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Janelle Monae Reveals the Emotional Reason Why She Only Wears Black and White on the Red Carpet

Janelle Monae at the Ralph Lauren Show September 7, 2019
Janelle Monae at Ralph Lauren’s Spring/Summer 2020 show during New York Fashion Week on September 7, 2019. Swan Gallet/WWD/Shutterstock

Janelle Monae is a musical powerhouse, but that’s not to take away from her influence on the fashion world. The “I Like That” singer performed at Ralph Lauren’s SS20 fashion show in New York City — and made headlines for making the crowd of celebrity attendees go wild.

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For her big performance, Monae wore a tuxedo-inspired outfit from Ralph Lauren’s Spring 2019 collection. She wore a backless halter top with a bow-tie and suit jacket, paired with a cummerbund and long skirt. Her hair was styled in an updo and accessorized with a stylish barrette accessory.

After her memorable performance in which the singer performed her heart out, she revealed that there’s a reason why she leans towards black-and-white, menswear-inspired pieces. Her tuxedo outfits were inspired by Monae’s working class parents. Her mom was a janitor and her father was a truck driver. “They wore uniforms and so I wore black and white as my own uniform to pay homage to them,” said Monae in an interview with Access Hollywood. “That was my first inspiration.”

Janelle Monae Performs at the Ralph Lauren Show September 7, 2019
Janelle Monae performs onstage at the Ralph Lauren’s Spring/Summer 2020 show. WWD/Shutterstock

The singer explained on-camera that Ralph Lauren holds a special place in her heart, because he’s the first to notice her opt for black and white pieces over and over again. The fashion designer inspired her to take her fashion looks to the next level by always going for a new twist on her classic black and white look.

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“I love Ralph Lauren,” said Monae in the interview. “When I first started out, he was one of the first designers to dress me. I was wearing nothing but black and white tuxedos.” Now, the singer isn’t afraid of sporting unique takes on the tuxedo, like her Met Gala 2019 Christian Siriano gown that literally came alive, or her 2019 Jean Paul Gaultier Grammy’s dress that was basically a work of art.

And to add to the reasons why she favors the suit-like styles, she said, “In a tuxedo you’re timeless, and you’re right on time.”⁣

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