Grammy weekend kicked off last night with Essence magazine’s 2nd Annual Black Women in Music event, honoring the talented Janelle Monae.
The party, held at the Playhouse in Hollywood, was filled with celebrities who were wowed by Monae. “I had no idea she was so incredible," actress Nia Long told BET.com from the audience. "I checked her out on Youtube, but she’s even more amazing in person. She has the most beautiful teeth; she looks like a doll.”
Parenthood star Joy Bryant danced in the audience as Janelle performed her hit “Tightrope,” complete with a cameo appearance by Big Boi. The crowd parted when Diddy entered the building looking like he stepped off the last train to Paris in a tailored suit. Unlike most music industry events, celebs were actually having a good time.
Upon receiving her award, Monae thanked Essence and her crew, saying, “None of this could be done without them...My team is interested in making sure I’m a better person, not a better artist." The singer mentioned her rough beginnings as an artist, including making the trip from Kansas to Atlanta, being fired from Home Depot, and living in a boarding room with five other girls. It was during that time, while selling her demo The Audition for five dollars, that she connected with Big Boi. She thanked him “for being the first artist to believe in me” and Diddy “for coming to my studio, sitting on my couch, and leaving your bodyguards outside." Everyone in the room, including the legendary Prince, was touched by Monae's humility and grace.
Image: Mark Davis/PictureGroup