Nearly every line of her acceptance speech is worthy of a quote of the day, so here is the whole thing.
[Monáe's name is called and she takes the stage to much cheering and applause.]My thanks, again, to Shaker neintales for introducing me to Janelle Monáe.
Thank you. Thank you all so much. Wow. I'd like to start off by thanking BET; Ms. Debra Lee; Beverly Bond—you're uplifting young girls even when no one is watching. [applause] And I'd like to thank BLACK GIRLS ROCK! for acknowledging me at such an early stage of my career.
I'm from Kansas City, Kansas—ah, the poorest county, Wyandotte County. When I started my musical career, I was a maid—I used to clean houses. My parents—my mother was a proud janitor; my step-father who raised me, like his very own, worked at the post office, and my father was a trash man. They all wore uniforms. And that's why I stand here today in my black and white, and I wear my uniform—to honor them.
[cheers and applause as Monáe gets choked up]
This is a reminder that I have work to do. I have people to uplift; I have people to inspire. And today I wear my uniform proudly as a Covergirl. [cheers and applause] I—I didn't— I want to be clear, young girls: I didn't have to change who I was to become a Covergirl. I didn't have to become perfect, because I've learned through my journey that perfection is the often the enemy of greatness.
Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable. I believe it's our uniqueness, and our unique ideas, that make us rock.
So, I look at this [looks at award] as a baton being passed down to me from all the electric ladies in this audience who were honored tonight and who have come before me, who opened doors—I didn't get here by myself. And so I'm running with this. And I'm doing my best to make you proud.
Thank you. God is love. God bless you. [standing ovation]