Soul Train Music Awards re-names traditional female artist category to honor Janelle Monáe

Posted on November 28, 2023

By Jennifer Lyon Bell

Spirit of Soul: The classic Soul Train Music Awards, rewarding excellence in hip hop, R&B, and soul music, honors artist Janelle Monáe with new inclusive award


The Soul Train Music  Awards have represented a pinnacle of respect and appreciation for Black artists for decades.


In an amazing, forward-thinking move, the Soul Train Awards renamed their traditional “Lady Of Soul” awards category to “Spirit of Soul.”


This comes in combination with nonbinary musical artist Janelle Monáe’s win at the 36th Annual Soul Train Awards.


Monáe’s pronouns are they and she, and they came out as nonbinary in 2018 in Rolling Stone magazine.


As online Them magazine reports, Monáe centered this revolutionary Soul Train Awards decision in their acceptance speech:


“There’s nothing like being recognized by your own family,” Monáe began. “I’m so honored to have something like this for us that continues to evolve and showcase so many different forms of what soul can be.”

“I wanted to shine a light on our community through my storytelling, through the art that I make through music, movies, fashion; bringing it back around to us, to our Blackness, to our beauty,” they said. “And I cannot help but think about the spirit of so many who’ve had to whisper to me, ‘thank you,’ in my ear because they did not feel seen. They did not feel safe. And they felt unheard for far too long. I’m thankful to be able to show up for you.”


Monáe went on to name other Black artists that inspired them, honoring Prince’s  “I Would Die 4 U,” saying:


“I’m thankful for the spirit of so many who have come before me. The spirit of Prince, whose spirit taught me ‘I’m not a woman. I’m not a man. I am something that you’ll never understand.’”


You can read the whole article at Them.

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