Janelle Monae is hiring a nonbinary artist for their upcoming tour

non-binary Black singer and musician Janelle Monae
Photo: Shutterstock

Queer and nonbinary musician Janelle Monáe has announced that they’re hiring Black women and nonbinary photographers for their upcoming “Age Of Pleasure” tour.

In a Tuesday afternoon tweet, Monae mentioned that they were partnering with the entertainment ticketing company Live Nation, the international Black feminist creative group Black Women Photographers, the Wondaland media group, and the feminist group Fem the Future to “further the reach of Black women and non-binary photographers and videographers within the world of music,” her website added.

“This partnership will provide a widely engaging space for visual artists to be seen and heard,” Monáe’s website stated. Two Black women or nonbinary photographers will be chosen from a city where she’s performing during Monáe’s North American tour and paid to photograph and videograph the tour.

Monáe’s tour kicks off in Portland, Oregon on September 2.

In 2022, Monáe released The Memory Librarian, their debut short story collection, which was developed, in part, to protest book-banning efforts nationwide. These conservative-led efforts have mostly impacted books written by LGBTQ+ authors and authors of color.

“One of the main points that’s super important is about the threat of censorship, memory censorship,” Monáe said. “Memories are essentially our stories that we tell ourselves to survive.”

“We lived in a nation that asked us to forget in order to find wholeness,” Monáe’s book states, “but memory of who we’ve been — of who we’ve been punished for being – was always the only map into tomorrow.”

Monáe came out as pansexual in 2018 and came out as nonbinary in 2022.

“I’m nonbinary, so I just don’t see myself as a woman, solely,” they said. “I feel all of my energy. I feel like God is so much bigger than the ‘he’ or the ‘she.’ And if I am from God, I am everything. I am everything. But I will always, always stand with women. I will always stand with Black women. But I just see everything that I am. Beyond the binary.”

They said their 2018 album Dirty Computer was their reaction to hearing people in their family say, “All gay people are going to hell.”

“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,” they said.

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