August invites you to shine bright like the sun which requires you to leave behind the sob stories of being the underdog. Recognize your power as a reflection of the Divine and watch how far you can go. Be mindful of that inner critic when Mercury enters Virgo. For every negative thought, counteract it with three compliments about yourself. When Venus enters her home sign, relationship matters get a whole lot sweeter after the wild ride that was Mercury Retrograde.
Check out how the month ahead affects your zodiac sign!
AriesAriesLaci Jordan for xoNecole
The month kicks off with a New Moon in magnanimous Leo inviting you to share your creative gifts with the world, making this a supportive time to start a new project or hobby. On the 11th, Mercury enters Virgo, helping you streamline your routine so you're not spending as much time working. When Venus enters Libra on the 16th, love is in the air. Discussions of taking things to the next level in a relationship are likely right now, Aries.
On the 19th, Uranus goes Retrograde which will radically transform your view of financial security and abundance. Get creative and don't be afraid to try something outside of the box.
The Full Moon on the 22nd inspires you to dream bigger as a result of a major accomplishment. What's next on the bucket list? The Sun enters Virgo on the same day, making it a good time to schedule your annual health screenings to make sure your body is running in its optimal condition. The month ends with Mercury teaming up with Venus, bringing some important negotiations to the table for you.
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Home and family matters are the focus on the New Moon, Taurus. Planning to add a new addition to the family, renovating/decorating your current abode or investing in new property is supported during this time. On the 11th, Mercury enters Virgo to sweeten up your love life (if you'll make some time for it). As good as work is going, it's important to indulge in some fun from time to time.
When Venus enters Libra on the 16th, you're encouraged to fall deeper in love with your body which isn't just about draping yourself in the finest clothes. Feed your vessel nourishing foods and keep your stress levels at a minimum.
On the 19th, Uranus goes Retrograde inviting you to liberate yourself through your appearance and the way you present yourself to the world. Consider this transit a rebrand of your identity. The Full Moon on the 22nd is bringing the pressure in matters of career but if anyone can handle the heat, it's you. On the same day, the Sun enters Virgo encouraging you to tap into your creative side. Don't let your inner critic stifle your self-expression. At the end of the month, Mercury joins Venus to restore balance to your life through a better schedule and some much-needed organization.
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August begins with a New Moon on the 8th encouraging you to shine bright like the sun, Gemini. Use your voice to inspire, uplift, and encourage others to shine as well. On the 11th, Mercury enters Virgo which could be stirring up a little tension on the homefront which could make this a good time to consider making some changes in your environment--even if that means you moving elsewhere. When Venus enters Libra on the 16th, you're invited to indulge your romantic side. Buy yourself a cute outfit, ball out at Sephora, and getcho fine ass outside so somebody's son can see you.
On the 19th, Uranus Retrograde serves to transform you as you surrender your plans to the Divine plan. The Full Moon on the 22nd positions you in the spotlight to share your gems of wisdom.
Writing, mentoring, and teaching may be areas of interest for you around this time. On the same day, the Sun enters Virgo which has you laser-focused on your family's imperfections. Hold space for people's humanity. No one is perfect. Not even you. On the 30th, Mercury teams up with Venus, encouraging you to nurture your creativity and inner child.
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The month kicks off with a New Moon inviting you to plant the seeds for a new financial endeavor. Expect new money-making opportunities to be presented to you this month, Cancer. On the 11th, Mercury enters Virgo which could have you more critical of yourself than usual. Detach from your inner critic and affirm your greatness! When Venus enters Libra on the 16th, be mindful of tension amongst your family. Remember, you're allowed to assert your boundaries with anyone--even mom and dad.
On the 19th, Uranus goes Retrograde, giving you a chance to adjust your perspective on humanity. Yeah, humans suck at times but there's a lot of great people out there as well. Be open to aligning with like-hearted individuals.
On the 22nd, the Full Moon liberates you from traumatic experiences that resulted in you hiding the true you. The Sun enters Virgo on the same day, making this a good time to brush up on your communication skills and learn something new. Your mind is super absorbent right now so take advantage of this by handling anything that requires brainpower, organization, and discipline. On the 30th, Mercury links up with Venus inviting you to beautify your space to host a cute dinner party for your family or friends.
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August begins with a New Moon in your sign inviting you to blow out the candles and make a wish for what you want to accomplish in your next year around the Sun, Leo. On the 11th, Mercury enters Virgo, giving you a chance to organize your budget and streamline your strategy to your many different streams of income. When Venus enters Libra on the 16th, you're feeling the love thanks to all of the lovely words of affirmations and compliments that you're receiving from your admirers.
