The 2023 Soul Train Awards were a lady-led affair last night!
The biggest wins of the night belonged to SZA, but queer artists took home their own share of trophies and spotlight at last night’s 2023 Soul Train Awards.
SZA took home four awards, Best R&B/Soul Female Artist, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and the Ashford & Simpson Songwriter’s Award. She previously won Best R&B/Soul Female Artist in 2017.
Soul Train Awards 2023
Monét took home the trophies for Best Dance Performance and Video of the Year for “On My Mama.”
Janelle Monáe, who released their album The Age of Pleasure this year and was also nominated for two Grammy Awards including Album of the Year, performed and was the recipient of the Spirit of Soul Award at the ceremony.
The award is typically called the Lady of Soul Award, but as Monáe is nonbinary, was renamed this year “to honor the diversity and inclusivity of this year’s recipient.”
In their speech, Monáe said there’s “nothing like being recognized by your own, by your own family. Y’all are family to me.”
“Thank you so much, BET. Thank you so much Soul Train. Thank you for keeping the soul alive,” they continued. “So many people have reinvented that word, and I’m just 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’ve always wanted to shine a light on our community,” they added, saying that through her music, movies, and fashion, she always is “bringing it back around to us, to our Blackness, to our beauty.”
“As we continue as a people to fight against the systemic injustices and abuses of power that have gone unchallenged for way too long, y’all … we see it around the world. We see what’s happening,” they concluded. “I ask us all to please let the spirit of love use you. Let the spirit of kindness use you. Let the spirit of empathy use you. Let the spirit of peace be your guide, always and forever. And may our spirits guide us toward creating a safe and equitable space for our people. May we all experience joy, the spirit of true joy. I love you. Let the spirit use you, baby.”
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