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Talking through contentious issues helps build crucial democratic competences, including openness to different cultures and beliefs, critical thinking skills and adaptability. Furthermore, discussing such matters helps ease social tension both at school and in the wider community. Janelle Monae sent shockwaves through the internet when she lifted up her shirt during a performance at Essence Festival to reveal perky breasts - sending fans wild! What We Learned From The Performance Last night, Beverly Hills hosted the 10th Annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood Awards & Gala. At this year's gala, an impressive array of black talent gathered together and honored actors Diahann Carroll, Ava DuVernay, Issa Rae, Janelle Monae and Queen Sugar star Danai Gurira with special recognition for their contributions to entertainment industry. Janelle Monae took center stage wearing an eye-catching and powerful outfit during her live performance of "Make Me Feel." Wearing a black and white geometric-patterned suit with matching hat, the non-binary singer and actress flaunted her perky bust by lifting up one side of her bikini top during one moment during the song and showing it off during another point during its progression; only partly hidden by a pink flower-shaped sticker placed discreetly over it. While many applauded her bold move, others weren't as enthusiastic. A number of online users commented that showing off her nude body had gone too far and seemed trashy and tasteless. No matter your opinion, Janelle Monae stands out as an icon of modern R&B and soul music. For over 10 years she's been making waves within the industry as an artist who stands for freedom and authenticity; something which was evident during her performance at Essence this past June. Janelle Monae has made it her mission to foster body positivity and encourage people to accept themselves for who they are, leading the charge alongside celebrity activists such as Lizzo and Lil Nas X in creating cultural body positivity, showing no fear to break any rules in her pursuit. Though her breast flash at Essence may have caused controversy, there's no denying she is an inspiration to all of us to embrace our true selves and to live authentic lives. It is evident she has no intention of hiding behind an idealized facade; instead she boldly expresses herself when it comes to fashion choices and style choices. Why It Matters Janelle Monae is one of the most innovative and talented musicians today, earning numerous accolades - such as an Academy Award nomination for her role in Moonlight - as a non-binary activist and outspoken voice for LGBTQ rights. With an immense fan following on social media and inspiring many with her messages, Monae continues to leave fans speechless; however, some fans were shocked after footage emerged showing her flashing her breasts during a performance at Essence Festival 2023 in New Orleans. Video footage captured a singer lifting up her bra top to reveal two titts during her song, "Make Me Feel." The crowd went wild in response, yet some critics weren't happy about this clip and labeled it an act of sexual harassment while others worried about its potential effects on young women and men alike. Notably, Monae isn't the first celebrity to bare their chest during performances - such feats have been achieved by Taylor Swift and Beyonce previously - however this action by Monae is less commonly done compared to some of their other body positive initiatives. But it should come as no surprise that Monae has caused such a stir; she has long been known for pushing fashion boundaries - recently she even posed nude for Rolling Stone magazine! Furthermore, The Age of Pleasure represents Monae's sexuality and self-love. At Essence Festival, Monae showcased tracks from her new album as well as old school classics. She was joined onstage by former Fugees bandmate Wyclef Jean who provided added excitement but wasn't enough to fill Caesars Superdome to its full capacity - large portions of upper balcony and loge level remained empty; audience size did not reflect capacity of venue. Apart from its headliners, the festival featured performances by other acclaimed artists - Tony Award-winning actress and singer Cynthia Erivo of The Color Purple performed two songs for her fans at this festival. Additionally, hip-hop pioneer Doug E. Fresh hosted an impressive showcase starring Big Daddy Kane, EPMD, KRS-One and Slick Rick among many others. The Lessons We Learned Monae, 37 and recently released her fifth studio album The Age of Pleasure, has shown herself increasingly comfortable embracing her sexuality - evidenced in both "Make Me Feel" and the sensuous cover art for The Age of Pleasure. Naturally then, during Essence Festival on Friday night, she showed the crowd some flirtation as well. Glass Onion actress and singer Anna Wilson lifted one side of her bikini top during her set to show her perky bust to the audience. She was wearing a black and white geometric-patterned suit complete with matching shorts and hat. Even as many fans appreciated her sexy outfit, others were not impressed with her decision to expose her breasts. Many fans took to social media to voice their displeasure with this action taken by the star; some calling her out as being too provocative while others simply found her too overwhelming for them. But some fans sided with her decision to display her body. These supporters emphasized the importance of listening to her music rather than paying attention to her clothing; these fans noted that she has always been known as a "bikini girl," even during performances with The Fugees. One fan defended Monae's right to express herself however she sees fit. They wrote, "Janelle was 22 when she made her debut and wanted people to pay attention to the music she created; therefore wearing suits to be classy and tasteful. Overall, most people seem to agree that Janelle Monae is an extraordinary entertainer with every right to show her body however she pleases. While there may still be those who disagree or feel indifferent about it, ultimately only they know what's more important for themselves and we hope more artists follow her lead and embrace their bodies however makes them happy - after all it's 2023 and people can get nudish if they want! The Final Words Janelle Monae has long been recognized for her fierce stage presence as both an actress, singer and civil rights activist. Additionally, she's been known as a fearless feminist who doesn't play by traditional sex appeal rules; so it wasn't too surprising when the "Make Me Feel" singer decided to remove her shirt at Essence on Friday and expose herself. A non-binary artist (who uses she/her and they/them pronouns) first showed off her perky breasts earlier this year when she released an explicit music video for "Lipstick Lover," but this month proved an even greater opportunity for her to show them off: while posing topless for Rolling Stone magazine. At Essence Festival, she truly unleashed her boob beast; showing off a perky bust partially obscured by a pink flower-shaped sticker placed over her nipple. That moment went viral with over 2.9 million views just on Twitter alone! Monae's performance at the New Orleans event saw her wearing a geometric-patterned suit cut in a halter style, complete with matching shorts and hat. However, her right breast stole the spotlight - lifting it up briefly while shaking it to show her audience her nipple and briefly showing it off for their pleasure. Some fans were supportive of her move while others weren't so sure. Social media commenters pointed to an interview from 2010 with Essence wherein the singer expressed different ideals about how women should dress and utilize their bodies. Others were thrilled to see Janelle Monae go public with her decision and embrace an empowered version of herself. "Janelle Monae is my queen and I will always support her!" one fan wrote. Monae's performance at the festival comes just one day after receiving the SeeHer Award at the 28th annual Critics Choice Awards, an honor given to women who advocate for gender equality and portray characters that defy stereotypes - past recipients include Viola Davis, Gal Gadot, Kristen Bell and Zendaya.