On the 19th, Uranus goes Retrograde could be uncomfortably forcing you to make some changes in your career that could be shocking to others but ultimately the best thing for you to align with your future vision of the legacy you're creating.
The Full Moon on the 22nd has you reevaluating your partnerships and whether they are compatible with your current need for freedom of expression. On the same day, the Sun enters Virgo, making this a good time to get clear on your personal values so you can avoid wasting time on pursuits that just don't matter to you. The month wraps up with Mercury entering Libra supporting you in any public speaking, communications, or writing efforts. Let yourself be heard!
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The month starts off on a more secluded note for you with the New Moon on the 8th. Rest, reflect, and release anything that you don't want to take into your new year with you, Virgo. On the 11th, Mercury enters your sign which will pick up the pace for you. Expect to be a little busier during these next few weeks. A planner will help you stay on top of your many different tasks, social engagements, and responsibilities.
On the 16th, Venus enters Libra to help you establish some balance with how much you're spending and how much you're saving. As my mother always taught me, "Don't forget to pay yourself first."
On the 19th, Uranus goes Retrograde, inviting you to radically break away from beliefs that restrict your sense of individuality and freedom. The Full Moon reveals a blindspot that has been affecting your productivity levels. On the same day, the Sun enters your sign ushering in your birthday season! It's your time to shine! Bask in the admiration and generosity of others. The month wraps up with Mercury entering Libra which has you in the mood to renegotiate some contracts. It's time to raise those rates, honey!
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Your friends and social circle are top priority on the New Moon, encouraging you to expand your network and align with more like-minded people. On the 11th, Mercury enters Virgo which has your dream world more active than usual, Libra. This is a supportive time for uncovering roadblocks within your subconscious so you can receive what you actually want instead of making up excuses for why you don't deserve it right now.
When your ruling planet, Venus, enters your sign on the 16th you are the belle of the ball. Your aura is even more magnetic at this time which has you attracting a lot of attention, opportunities, and fortune.
On the 19th, Uranus goes Retrograde to create some powerful change in your internal world. Unlearning some of your conditioned beliefs and behaviors is necessary for the breakthrough and growth you want to experience. The Full Moon on the 22nd is a supportive time to launch a creative project, go on a date, or reconnect with your inner child. On the same day, the Sun enters Virgo which can be draining your energy. Rest up for your birthday season and reflect on the lessons of the past year. August wraps up with Mercury transitioning into your sign which can feel a little demanding if you're not well-rested. Don't be afraid to say "no" to invitations for the sake of self-care.
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August kicks off with a New Moon in Leo which is forcing you to make some changes in your line of work. It's time to think bigger and long-term when it comes to your career and your legacy. On the 11th, Mercury enters Virgo which has you feeling more sociable than usual. Take advantage of this transit and get out to mingle. You never know who you'll meet, Scorpio.
When Venus enters Libra on the 16th, be discerning about who you're welcoming into your inner circle. Everyone may not have the best intentions but that doesn't mean you can't make some genuine connections.
On the 19th, Uranus goes Retrograde which is stirring up the winds of change in your partnerships and personal boundaries. If you feel stifled in a connection, it may be time to address it or break free. The Full Moon in Aquarius could have you feeling stretched thin between the demands of family, your significant other, and your career. You can't please everyone so don't stress yourself out. On the same day, the Sun enters Virgo, inspiring you to revive your vision for a better future. Creating a detailed strategy can help keep you on track towards achieving your goals. The month ends with Mercury entering Libra inviting you to regain some internal balance after being so externally-focused.
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The month begins with a New Moon in Leo inviting you to expand your horizons through higher learning, cultural exploration, and travel. On the 11th, Mercury enters Virgo which could have you feeling a little more critical of yourself. Just keep up the good work and the recognition will come, Sagittarius.
When Venus enters Libra on the 16th, you're feeling the love amongst your friends. They'll be the pick-me-up that you need to remember who the f*ck you are in all of your greatness.
On the 19th, Uranus goes Retrograde encouraging you to explore your talents and how they're able to serve others. What you once viewed as a curse may actually be a gift if you can reframe your perspective. The Full Moon on the 22nd liberates you from the shackles of conforming. You were always meant to be a stand out in a crowd of carbon copies. On the same day, the Sun enters Virgo which has you reaching beyond your comfort zone in matters of career. Shoot for the Moon and land amongst the stars. The month ends with Mercury entering Libra, supporting you in connecting with the right allies to achieve your long-term goals.
