Janelle Monáe just went to her first Pride in New Orleans.
"I could just cry remembering all the faces," she tells VH1. "People were so happy and just had no care in the world. It's like they just felt right at home. What I loved is, I saw so many parents with their young kids. Their young queer and trans kids, and it was just incredible to watch."
She elaborated on one of her favorite moments, which included a young fan. "It was a mom and her daughter coming up to me and she was a young, queer, black girl. She looked like she could be in my family, she looked like me as a kid!" For Monáe, the moment signified something beautiful: the love and support of a family. "I just thought that was beautiful because sometimes, for us, when we've been from Baptist communities or we come from strong religious backgrounds, sometimes parents can choose religion over the love of their kids," she explains. "That's not easy. That's a hard pill to swallow. Some kids don't make it as a result of being ostracized from their friends and loved ones; their first community, which is their family. So it was just beautiful to see them celebrating their kids."
Monáe says her favorite part of Pride was getting ready with her friends. She recounts, "I ended up calling my best friend, two of my friends came with me, and we just--We had clothes, we brought out rainbow outfits, we brought flags, anything we could! Getting dressed was the fun thing. Me seeing her outfit and her having this glitter all over her face and us really being as flamboyant as we wanted to be."
Monáe won't be in New York City for World Pride, but only because she is kicking off her European tour. In two days time, she'll be in Belgium, performing for thousands of people. For now, she's celebrating the launch of her collaboration with Belvedere, a limited edition "Beautiful Future" bottle, that is meant to be a representation of what beautiful future awaits us if we elevate the voices of others.
"The design of the bottle was inspired by peeling back your layers," Monáe, who had a hand in the design, explains. "Peeling back your layers and embracing your authenticity, embracing your uniqueness, and creating room and space for inclusion. Inclusion of women, inclusion of immigrants, inclusion of LGBTQIA+ communities, inclusion for more marginalized voices to speak their truth and to talk about what a Beautiful Future means to them--to all of us."
She says that the bottle is a way of keeping the conversation going. Monáe has always been an advocate for others and a trailblazer for the LGBTQIA+ community. Through not only this collaboration, but her grassroots organization "Femme the Future," Janelle seeks to elevate the voices of those without a mic. It's something that, during this Pride month, she is most proud of.
Monáe tells VH1, "One of the things that I want to do and I've tried to do throughout my career is to amplify more voices because I do have a platform and I love being able to amplify those marginalized voices, those voices who have felt outcast and ostracized because of how they may identify, or what they may look like, or even what god they choose to serve. And so, what I like to do is highlight voices and share the mic. I think that I'm proud that I did not allow my fear to get in the way of my fearlessness and my freedom. You could lose a lot of your loved ones once you start to walk in your truth and it is a courageous act. I'm supported, though. I have people around me that do support me, even if it may hurt if someone I grew up with says, "Eh, I don't really like how Janelle Monáe is choosing to live her life..." they may say it's a choice, you're choosing to do that. But it is a choice to be fearless and I chose my freedom over my fear."
Fear not, fans of RuPaul's Drag Race! I also asked the hard hitting questions like, "Do you watch RuPaul's Drag Race?" To which Janelle replied, "It is amazing. I've seen some of the queens do my songs or wear clothes inspired by me and I'm so honored."
So what would the song be that she lip synced for her life to?
"Probably 'Kiss,' by Prince."
Can you not see Janelle stunning Ru by doing a death drop (maybe off of a box like Aja in Allstars 3?)
Officially campaigning for Janelle to be a judge and do a special performance next season.
You can learn more about Janelle Monáe x Belvedere here.