2024 NAACP Image Awards: Janelle Monáe's Sonic Wonderland: 7 Times She Mesmerized Audiences

The musical superstar is known for her show-stopping performances.

No one puts on a show quite like Janelle Monáe. The unapologetic Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter has been dazzling audiences ever since she burst on the scene in the 2010s with her black-and-white style and captivating vocals. Now, she’s one of the most celebrated artists today, thanks partly to her innovative and wildly exciting live performances. 

Over the years, Monáe has released an immaculate body of work, elevating the music game with genre-bending albums like The ArchAndroid, The Electric Lady, Dirty Computer, and The Age of Pleasure. To our enjoyment, she’s brought them to life beautifully on stage, from award shows to tours to our favorite music festivals. Join us as we revisit seven performances where the multi-hyphenate charmed audiences with her sonic wonderland.

  • 2010 BET Awards Performance

    Monáe proved to be a top-notch performer even in her early days, as she turned it all the way up at the 2010 BET Awards while paying tribute to Prince for his Lifetime Achievement Award. Even he gave the singer a round of applause as she performed her own energetic rendition of the icon’s hit song "Let's Go Crazy," tearing up the stage with her electric dance moves and powerhouse voice.

  • 2018 BET Awards Performance

    Monáe stole the show at the 2018 BET Awards when she recruited an army of dancers and a royal throne to rap a fiery performance of her Dirty Computer song “Django Jane.” The singer’s colorful production then transitioned into a lively mash-up with her other 2018 hit, “I Like It.” 

  • 2018 “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Performance

    In 2018, Monáe wowed audiences when she hit the stage at “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” to perform her Prince-inspired tune “Make Me Feel.” In true Monáe fashion, she employed a vibrant set, trope of dancers, and a lively band to get the crowd moving. 

  • 2019 Grammys Performance

    If you thought Monáe’s late-night “Make Me Feel” performance was impressive, her set at the 2019 Grammys takes the cake. With an electric guitar in hand and her fancy footwork on full display, the singer had fans mesmerized as she wholly owned the stage.

  • 2019 Glastonbury Festival Performance

    Monáe delivered a rockstar-esque performance at the 2019 Glastonbury Festival when she stretched her three-minute track “Come Alive” into a 12-minute performance extravaganza. The song was just one standout part of the singer’s epic 90-minute headlining set.

  • 2020 Oscars Performance

    For the 2020 Oscars, Monáe elevated her performance game by opening the show with a surprise musical number of the “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” theme song. She then ripped into a stylish, Academy Award-themed rendition of “Come Alive,” featuring Billy Porter, as she paid homage to the year of film. She also made a bold statement by calling out the lack of diversity on stage amid the #OscarsSoWhite critiques. 

  • 2023 Soul Train Awards Performance

    Monáe had everyone on their feet at the 2023 Soul Train Awards as she —decked out in flowers from head to toe— gave an electrifying performance of her The Age of Pleasure single “Float.” She also treated the intimate crowd to her spirited track “Champagne Sh*t,” which even had host Keke Palmer jamming along.

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