Janelle Monae attends The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "In America: An Anthology of Fashion" exhibition on Monday, May 2, 2022, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

By Beatrice Dupuy, John Carucci and Jocelyn Novack,
The Associated Press News

It started in 1948 as a society midnight supper, and it wasn’t even at the Met.

Fast forward 70-plus years, and the Met Gala is something totally different, one of the most photographed events in the world for its head-spinning red carpet — though the famous carpeted steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art aren’t always red.

We’re talking Rihanna as a bejeweled pope. Zendaya as Cinderella with a light-up gown. Katy Perry as a chandelier morphing into a hamburger. Also: Beyoncé in her “naked dress.” Kim Kardashian in a face-covering bodysuit. Billy Porter as an Egyptian sun god, carried on a litter by six shirtless men.

This year, Janelle Monáe brought a bit of the future to the Met Gala, donning a glittering Ralph Lauren look.

The Grammy-nominated singer left their hats at home for a glittering headpiece attached to a black and white figure-hugging gown. This year’s Met Gala theme was “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” as part of its first part-two event of “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” the theme from the 2021 Met Gala.-

This combination of photos shows, from left, Beyonce at The Met Gala on May 4, 2015, Rihanna at the gala on May 7, 2018, Zendaya and Lady Gaga at the gala on May 6, 2019, and Kim Kardashian at the gala on Sept. 13, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo)

“This is gilded glamour from the future,” Monáe told The Associated Press. “I came here from the future.”

It’s no surprise the singer-songwriter would bring their affinity for sci-fi to Monday’s Met Gala.

Monáe, who recently said they are nonbinary, released a sci-fi book titled “The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer.”

The book elaborates on Monae’s Afrofuturistic album “Dirty Computer” and shares tales with several other collaborators about how different threads from “queerness, race, gender plurality and love — become tangled with future possibilities of memory and time in such a totalitarian landscape.”

“It’s supporting LGBTQI plus communities through Afrofuturism,” Monáe told Vogue on the carpet.

Recording artist Lizzo attended the 2022 Met Gala in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Asked how long their look took to pull together, Monáe raised two fingers: “Two minutes.”

As an artist, Monae said they loved being able to work with a team to create a glamorous look for the night.

“I’m still an art school kid student,” Monáe told Vogue.

Aside from the excitement of celebrities, there was also a surprise proposal, as a New York City love story played out on the Met Gala steps.

The engagement stopped live celebrity interviews as Met Gala guests turned to look to see former assembly candidate Bobby Digi Olisa get down on one knee and propose to Commissioner of New York City Cultural Affairs Laurie Cumbo.

“You know, it’s always like trying to wait for the right time. So when is the right time considering everything that’s going on worldwide? So I was just like, ‘Today we’re going to make it happen,’” Digi Olisa told The Associated Press after the proposal.

“You wait for this moment your whole life almost and for it to be right here, it was everything that I thought it would be,” Cumbo said.

In front of AP’s cameras, Cumbo removed the glove on her left hand and Digi Olisa put the engagement ring on her finger.

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