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The New Moon on the 8th invites you to transform your pain through creative expression, Capricorn. Your vulnerabilities need an outlet. Don't feel pressured to share with others. Just do it for the sake of your emotional well-being. On the 11th, Mercury enters Virgo, making this a good time to go back to school or seek some knowledge through your travels.
When Venus enters Libra, you're feeling the pressure to make some major career moves. Just avoid stepping on people's toes on your way to the top.
When Uranus goes Retrograde on the 19th, you may feel more restless and bored with the day-to-day routine. Your need for excitement and adventure are valid so get creative on ways you can nurture your inner child while still tending to your responsibilities. On the 22nd, the Full Moon releases you from financial troubles with the launch of a new project or job opportunity that comes your way. On the same day, the Sun enters Virgo, inviting you to explore the truth within. You're much wiser than you give yourself credit for. The month wraps up with Mercury transitioning into Libra, helping you talk a good game when it comes to contracts and negotiations. Don't sell yourself short, boo!
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Your partnerships are the focus on the New Moon inviting you to (re)establish your boundaries and negotiate new (or existing) contracts. On the 11th, Mercury enters Virgo, making this a good time to get out of your head with all of the overanalyzing and talk it out with your therapist instead. When Venus enters Libra, you're ready to pack your bags for your next excursion. Where to next, Aquarius?
On the 19th, your ruling planet, Uranus, goes Retrograde to invoke radical transformation to your idea of home and family. We can't choose the family we're born into but we can choose connections that nurture our authenticity.
The Full Moon on the 22nd liberates you from feeling the black sheep. Honor the eccentricities that make you the unique badass that you are. The right people will come. On the same day, the Sun enters Virgo which could be supportive for new financial alliances. The month ends with Mercury entering Libra, making this a good time to study, research, and write about all of those ramblings in your mind. You never know how sharing your perspective can change someone's life.
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The New Moon on the 8th invites you to get a better grasp on your daily routines if you've been lost in the astral realm somewhere kicking it with the ascended masters. Come back down to earth, Pisces. You've got work to do. On the 11th, Mercury enters Virgo, making this a good time to renegotiate contracts and establish some clear boundaries in your relationships.
When Venus enters Libra on the 16th, it's time to get serious about paying off any outstanding debts. The less you owe, the more your finances can grow.
On the 19th, Uranus goes Retrograde which has you revamping your communication style. What strategies can you conjure up to connect with your audience more consistently and effectively? The Full Moon on the 22nd confirms that you do, in fact, have a hater in your midst. Your authenticity triggers those that aren't brave enough to be themselves and that is not your problem. They need to grow some self-esteem before they step into the presence of a goddess. On the same day, the Sun enters Virgo, which has you focused on aligning with powerful allies. The month wraps up with Mercury entering Libra, helping you regain balance between your heart and mind.
Featured image by Laci Jordan for xoNecole
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Unapologetically, Chlöe: The R&B Star On Finding Love, Self-Acceptance & Boldly Using Her Voice
On set inside of a mid-city Los Angeles studio, it’s all eyes on Chlöe. She slightly shifts her body against a dark backdrop amidst camera clicks and whirs, giving a seductive pout here, and piercing eye contact there. Her chocolate locs are adorned with a few jewels that she requested to spice up the look, and on her shoulders rests a jeweled piece that she asked to be turned around to better showcase her neck (“I feel a bit old,” she said of the original direction). Her shapely figure is tucked into a strapless bodysuit with a deep v-neck that complements her décolletage.
Though subtle, her quiet wardrobe directives give the air of a woman who’s been here before, and certainly knows what she’s doing. At 24 years young, she’s a “Bossy” chick in training— one who’s politely unapologetic and learning the power of her own voice.
“I'm hesitant sometimes to truly speak my mind and speak up for myself and what I believe,” she later confessed to me a couple of weeks after the photoshoot. “It's always scary for me, but now I'm realizing that I have to, in order to gain respect as a Black woman— a young Black woman— who's still navigating who she is. And you know, I'm realizing that closed mouths don't get fed. And if I keep my mouth shut just because I'm afraid of what people's opinions of me will be or turn into, then that's not any way to live.”
