Janelle Monáe’s Proud To Bring Some New LGBTQ ‘Representation’ To TV With ‘Homecoming’ Role

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Since coming out as pansexual, Janelle Monáe has been ‘honored’ to ‘fight the good fight’ for the LGBTQIA+ community – and that includes portraying an interracial queer relationship on Amazon’s ‘Homecoming.’

“To have a Black woman and an Asian woman in a relationship on TV is the type of representation that we need,” Janelle Monáe says when discussing her role on Homecoming in Variety’s 2020 Power of Women Issue. On the Amazon psychological thriller, Janelle portrays a character who’s in a romantic relationship with Hong Chau’s character Audrey. Though the “Tightrope” singer said that Homecoming’s themes of privileging “greed and capitalism over the well-being of humanity and humans” are “even more relevant” now, it was this chance to bring visibility to the LGBTQIA+ community that really drew her to the role.

“Being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community is an honor,” Janelle, 34, tells Variety. “Us being aligned is important and powerful, in the face of those in the position of power who aim to divide and [in the face of] those in the position of power who are abusing their power and trying to take away certain rights for those of us who just want to love and live and be able to breathe in peace. I think that, even in spite of all that, we’re persevering together. We realize that we’re in this together, and it’s going to take all of us to set aside our differences and just love on each other, even more, and fight the good fight together.”

Sophy Holland for Variety

Janelle came out as pansexual in a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone, right as she was dropped her critically-acclaimed Dirty Computer album. “Being a queer black woman in America,” she said, “someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherf-cker.” Though she initially identified as bisexual, she added that she later “read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.’ I’m open to learning more about who I am.”

“It’s a celebratory song,” she told The Guardian in 2018 when talking “Make Me Feel,” off of Dirty Computer. “I hope that comes across. That people feel more free, no matter where they are in their lives, that they feel celebrated. Because I’m about women’s empowerment. I’m about agency. I’m about being in control of your narrative and your body. That was personal for me to even talk about: to let people know you don’t own or control me, and you will not use my image to defame or denounce other women.”

“I want young girls, young boys, nonbinary, gay, straight, queer people who are having a hard time dealing with their sexuality, dealing with feeling ostracized or bullied for just being their unique selves, to know that I see you,” she said Rolling Stone. “This album is for you. Be proud.”