Janelle Monáe has dedicated both of her Grammy nominations to her “trans brothers and sisters.”
The “Make Me Feel” singer told Variety on Friday (February 8) that when she came out as queer last year, it was about “walking in my truth. People do it every day, my trans brothers and sisters do it every day.
“And they are shunned from these sorts of events. So this one is for them,” added Monáe, who is nominated for album of the year for Dirty Computer and best music video for “PYNK.”
Janelle Monáe was told not to come out as queer
The star also opened up about being told not to reveal her sexuality.
When asked if anyone had told her not to come out, she said: “Yes, absolutely. Especially when you’re a black woman, and also a creative black woman.
“I love science fiction, I love the arts, my goal has never been to fit into any type of category.
“And when you colour outside the lines, and then you say: ‘Hey, also, I’m a queer black woman,’ some people can be a little afraid of that and what that means and how do you market that and all those things.”
Monáe, who has been nominated for Grammy Awards six times in the past, said her latest nominations were even more significant to her.
She explained that this was because of the nature of Dirty Computer, a frank exploration of sexuality, race and gender which she dedicated to LGBT+ people ahead of its release last year.
“That’s why it meant so much to me to be nominated,” said Monáe.
“I think, for years, I have watched these shows and I have not seen that representation, the representation that I feel like I needed to see.
“And the fact that Dirty Computer is an album that is about me and also about a community of marginalised voices, the fact that that got nominated, that means the world to me.
“It’s just really about us feeling represented at these events,” she added.
Janelle Monáe welcomes increase in nominations for women
The singer welcomed the fact that more women had been recognised this year than they were for the 2018 Grammys, which was dominated by male artists despite successful years for singers like Kesha, SZA and Lady Gaga.
“We have made progress,” said Monáe. “We have not arrived, we have a lot more work to do.
“Last year, I remember taking that stage and you can feel my frustration around our representation and this year, to have 15 women nominated in the big four categories is a beautiful thing and it’s to be celebrated.”
American lesbian rocker Brandi Carlile has six nominations, while the record of the year, album of the year, song of the year, and best new artist categories also include Lady Gaga, SZA, H.E.R., Kacey Musgraves, Cardi B and Dua Lipa.
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