Janelle Monáe Used Their BET Awards Look to Make a Statement About Abortion Rights

Getty / Rodin Eckenroth

Janelle Monáe made a statement about SCOTUS’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade – the landmark 1973 case that has upheld a person’s right to an abortion – at the 2022 BET Awards. Using the red carpet as a stepping-off point, Monáe worked with stylist Alexandra Mandelkorn to source a gown with loads of symbolism.

Monáe wore a black Roberto Cavalli dress complete with a sheer, floor-sweeping skirt affixed to a leather harness across the bust. The harness had a bold cage effect, with the details nodding to ideas of protection and empowerment, according to Mandelkorn and Cavalli creative director Fausto Puglisi. “it’s giving my body my choice,” Mandelkorn wrote on Instagram underneath a photo of the gown, while Puglisi noted how the dress was designed to “f*ck the patriarchal codes.”

The “Stronger” singer finished their look with black and silver diamonds from Dena Kemp and Vhernier, question-mark-shaped earrings by Stéfère, and platform patent peep-toe pumps.

Monáe, 36, joined several other celebrities at the event who took a stand for abortion rights with their speeches. As Monáe presented the nominees for best female R&B/pop artist onstage, she addressed the audience: “To Black queer artists, to Black nonbinary artists, these 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, my body, our decisions, and my decisions. F*ck the Supreme Court.”

Monáe isn’t new to sartorial messaging. The actor/musician sticks to a monochrome colour palette as a nod to working-class uniforms. Monáe also recently celebrated Pride at the LA parade in a checkered miniskirt, rhinestone nipple coverings, a micro crop top, and a rainbow-coloured flag.

Ahead, see Monáe’s BET Awards fashion moment from all angles.

Related: Every Eye-Catching Look at the BET Awards Red Carpet, From Lizzo to Chloë

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