Janelle Monáe spoke out for those who feel marginalized or outcast while accepting the SeeHer Award at the Critics Choice Awards Sunday night (Jan. 15)
The singer and Glass Onion actress opened by clarifying her pronouns. “I’m Janelle Monáe,” they began, “and my pronouns are she/her/they/them… and free-ass m###########.”
Janelle Monáe explained the importance of representation and said she hopes the characters she’s “had the honor of playing,” allow people to feel seen.
“I try to make an effort in my work … to highlight the ones who have been pushed to the margins of society, who’ve been outcast or relegated to ‘the other,’ ” she continued. “This is a deeply personal choice for me because I grew up to working-class parents. My mother was a janitor, my father was a trash man, and my grandmother was a sharecropper in Aberdeen, Mississippi.”
Janelle Monáe Celebrates Her Identity
The Dirty Computer creator added, “and it’s personal because I am non-binary. I am queer, and my identity influences my decisions and my work.”
The Critics Choice Awards present the SeeHer Award to a person who “advocates for gender equality, portrays characters with authenticity, defies stereotypes and pushes boundaries.”
Janelle Monáe shared she hopes to inspire audiences to be more “empathetic,” and “kind,” with “less judgment.”
“There were so many times in my life, y’all, where I did not see me. I couldn’t see my light. I couldn’t see past my circumstances. If you know my story, I wasn’t supposed to make it out of Kansas City, Kansas, to be here tonight,” said Monáe.
“I didn’t see the vision clearly for myself,” she said before adding, “I couldn’t see my gift. I couldn’t see what my purpose was supposed to be at that time. But thank you, God, so many other people did. They didn’t give up on me, and they gave me opportunities despite my own lack of confidence. I was fakin’ it till I made it.”