The Out100 Gala, a celebration of the LGBTI community, honored Janet Jackson with the 2017 Music Icon Award.
Jackson was in attendance alongside other honorees including Chelsea Manning (who is on the cover of Out Magazine and honored as Newsmaker of the Year), Lena Waithe, and Jonathan Groff.
Her touching speech
‘Words are necessary and mine are few so I’m going to try and speak from my heart,’ Jackson said during her acceptance speech. ‘My heart says thank you, your appreciation means the world to me. My heart says thank you for being and having the courage to be who you are. Thank you for giving others the courage to be who they are.’
‘My heart says so much of today’s public discourse is ugly, so much prejudice, so much bullying, so much narrow-minded bigotry. But then my heart says look at you people here tonight. You’re so loving, so giving, so willing to let the world know that differences don’t matter. Differences are beautiful, diversity is a gift. We’re all different, we’re all the same, we’re all vulnerable, we’re all in need of acceptance and encouragement,’ the 51-year-old icon said, touching on today’s divisive political climate.
‘Our love springs from the same source: gentleness, kindness, grace, and God. You are the people, the brave people, who are unafraid to let the world know that we will reject any narrow definition of love. That we will reject any form of hate or fear or intolerance. We will reject any and all negativity. We insist that love is for everyone and we will live according to the demands of our hearts.’
Watch Janet Jackson’s full speech below.