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Janelle Monáe Is 'Proud' to Open Oscars as a 'Black Queer Artist'

Janelle Monáe

The actor and singer led a rousing display of diversity on Hollywood's biggest night.

Hollywood can't ignore the contributions of marginalized people thanks to Janelle Monae.

The actor and singer opened the Oscars with a musical revue in which she proudly proclaimed her identities to the world and showcased productions -- and groups -- snubbed by the Academy.

"I'm so proud to be standing here as a Black queer artist telling stories," she told the audience at the Dolby Theatre. "Happy Black History Month!"

Monae began the Oscars with a rendition of "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," a reference to the Tom Hanks starrer of the same name, complete with a red cardigan.

Afterward, a group of dancers -- mostly people of color and women -- appeared dressed in costumes from the year's most acclaimed films. Not all of them were Oscar-nominated -- films like Midsommar and Us were represented in the set.

Billy Porter, the gay Pose star, also appeared on stage in a golden ensemble to sing with Monae, and also gave a rendition of Elton John's "I'm Still Standing."

The performance was a statement in an Oscars year criticized for a lack of diversity. No women directors were nominated and there was only one Black actor recognized -- Cynthia Erivo for Harriet.

The audience gave a standing ovation. Watch it below.

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