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Janelle Monae Kicks Off Oscars With Huge Production Number and Call-Out of the Academy

Pop superstar Janelle Monae opened up the 2020 Academy Awards with a swinging production number that also took a swing at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for snubbing women directors.

On Sunday night, the Oscar telecast opened with Monae paying tribute to “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” by changing into a cardigan while singing the iconic children’s show’s theme song. The diva then launched into a swing-infused production number, backed up by dancers in nominee-themed costumes.

Along the way, Monae called out the Academy, saying “Tonight, we celebrate all the amazing talent in this room. We celebrate all the women who directed phenomenal films, and I’m so proud to stand here as a black, queer artist, telling stories.”

She also led the crowd in a call-and-response, but several stars were too shy to participate when it was their turn on the mic.

But Monae was the star, and she brought the house down.

Watch the clip above via ABC.

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