#GirlDad became bigger than ever earlier this year with the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gigi. He left a wife and three other daughters behind, but he didn't carry the title of 'Girl Dad' simply because he had daughters. He was a dedicated mentor, a confidant, and a present father to his girls. Months later, his example has pushed us to really think about what the hashtag really means.
Historically, Black and Brown communities' relation to fatherhood hasn't been the greatest, BUT there are great fathers who break the stereotype and deserve to have a light shined on them. We spoke with solid daddy-daughter duos about the true weight that role carries.
Like the late legend, these dads are setting the standard for Girl Dads and showing us what it truly means.
Courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Dad: Don Terrell
66, Retired from General Motors after 40+ years of service
"The greatest reward of being a Girl Dad and raising four daughters has been watching them grow and matriculate into womanhood. From little-league softball games, Sweet 16s to graduations, and beyond, I was there for every milestone and will continue to do so. Supporting each of them in their endeavors and empowering them along the way has been my greatest reward.
Time flies and watching them learn and absorb knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to become intelligent spiritually grounded women, or as I call them 'Queen Warriors,' is my legacy and has been my greatest achievement as a father.
Unknowingly, in nurturing and championing their well-being, it helped me in many ways throughout my fatherhood journey and this pathway called life. My wife and I didn't have any sons, and people always reminded us of this, but it didn't matter to me because my girls are my everything. I know they will carry the lessons I've taught them from an early age across generations."
Daughter: Dontaira Terrell
34, Editorial Director
"Five years ago, I lost my mother after a sudden car crash while leaving work, which left her hospitalized for 14 months until she eventually succumbed to her injuries. Throughout this entire experience, I gained a deeper appreciation, a greater sense of gratitude and pride that I was chosen to be my dad's baby girl.
I consider my dad as a hero in his own right. When doctors assured him that pulling the life-support plug on his wife of 40 years was the only way to go, he relentlessly stood his ground and insisted it was not an option. With strength and sincerity, he stated, 'You may have seen a thousand cases like this, but my wife is rare. I don't have a thousand wives, and my four daughters don't have a thousand mothers.'
At that moment, my dad taught me the essence of unconditional love and the power to fight for what is precious to you. He is the ideal example and blueprint of my future husband and a true testament of self-sacrificing love. I believe parents should inspire to aspire, and in my quest to build and continue the family legacy, it is exactly what I hope to achieve.
He's the best grandad to his grandchildren, listener, provider, and mentor. But most importantly, he is always there. He is a constant force in my life that I can depend on, no matter what. From our Saturday morning daddy-daughter adventures growing up to our family dinners and road trips, I am grateful for that foundation that has shaped me into who I am today and the woman I am still becoming."
Courtesy of Christina Singh
Dad: Satro Singh
57, District Manager
"The greatest reward of being a Girl Dad is having joy in watching my daughter grow up. I coached and raised my daughter to be great at everything she puts her mind to. I remind her daily to be a strong woman and to have a kind heart, even if the world is unkind to her. Her accomplishments and resilience makes me a proud #GirlDad."
Daughter: Christina Singh
"I am proud to be my dad's daughter because I've observed his strength and flexibility to provide for our family. Since I was a young child, my dad worked multiple jobs to make sure my family was taken care of. As I got older, I became more appreciative of the sacrifices he had to make in order for our family to persevere. I am forever grateful and will always thank him for being the true definition of a dad."
"Having a girl is definitely a big reward. Being a father presented me [with] whole different experiences and perspectives I could never get before that as a man. It even allowed me to understand and learn about the strength of a women.
As a father, having to experience mixed emotions (especially when my daughter started to develop her own path and career) was a growing process. Imagine experiencing nonstop happiness and anxiety in all the same exact moments.
She has a different path than the one I know or the one I imagined for her. Especially when it is a path full of challenges, that she refuses to give up on... I can't hold her hand but that makes me love and admire her even more.
I'm a joyful dad to a joyful daughter. That's all I can ask for!"
