Janelle Monae addresses Kim Burrell controversy

BEVERLY HILLS — The mood was triumphant when the Moonlight cast came backstage after the film won best drama at the Golden Globes, but Janelle Monae was immediately asked about a controversy connected to her other movie, Hidden Figures.

Monae plays a surrogate mother figure in Moonlight, and in Hidden Figures, she plays a mathematician for NASA who aspires to become an engineer.

The issue at hand? To recap, the Hidden Figures soundtrack, produced by Pharrell, includes the song I See Victory from gospel singer Kim Burrell, and recently a video surfaced of Burrell making anti-gay statements at her church, which went viral.

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In the video Burrell calls homosexuality "perverted," and the video surfaced right before Burell was set to perform with Pharrell on Ellen DeGeneres' show last week. DeGeneres promptly disinvited the singer. Pharrell posted to Instagram denouncing "hate speech of any kind."

So what was Monae's response to Burell's comments?

“I’m pro-love," said Monae Sunday night, standing with her Moonlight cast. "I’ve been very supportive of love, and at the end of the day I think that no matter where you come from and who you love, you deserve to have a right to the American Dream – and to also have your story told. It’s why I’m so thankful to be part of this true American story (Moonlight). I’m thankful to be part of a cast and a director who is pro-inclusion. Anybody who is representing hate is a part of the problem."

She added: "I hope we can learn from each other and be more empathetic of one another."


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