For Chlöe, the journey into womanhood is about embracing who she is, without succumbing to the perceptions of what others think of her. From the waist up she’s everything you’d imagine. A gorgeous goddess with the kind of sex appeal that some work hard to embrace but fail to exude. But unbeknownst to anyone not on set, her bottom half is covered by a white robe, surprising coming from the girl who boasts “'Cause my booty so big, Lord, have mercy” on her first hit single “Have Mercy.”
But that’s the beauty of Chlöe. There’s more to her than meets the eye. More than what a few sensual photos sprinkled throughout an Instagram feed could ever tell you. Just like the photo-framing illusion of her portrayed from the waist up, what we know about the songstress is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more beneath the surface.
Some hours later Chlöe leans back in a high chair as her locs are transformed from a formal updo to a seemingly Basquiat-inspired one. It’s pure art, and at her request, no wigs are a part of the day’s ensemble. She’s fully embracing her natural hair, a decision that wasn’t always a socially accepted one.
In the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, (Mableton, to be exact) Chlöe began to explore the foundation of her self-image. At an early age she and her younger sister, Halle, demonstrated a vocal prowess and knack for being in front of the camera that caught their parents’ attention. Soon after, they were sent on a parade of local talent shows and auditions, and eventually broke into the digital space with song covers on YouTube.
It was during these early years that Chlöe first learned that the entertainment industry could be unforgiving to those who didn’t fit a particular beauty standard. Despite the then three-year-old snagging a role as the younger version of Beyoncé’s character, Lilly, in Fighting Temptations, casting agents requested that her natural locs be exchanged for more Eurocentric tresses. Ironic, considering that growing up Chlöe saw her hair as no different than that of her peers. “I remember specifically in pre-K we had to do self-portraits and I drew myself with a regular straight ponytail, like how I would put my locs in a ponytail,” she says. “I just never saw myself any different.”
Chlöe would also learn the true meaning of a phrase that would later become an affirmation posted on her bedroom mirror: “Don’t Let the World Dim Your Light.” After attempting to wear wigs to fit in, the Bailey sisters instead chose to rock their locs with pride, which undoubtedly cost them casting roles. Yet they would have the last laugh when making headlines as the “Teen Dreadlocked Duo” who landed a million-dollar contract with Parkwood Entertainment, and the coveted opportunity to be groomed under the tutelage of a world-renowned superstar.
Credit: Derek Blanks
While that could be the end of a beautiful fairytale of self-empowerment, the reality is that it’s just the beginning of the story of her evolution. For most girls, the transition into womanhood takes place in the comfort of their own worlds, often limited to the number of people they allow to have access to them. But for Chlöe, it’s happening in front of millions of critiquing eyes just waiting for an opportunity to either uplift or dissect her through unwarranted commentary.
Many in her position wouldn’t be able to take that kind of pressure. But Chlöe is handling it with grace. “I feel like all of us as humans, we have the right to interpret things how we want,” she says. “I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
Chlöe isn’t the first artist to receive criticism for her carnal content, and she certainly won’t be the last. In 2010, Ciara writhed and rode her way to banishment on BET when the then 24-year-old released her video for “Ride.” In 2006, 25-year-old Beyoncé received backlash for “Déjà Vu."
"I put art out into the world and it's up for interpretation. I'm learning that not everyone is going to always like me and that it's okay.”
So much so that over 5,000 fans signed an online petition demanding that her label re-shoot the video because it was “too sexual.” Even 27-year-old Janet didn’t escape critical headlines when she shed her image of innocence for a more risqué appearance with the 1993 release of janet.
It’s almost as if public reproach is a rite of passage for young Black women R&B singers on the road to stardom. Good girls seemingly “go bad” whenever they embrace the depths of their femininity, and fans only like you on top figuratively. But Chlöe has learned not to bow down to other people’s opinions, but to boss up and control the narrative. As the saying goes, well-behaved women seldom make history. If sex appeal is her weapon, she wields it well.
On set, Chlöe exudes the energy of Aphrodite in an apple red, off-shoulder dress with a sexy high split. In between shots, she mouths the lyrics to Yebba’s “Boomerang” as it echoes throughout the space in steady repetition at my recommendation. The hour grows late, yet Chlöe is heating things up as eyes stare in deep mesmerization of the girl on fire.
Credit: Derek Blanks
Through music, she explores the depths of her being, a journey that seems to be, at its foundation, rooted in self-discovery. Whereas their debut album The Kids Are Alright (2018) boasts a young Chloe x Halle empowering their generation to embrace who they are while finding their place in the world, their second album Ungodly Hour (2020) shows the Bailey sisters shedding the veil of innocence for a more unapologetic bravado.
