NEW YORK — ESSENCE & Sean “Diddy” Combs will salute GRAMMY®-nominated artist and mega-talent Janelle Monae at the 2nd annual ESSENCE Black Women in Music event, an invitation-only, red-carpet event taking place during 2011 GRAMMY® Week.

Hosted by Managing Editor Emil Wilbekin, Joy Bryant and Taraji P. Henson, Hollywood and the music industry will celebrate Janelle Monae on Wednesday, February 9 from 7-10PM, at Playhouse Hollywood. The evening will feature an exclusive performance by Monae, as well as special guest GRAMMY-nominated Big Boi of Outkast and music by DJ Rashida.

“Janelle Monae is a remarkable creative force and a passionately talented young performer, who perfectly personifies ESSENCE as the ‘voice and soul’ of Black women,” said managing editor Emil Wilbekin. “As fans around the world continue to embrace Janelle’s artistic vision, we are recognizing her tremendous influence among her peers with a salute to her contributions at the 2nd annual ESSENCE Black Women in Music event.”

“As the cornerstone of African-African culture, music is synonymous with the ESSENCE brand,” commented ESSENCE president Michelle Ebanks. “Black female musicians from Bessie Smith to Beyonce; Abbey Lincoln to Aretha Franklin have told our stories through their music. For Black women around the world — ESSENCE editorial, as well as signature ESSENCE programs such as Black Women in Music and the Essence Music Festival remain a valuable source of inspiration and a coveted platform for expression.”

ESSENCE Black Women in Music honoree Janelle Monae is profiled in the February issue of ESSENCE magazine—on newsstands now—as part of an exclusive “GRAMMY Insider” editorial package. Singer, songwriter and high funkstress, Monae burst onto the scene in 2007 releasing her first solo work, GRAMMY-nominated debut EP Metropolis, Suite I: The Chase. She followed that album with her first full-length LP, The ArchAndroid which blends the talents of executive producers Nate Wonder, Chuck Lightning, Janelle Monae and Sean “Diddy” Combs, with co-executive production by Big Boi of Outkast. The album garnered a 53rd Annual GRAMMY Award nomination this year for “Best Contemporary R&B Album” and the album’s first single, “Tightrope”, featuring Outkast’s Big Boi, is also nominated for “Best Urban/Alternative Performance” this year.