Prior to performing at today's Women's March on Washington (Jan. 21), many musicians feeling inspired to hop on the mic and explain exactly why they chose to stand in solidarity and join the historic occasion, an event which drew hundreds of thousands to Washington D.C.
Janelle Monae and Alicia Keys were both among those who performed as a part of the festivities at our nation's capital today, with each sharing honest, heartfelt messages regarding why they were not only in attendance today but why they will continue to advocate for equal rights over the next four years specifically.
"Let us continue to honor all that is beautiful about being feminine," Keys shared, prior to her performance. "We are mothers. We are caregivers. We are artists. We are activists. We are entrepreneurs, doctors, leaders of industry and technology. Our potential is unlimited. We rise!"
Continuing on with her speech, Keys stated, "We will not allow our bodies to be owned and controlled by men in government, or men anywhere for that matter. We will not allow our compassionate souls to get stepped on. We want the best for all Americans. No hate, no bigotry, no Muslim registry. We value education, health care and equality."
From there, the singer led the crowd in a passionate chant before diving into her powerful single "Girl on Fire."
Prior to Monae's performance, she delivered a powerful speech, with the mothers of Eric Garner, Mohamed Bah, Dontre Hamilton, Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis all proudly standing besides her.
"Hello future," she began. "I am so proud to stand here as a woman, an African-American woman. My grandmother was a sharecropper, she picked cotton in Aberdeen, Mississippi. My mother was a janitor, and I am a descendent of them and I am here in their honor to help us move forward and fem the future."
After making a powerful introduction, Monae continued on with a fitting history lesson, stating, "I wanna remind you that it was woman that gave you Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was woman that gave you Malcolm X. And according to the Bible, it was a woman that gave you Jesus."
"Continue to embrace the things that make you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable. You are enough," she added. "And whenever you feel in doubt, whenever you want to give up, you must always remember to choose freedom over fear."
The singer's inspiring speech carried on in the same fiery vein, explaining to those in attendance that she was not there today as an artist or a performer, but as a woman, and she will continue to fight against the oppression however she can. Following her statements, Monae performed her call-to-action track, "Hell You Talmbout."
Take a look at both Alicia Keys and Janelle Monae delivering incredible remarks and performances at the Women's March on Washington in the video clips below.
(Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)