CELEBRITY COVERGIRL: JANELLE MONAE` FOR PAPER MAGAZINE "PRIDE" ISSUE 2019
Brief excerpt from cover story by Peyton Dix:
ometimes it's hard to be proud during Pride. Janelle Monáe attended her first ever Pride parade this June in New Orleans. That same day a(nother) trans woman of color by the name of Layleen Polanco was found dead in her cell at Rikers. The 27-year-old House of Xtravaganza member is one of 12 trans women killed this year on record, and underlines an increasing issue of violence against Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC). Although these exist separately, Pride is oftentimes a month that makes it much easier to focus on the former (parades, rainbows and glitter that gets stuck in your hair for years) instead of the latter (the fact that many queer people are still largely at risk of violence and oppression).
Over the phone, Monáe unpacks parts of her past and dives into the 2018 Grammy-nominated Dirty Computer, but her passion pops out elsewhere. She mostly leans into battling bullies ("We have to be taught how to deal with bullies and bullies need to be taught the repercussions of bullying somebody"), creating active change ("Sexual identity needs to be taught in school. There should be courses on mental health, how to coexist, how we can all learn from each other"), and the importance of empowering and standing up for QTPOC ("In the same way we want white folks to support us and be better allies and use their privilege to make change in those power dynamics, it's up to us to protect those who may not be as privileged").