KC’s own Janelle Monáe gets political in this month’s Vanity Fair cover story

In this new reality we are living in, celebrities left and right are doing all they can to give back to their communities. From donating their time as frontline workers to creating internet shows to keep us smiling, our favorite TV stars and athletes are trying their best to keep the world spinning.

However, others like Kansas City, Kansas native Janelle Monáe aren’t just donating their time or their talent, they are donating their voice.

Monáe is well-known for her Grammy-nominated music and flourishing acting career. However, it is her activism during this crisis that has become the star of the show. Monáe, like many, has not been shy about her displeasure with how the federal government has handled the coronavirus pandemic, which she expressed in an interview to go with her Vanity Fair cover.

“The way our government is handling things—especially this administration—is evil,” she told Vanity Fair. “We can’t trust this administration to tell us the truth, to protect us. It’s always going to be power first. It’s always going to be capitalism first.”

Monáe has partnered with Wondaland Arts Society, Verizon and others to give money to black- and LGBTQ+-owned local businesses. More than anything, however, Monáe recognizes that she is in a privileged position.

“We are not all in the same boat,” she said. “Staying at home for me is different than staying at home and not working for a mom with five kids when she’s single and can’t afford to pay her rent or pay for food for her kids.”

Monáe has hope for life post-pandemic, though.

“There can be a real uprising,” Monáe said. “The majority of us do not want to continue to see things be the way that they are. We’re demanding better health care for ourselves, demanding people listen to scientists as it pertains to the environment, as it pertains to our health.”

Until then though, Monáe will continue to social distance. All the while dreaming of a future where she can hug her family, travel the world and dance like there is no tomorrow.

Social Media

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to our newsletters

Kansas City magazine keeps readers updated on the latest news in twice-weekly newsletter. 

On Tuesdays, Dish brings you food news and our critic picks. 

On Thursdays, The Loop offers exclusive news reports and our curated events picks.