Paras Griffin/Getty ImagesJanelle Monae makes her acting debut in Moonlight which opened Friday, and she reveals she had tears in her eyes the first time she read the script.
“I had a strong visceral reaction to it — I cried, like two to three times.” she tells the Los Angeles Times. “I was just so proud and happy that finally we were going to have a film about the young, poor, black, gay male experience. I had never seen or read the story of Moonlight anywhere else.”
The singer portrays Teresa, the girlfriend of a Miami drug dealer who becomes a surrogate parent to a young boy who is bullied because he is gay.
After turning down several roles, she knew playing Teresa was right for her.
“Being an ally to the LGBTQ community,” she says, “I felt like the role was perfect because that is exactly who Teresa represents to Chiron as he is coming into his sexual identity and trying to make a decision on if he’s going to accept himself for who he sees himself for being, or if he’s going to continue to hide.”
The Wondaland Records CEO believes that the film can provide comfort for young children who feel isolated because of their sexuality.
“I hope and pray that some young boy struggling with his sexual identity, or some girl struggling with her sexual identity, will watch it,” she says, “and maybe when they came in felt alone, but when they leave they feel less alone. They feel like they see themselves, like their story is highlighted and they’re not an outcast or “the other” anymore.”
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