Janelle Monáe opened Sunday (Feb. 9) night's 92nd Academy Awards by giving the viewers at home and the glitterati in the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles a bit of visual comfort food. In a tribute to the legendary children's performer Fred Rogers, Monáe took the stage in tuxedo shirt and pants, slipping into her Rogers-esque red sweater to sing "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood."
Walking into the audience, she sang the whimsical song directly to the A-listers in the front row, which included nominated actresses Cynthia Erivo, Charlize Theron and Margot Robbie, as well as It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood nominee Tom Hanks, who shared a warm smile with the singer. "Let's make the most of this beautiful day/ We're here at the Oscars/ So might as well stay," she sang, popping off her bowler hat and plunking it onto Hanks' head.
The singer, who hit the red carpet before the show in a sparkly silver gown with a matching hood, then lost the red sweater and explained that the night was slated to be a celebration of the art of storytelling. "The misfits, the outcasts, the misunderstood/ Those voices long deprived," she sang in an excitable voice over a jazzy accompaniment.