Janelle Monae was among honourees at Essence magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood gala on Thursday (23Feb17).

The singer, who made her feature film debut in two Oscar-nominated movies, Hidden Figures and Moonlight, won the Breakthrough award and was presented the award by one of the Hidden Figures producers Pharrell Williams.

According to the Associated Press, he described the star as multi-talented and that she was “on another level… Like, you’re really talented, sis”.

When Janelle took to the stage she highlighted the success of the biopic, which is lead by three African-American women, saying the movie’s success proves African-American stories deserve to be told.

“The world must continue to know that we are not your expectations,” the 31-year-old said. “We have been the backbones of communities from the ghettos to Silicon Valley. We’re not monolithic. We are multidimensional. And we have a right to have our stories told.”

The gala is set to be televised on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network on 5 March (17).

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