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Janelle Monáe Accepts CFDA Fashion Icon Award, Says Her Style Is 'Connected to Philanthropy and Her Community'

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The CFDA’s prestigious Fashion Icon Award winners have always been boundary-pushing stylesetters that aren’t afraid to express themselves boldly and creatively through their outfits. Case in point? The last three recipients were Rihanna, Pharrell and Beyoncé. And at last night’s “Fashion Oscars,” singer-actress Janelle Monáe joined the elite group taking home the top title.

All throughout awards season she consistently landed on our Best Dressed lists thanks to the unexpected ways she incorporated whimsical prints and experimented with interesting silhouettes on the carpet (not to mention, somehow found enough black and white outfits to supply her signature color-coordinated wardrobe).

And at Monday night’s awards ceremony she told PeopleStyle that being honored for her fashion is “the best,” adding that she gives all credit to her family’s influence. “For me my fashion and my style is connected to my philanthropy and my community,” she told PeopleStyle. “I honor my working class family through it. And I try to speak for those who are often times marginalized and left out of the conversation.”

RELATED PHOTOS: The Best Dressed Stars at the 2017 CFDA Awards

She continued: “So when you see me in my fashion it’s more than likely because I’m working and I’m really trying to do all I can to speak for those who are disenfranchised so I’m so honored to be here and to share this night with [Board of Directors Tributes] Cecile Richards and Gloria Steinem; they’re my heroes.”

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During Monáe’s politically-charged acceptance speech she recalled how her background played a part in how she dresses today. “My relationship with fashion—and this is one of my favorite events to come to, this is my second year—began with my music as a way of paying homage to my working class family.”

“As a kid I had to get very creative because my parents could not afford the latest fashion, so as you know in the video, my mother was a janitor, my father was a trash collector, and my stepfather, just like my Dad, worked at the post office and they worked really hard to provide for my sister and me and they wore those uniforms proudly, they helped build this country. They served their community with such great pride and I stand here in my black and white giving honor to them.”

For the big night she stuck to her signature colors (black and white) with a striped abs-baring Christian Siriano jumpsuit accessorized with Karen Walker shades and Lorraine Schwartz shoes.

And in honor of her monumental fashion feat, we’re looking back at some of her best black and white moments from 2017!

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

She wore a geometric black-and-white patterned Jenny Packham gown with dangling drop Swati Dhanak earrings and a Jimmy Choo clutch to the Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala in January.

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Then chose a sequined high-low Armani Privé two-piece gown with black netting (plus Forevermark jewelry, Jimmy Choo and Giuseppe Zanotti Design heels) for the Golden Globes.

Kevin Mazur/Getty

She went more romantic at the SAG Awards in a flirty Chanel midi dress with a ruffled collar and matching wrist bands.

For the 2017 Oscars she wore an embellished, sheer, dramatic Elie Saab Haute Couture ball gown.

And continued her show-stopping ways at the 2017 Met Gala in a tulle Ralph & Russo ball gown with a high feathered collar, oversize feathery skirt, plus Tiffany & Co. jewelry.

Are you loving Monáe’s style? Which dress is your favorite?

–reporting by Mary Park