Queer icon Janelle Monáe has joined the cast of the upcoming Gloria Steinem biopic, and will play feminist activist Dorothy Pitman Hughes.
The singer-songwriter, who came out as queer earlier this year, is joining a star-studded cast that includes Alicia Vikander and Julianne Moore, who play Steinem at different points of her life.
Monáe will play Pitman Hughes in the film, the African-American feminist icon who co-founded Ms. magazine with Steinem in the early 1970s.
The film will be based on Steinem’s memoir, The Glorias: A Life on the Road.
Dorothy Pitman Hughes: Feminist icon
Born in 1938, Dorothy Pitman Hughes made a career for herself as an activist, and organised the first shelter for women who had experienced domestic violence in New York.
She was also a co-founder – alongside Steinem – of the Women’s Action Alliance in 1971. Pitman Hughes also toured with Gloria Steinem throughout the 1970s, where they spoke about gender, class and race.
Oprah Winfrey later honoured Hughes as one of America’s “Greatest Moms.”
Janelle Monáe’s acting career
As well as being lauded for her work as a singer-songwriter, Janelle Monáe also has starred in award-winning films like Moonlight and Hidden Figures.
Monáe released her first full length album in 2010, and since then, her career has gone from strength to strength.
Earlier this year, she released Dirty Computer, her latest album, which was recently nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.
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Speaking to Rolling Stone in April, Monáe said that she is a “queer black woman,” and that she wasn’t sure if she was pansexual or bisexual.
“I’m open to learning more about who I am,” she added.
She had previously shied away from speaking about her sexuality publicly, but earlier this year, she clarified that she is a “free-ass mother**ker.”
Dirty Computer: dedicated to LGBT+ fans
She dedicated Dirty Computer to LGBT+ people, saying: “I want young girls, young boys, nonbinary, gay, straight, queer people who are having a hard time dealing with their sexuality, dealing with feeling ostracised or bullied for just being their unique selves, to know that I see you,” she said.
“This album is for you. Be proud.”
She said the album was also a reaction to her homophobic relatives.
“A lot of this album,” she said, “is a reaction to the sting of what it means to hear people in my family say: ‘All gay people are going to hell.’”
In June, just two months after coming out as queer, the star wore a rainbow dress to the BET Awards.
She also received praise from LGBT+ fans for her music video for single “Pynk”, which was a celebration of vaginas and queer sex.