What fans looked forward to seeing is who Chlöe shows herself to be on her debut solo album In Pieces. In an interview with PEOPLE, she confesses that releasing her first project without her sister was “scary.” "It was a moment of self-doubt where I was like, 'Can I do this without my sister?’”
Chlöe has never been shy about sharing her insecurities or her vulnerabilities, all of which are laced throughout the 14-track album. “I want people to have fun when they listen to it and to just realize that they're not alone and it's okay to be vulnerable and raw and open because none of us are perfect; we're all far from it. And I think it's healing when we all admit to that instead of putting up a facade.”
The gift of time has given the self-professed “big lover girl” more encounters with romance and heartbreak. Love songs once sung for their beautiful riffs and melodies become more than just abstract lyrics and are replaced by real-life experiences, which she tells me is definitely in the music.
In her single “Pray It Away,” for example, she contemplates going to God for healing instead of going at her ex-lover for revenge for his infidelities. “With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable,” she says. “I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
Has Chlöe been in love? That still remains to be said. Of course, she’s been linked to a few potential baes, but dating in the digital age isn’t as easy as a double tap or drop of a heart-eyes emoji. It requires a level of trust and vulnerability that’s hard to earn, and easy to mishandle. To let her guard down means to potentially set herself up for disappointment. “It’s difficult dating right now, honestly, because you really have to kind of keep your guard up and pay attention to who's really there for you. And you know, I'm such an affectionate person and I love hard.
"So when I meet the one person that I really, really am into, it's hard for me to see any others and I get attached pretty easily. And you know, I don't know, it's…it's a scary thing.”
Credit: Derek Blanks
“With anything dealing with art, I am completely vulnerable. I'm completely myself, I'm completely open and transparent. So it's pretty much all of me and who I am right now.”
While broken hearts yield good music (queue Adele), what’s in Chlöe’s prayer is the desire to be happy. What does that look like? Well, she’s still figuring that out herself. “Honestly, I'm the type of person who I don't truly learn unless I experience it. So it's like I can view and watch my parents and watch the loving relationships that I see in my life and be like, ‘Oh, I want that. I would love to have that.’ But then I also have to experience [love] on my own and see what my flaws or my faults might be or see what my good things about myself are. I feel like it's really all about self-reflection. And even though our base is our family and that's our foundation, we are still our own individuals and we have to find out specifically the things about ourselves that may be different from what we saw from our parents when we were growing up.”
Her ideal beau, she tells me, is someone she can feel safe to be her fun, goofy self with, but who also gives her the space to be the boss chick chasing her dreams. A man who understands that just because the world compliments her doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hear those words from his lips or feel it in his touch. A bonus if he shows up on set after a long hard day of work with vegan cinnamon rolls. You know, the basic necessities. “I like whoever I'm with to constantly tell me they love me and that I look beautiful because I do the same. I am a very mushy person, and if I see something or you look good, I will never shy away from saying it out loud. And I want whoever I'm with to do the same, be very vocal. Tell me that you love me. Tell me what you love about me because I'm doing the same for you because that's just the person I am.”
Until she meets her match she’s married to the game, and for now, that seems to be perfect matrimony.
Credit: Derek Blanks
On stage at the 2021 American Music Awards, Chlöe solidified her position as a force to be reckoned with. It was a full-circle moment. In 2012, bright-eyed and baby-faced Chloe and Halle would walk onto the set of The Ellen Degeneres Show and blow the audience away as they bellowed out their future mentor’s song. Ellen would present the sisters with tickets to attend the AMAs, assuring them that they would be back and had a promising future. Nine years later, Chlöe descends from the sky cloaked in a snow-white cape and matching midriff-baring bodysuit for her debut performance. It’s the first time she’s graced the stage of the very award show that she was once an audience member of.
As she shakes and shimmies and boom kack kacks out her eight counts, it’s clear that she’s in her element. Just like her VMA performance a couple of months prior, and the many more stages she’ll continue to grace, she brings an energy that has earned her comparisons to the beloved Queen Bey herself. An honorable statement, considering few R&B songstresses are getting accolades for their entertainment capabilities. It’s on these very stages, in front of hundreds of astonished eyes and millions more glued to their televisions at home, that she tells me she feels most sexy. Powerful, even.
But off stage, it’s a different story.
