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Watch Janelle Monae Deliver A Powerful Message To Black Women In Hollywood and Beyond

Janelle Monae may have scored roles in two films nominated for Oscars this year — the critically acclaimed Moonlight and the box-office breaking Hidden Figures – but it was her acceptance speech at ESSENCE's 10th Annual Black Women In Hollywood event that, for the budding actress, truly highlighted the role of Black women.

Accepting the Breakthrough Award, Monae faced a crowd of past and present honorees to deliver a speech that celebrated service to others, invoking the late Shirley Chisholm who once said "service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth."

"We’ve birthed this nation, we helped contribute to some of the greatest, American, extraordinary things that have happened here in this nation. We have been the backbones in communities from the ghetto to Silicon Valley. We are not monolithic. We’re multi-dimensional and we have a right to have our stories told."

The ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards aired on OWN on March 5.

Janelle Monae Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for Essence
By · March 6, 2017