Janelle Monae thinks it’s time for people to “get uncomfortable” and stand up to social injustice
The 34-year-old actress and singer says that changing the system in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests can be “upsetting” for some people who need to step out of their comfort zones, but insisted the end goal of a fairer world for all is worth the momentary discomfort
13 August 2020
She said: “I’ve made it a thing to face discomfort. I think discomfort is part of everyone’s reality right now. White people are feeling discomfort in one way, Black people are feeling discomfort in one way, and I didn’t want to shy away from that.
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“It’s time for us to get uncomfortable, because the real change requires an upsetting and a rerouting and a real commitment to look at ourselves. In this instance, I hope that more white people see this film and fix the systems that their ancestors created that continue to oppress.”
The ‘Hidden Figures’ star says being Black is “traumatic” during the current political climate, and has been doing what she can to “be of help” to her community through her Wondaland Arts Society company.
She added: “Being Black, especially during this time, for me, is heavy. It’s traumatic, and all I want to do is figure out how I can be of help to my community. So I’ve been spending a lot of time organising behind the scenes with peers, with my Wondaland Arts Society family. We hosted a Zoom where everybody had an opportunity to get on and just vent and cry and talk about how we’re feeling. These were white folks, Asian folks, Black folks, straight, gay - like a full spectrum of people and perspectives.”
And Janelle is also making a “conscious effort” to take on film projects that “shed light on racial injustice”, such as her upcoming movie ‘Antebellum’, which is set during the time of slavery in the US.
Speaking to Shape magazine, she said: “I can never as an artist think about, 'are people going to be moved by this?' I have to be moved first. One of the things I’ve made a conscious effort to do, specifically with Antebellum, is to shed light on racial injustice.”