Janelle Monáe On Her Breakout Roles In ‘Moonlight’ And ‘Hidden Figures’

By | March 20, 2016

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Janelle Monáe showed just how much of an “electric lady” she is in 2016.

The artist, who had not one but two breakout roles in Golden Globe-nominated “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures,” flexed her acting muscle for the first time on the big screen. Monáe appeared at an AOL Build on Tuesday to talk to host Ricky Camilleri about taking time off from music for film this year.

“I knew both of these films were bigger than Janelle Monáe. I knew that humanity needed this work. These are films that celebrate ‘the other’ — the person who’s often discriminated against because of their race, their gender or sexual identity,” she told Camilleri. “I want[ed] to make sure that I give it my all so I did have to take a break from recording to get in the mindset of Teresa and Ms. Mary Jackson. I had to do extensive research and it took up a lot of my time but it’s worth it when you talk about celebrating the often times uncelebrated.”

Monáe, who’s been working on her next album for four years, said she was moved by each scripts’ nuanced and multi-dimensional portrayal of characters. She said roles in each film actually helped with her artistry as a whole.

“It’s just exciting to go into these roles and you take a piece of those characters with you and I definitely have done that,” she said. “I feel more convicted about certain messages that I’ve wanted to push forward, certain sounds. It made me put a lot of things into perspective. I feel like there’s a lot at stake for women, for minorities and when I think about our future, I do feel as though I have a responsibility — an even bigger responsibility — to bring people together and I think music does that.”

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