It’s more than just the commentary about her image and media-flamed rumors that get to her. Mentally, she’s in competition with herself. The desire to be the best burns at the back of her mind with every performance, every production, and every time she steps into the booth. Before, she could share the weight of this burden with her sister. Being a part of a duo meant she could turn to Halle for quiet confirmation and encouragement without a word being exchanged. But lately stepping on the stage means stepping out on her own. And despite being a breathtaking, five-time Grammy-nominated star, Chlöe doesn’t escape the reality that sometimes we can be our own worst critics.
Over the last year, she’s been coming to terms with who she is on her own while overcoming the fear of failing to become who she’s destined to be. While the world waits to see how Chlöe wins, the real triumph is in every day that she chooses herself and continues to walk in her purpose. “I don't really have anything all figured out, honestly. But what I try to do, a lot of prayer. I talk to God more and I just try to do things that calm my mind down and just breathe.”
To whom much is given, much will be required. She’s been chosen to walk this path for a reason. Once she fully embraces that everything she’s meant to be is already inside of her, she’ll be an unstoppable force. “My grandma, Elizabeth, she just passed away and my middle name is her [first] name. So I feel like I truly have a responsibility to live up to her legacy that she's left on this earth. I hope I can do that.”
There’s no doubt that she will. With a role in The Fighting Temptations at three years old, a million-dollar record deal, a main role on five seasons of Grown-ish, five Grammy nominations, a number one solo record in Urban and Rhythmic Radio, a debut solo album, and starring roles in recently released movies Praise Thisand Swarm (just to name a few), Chlöe’s certainly already made her mark, and she’s just getting started.
Photographer & Creative Director: Derek Blanks
Executive Producer: Necole Kane
Co-Executive Producer: EJ Jamele
Producer: Erica Turnbull
Digitech: Chris Keller
DP: Alex Nikishin
Gaffer: Simeon Mihaylov
Photo Assistant: Chris Paschal
2nd Photo Assistant: Tyler Umprey
Features Editor: Kiah McBride
Special Projects: Tyeal Howell
Hair: Malcolm Marquez
Makeup: Yolonda Frederick
Fashion Styling: Ashley Sean Thomas
For More: Cover Story: Issa Rae Comes Full Circle
Keke Palmer Opens Up About Her Sexuality & Never Feeling "Straight Enough" Or "Gay Enough"
Over the years, Keke Palmer has solidified herself as a prominent voice of her generation who doesn’t shy away from speaking her truth. Now, the 29-year-old actress is peeling back the layers and opening up about her sexuality and gender identity.
According to Variety, the Nopestar was presented the Vanguard Award at the LGBT Center’s The Gala in Los Angeles, where she took time to reflect on her own identity journey.
“Sexuality and identity for me has always been confusing,” Keke shared during her acceptance speech. “I never felt straight enough. I never felt gay enough. And I never felt woman enough. I never felt man enough. You know, I always felt like I was a little bit of everything.”
KeKe recalls that she’d often “lead with masculinity” and how that complicated her perspective on the power within herself. “And as a woman, I’ve always been met with so much disdain, you know what I mean? I think so much of that came from who I thought I had to be to get respect, admiration, and love,” she says. “And I’ve always really wanted to be like my father…to want to be taken seriously and not diminish because I was a woman. You know, that’s always been a source of — I guess you would say — pain and resentment.”
Araya Doheny/Getty Images for Los Angeles LGBT Center
The moment of reflection brought on an emotional response from the Nickelodeon alum. “Why did my gender have to define the power I have in the world? And why does my gender get to decide my sexuality?” she asked.
“You know, since I was younger, I always questioned the boxes I was forced to be in and it starts with who you’re supposed to be as a child. You’re supposed to be as a Black person or whatever the background you are from… Then those walls just try to cave you in from every damn angle, who you are as a creative, who you are as a friend.”
She concluded the thoughtful speech by noting her gratitude for being accepted by the LGBTQ+ community as an ally for which she was honored for. “I’m truly so grateful to be seen in this room because I know I’m surrounded by people who know without a doubt what it’s like to decide to be who you are in a world that tells you to be everything but yourself.”
Keke’s Vanguard Award is the perfect illustration of why allyship and activism go hand-in-hand. With voices like Keke’s sharing her truth about self-discovery in sexuality and gender identity, it, in turn, inspires others to do the same.
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Featured image by Araya Doheny/Getty Images for Los Angeles LGBT Center