Janelle Monáe to Be Honored With the Human Rights Campaign's Equality Award

Illustration for article titled Janelle Monáe to Be Honored With the Human Rights Campaign's Equality Award
Photo: Amy Sussman (Getty Images)

As both artist and activist, the once enigmatic Janelle Monáe has emerged as an increasingly identifiable presence in recent years, not only delivering stellar albums and onscreen performances but a more transparent lens into her life. In 2018, the award-winning singer, actor, and producer both delivered the genre-defying and Grammy-nominated Dirty Computer and the announcement that she identifies as a “queer black woman in America” with a leaning toward pansexuality.


“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,” Monáe told Rolling Stone at the time. And as recently as last week, she seemed to further that stance with the use of the hashtag #IAmNonbinary (though we’re staying tuned for a clear shift in personal pronoun usage, moving forward).

Monáe’s revelations have inspired and validated legions of her fans and followers, and on Thursday, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)—the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization—announced that she will be honored with the HRC Equality Award at the 2020 HRC Los Angeles Dinner, which “brings together HRC’s most active members and supporters in the greater Los Angeles area to raise crucial funds in the fight for LGBTQ equality,” according to a statement.

“A highly celebrated and influential artist, Janelle Monáe is an icon who has used her global platform to share a message of celebrating authenticity and embracing all of who we are,” said HRC President Alphonso David (the first person of color to lead the organization). “Through her activism on initiatives that work to inspire civic engagement and advance gender justice, Janelle has been a guiding force for positive change. We are incredibly excited to honor Janelle Monáe with the HRC Equality Award at the 2020 Los Angeles Dinner.”

In addition to eight Grammy nominations and bona fides as a style icon, Monáe’s star continues to rise as, on the heels of her NAACP Image Award-nominated role in Harriet and subsequent hosting stint on Netflix’s Sex, Explained, she takes on leading roles in the upcoming social thriller Antebellum and Amazon Original series Homecoming, as well as the Gloria Steinem biopic The Glorias: A Life on the Road, in which she plays Dorothy Pitman Hughes. Monáe is also actively involved in the fight for voter equality as a co-chair for When We All Vote, and helms the Fem the Future initiative, which empowering female media creatives and filmmakers under her artist collective Wondaland.

The 2020 HRC Los Angeles Dinner will be the first since HRC opened its Los Angeles office, taking place at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown on Saturday, March 28, Tickets and further information are available on the HRC website.

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?



Don’t forget that she’s got the movie Antebellum coming up also, which looks like it has her in the lead role. I’m pretty excited to see what she’s doing in that film.