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BET Awards: Janelle Monae Holds Up Middle Finger, Says ‘F— You, Supreme Court’ During Live Telecast

The stars at the BET Awards wasted no time in criticizing the Supreme Court after its decision Friday to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide.

Janelle Monáe, the first presenter of the night, put up a middle finger and said, “F— you, Supreme Court,” from the stage during the live ceremony that took place Sunday (June 26) at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles. The expletive was bleeped during the telecast, but her middle-finger gesture was shown.



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I’d like to give a special, special shoutout to Black women, to Black queer artists, to Black nonbinary artists,” Monáe said. “These artists making art on our own terms, owning our truths and expressing ourselves freely and unapologetically in a world that tries to control and police our bodies, my body, and our decisions, my decision.”

She continued, “F— you, Supreme Court. I know we are celebrating us right now, as we should — we absolutely deserve to celebrate, especially now. We must celebrate our art by protecting our right and our truths.” 

Host Taraji P. Henson also addressed the Supreme Court ruling during her opening statements to begin the show, which followed Lizzo’s performance of “About Damn Time.” Henson addressed Lizzo announcing Friday that she would be donating $500,000 to Planned Parenthood, with Live Nation offering another $500,000.

“Thank you, Lizzo, for pledging one million dollars to Planned Parenthood,” Henson said. “And you damn right — it’s about damn time. It’s about damn time we step into our power. It’s about damn time we talk about the fact that guns have more rights than a woman. It’s a sad day in America.”

The star added, “A weapon that can take lives has more power than a woman who can give life — if she chooses to.”

Jazmine Sullivan, the night’s first winner, also addressed the issue during her time on stage. “As always, I do this for the women — for my sisters especially,” the singer said. “It’s a hard time right now for us, and I want to speak directly to the men. We need y’all. We need y’all to stand up. Stand up for us, stand up with us.”

Sullivan continued, “If you have ever benefited from a woman making one of the toughest decisions of her life, which is to terminate a pregnancy, you need to be standing with us. This is not just a woman’s issue. This is everybody’s issue, and we need your support more than ever, OK, fellas. Y’all got us? Because we’ve got y’all. Y’all got us?”

The BET Awards are airing live Sunday on BET.

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.

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