all to stand up, stand up for us, stand up with us.”

“If you’ve ever benefited from a woman making one of the toughest decisions of her life, which is to terminate a pregnancy, you need to be standing with us,” she continued. “This is not just a women’s issue, this is everybody’s issue, and we need your support more than ever.” Meanwhile, Lizzo performed at the ceremony with a scintillating live take on recent single ‘About Damn Time’, which you can see below.

“It’s about damn time we have fun,” she said as the track approached its climax. “It’s about damn time we stand in our power. Black people, my people.” Her fourth studio album, ‘Special’, is due on July 15.