Daughter: Hala Maroc
28, Personality/ Wellness Advocate- TheBadassBootcamp.com
"I've always been a Daddy's girl. Anyone who knows my Dad would say he's a REAL ONE. I get my comedic timing, young spirit, and lack of patience from him.
He always taught me to be independent and to just go for it. But thinking back, there have been a few times when I really thought I was doing big things and had my big girl pants on... come to find out, he was secretly holding my hand the whole time!
Some of my most vivid memories would have to be in kindergarten when I'd fall asleep halfway through doing my homework and wake up to it finished! Or at three- or four-years-old when he put me on his lap to 'drive the car' knowing I wouldn't notice his knee doing all the actual steering. Or when he used to have me go across the street to a neighborhood bakery to pick up sweets and practice counting money and one day I realized he was watching me from our fourth floor apartment window the whole time just in case and even may have called the bakery to give them a heads up ahead of time.
I find him trying to still do that in my adult life sometimes and [he] may regret raising such an independent woman who GOT THIS! But I want to reassure him that everything I've ever accomplished stems from the confidence he instilled in me along the way."
Courtesy of Jelani Addams
Dad: David Addams
63, Executive Director
"My greatest reward being a Girl Dad is watching my girl grow into her power and potential professionally and socially. As early as primary school, my daughter was empowered to speak her mind and seek her solutions.
Providing the opportunity to become a peer educator in high school with NYCLU solidified her role as a spokesperson and leader. I am so proud of what she has done about the issues she cares about and how her writing has manifested her sharp mind and fierce dedication to justice and fairness."
Daughter: Jelani Addams Rosa
30, Senior Editor
"I've always been a very proud daughter. For as long as I can remember, I've always been a Daddy's girl and loved hanging out with him and picking his brain. To this day, he's my favorite person to talk about politics and current events with, I respect his opinion and point of view so much.
I can think of so many moments where I was proud to call him my dad, but the most recent is when he was honored by the NAACP for his work in the community. I know all of the amazing ways my dad has shown up for me—30 years of nonstop unconditional support and love.
I'm always floored when I think about the fact that in between making the time to be an amazing father, he's always found the time to be an amazing person, to think about people outside of his immediate circle, and come up with concrete ways he can be part of the solution. It's always been important, but in times like this it's invaluable to have a David on your team, I'm just glad I get to call him Dad."
Courtesy of Kim Cortes
Dad: Angel Cortes
66, Retired Maintenance Worker
"My biggest reward of being a Girl Dad has been having a daughter that I could be affectionate with and loving. Someone who allowed me to loosen up and brought out a softer side I didn't know I had."
Daughter: Kim Cortes
30, Marketing Manager
"My dad has always been a hero to me. He was an immigrant from Central America who came here with a dream and hopes to create a better future for his wife and his children. After years of working and sacrifice, he finally paid off our home. He was the first homeowner in his family and did it all on a maintenance man salary."
Courtesy of Brittiany Cierra Taylor
Dad: Derek Taylor Sr.
62, Real Estate Entrepreneur
"My greatest reward being a girl dad is the sound of my daughter's laughter."
Daughter: Brittiany Cierra Taylor
33, Sr. Manager Audience Development
"I grew up a Daddy's girl and then our relationship shifted in my early twenties. I think I'm most proud of the effort I've seen him make in the last five years to be my superhero once again while we both give each other the grace to grow.
I think as a Daddy's girl, you grow up thinking your dad's a superhero and when you find out he's not perfect, you're disappointed à la Molly in Insecure. Likewise, I think he always thought I was pretty close to perfect, and when he found out I wasn't, the same.
We were in business together which adds another layer of static. Since then, he's been super patient, willing to listen (we are both stubborn), and really just focused on my happiness. I first saw this shift when I moved to New York five years ago and then two years ago when my little brother passed. In those two years, we've traveled out of the country together (my friends still call him 'trip dad'), he's taught me new sides of the family business and I've actually been staying with him since COVID."
Courtesy of Soraya Joseph
Dad: Larry Joseph
63, Truck Driver
"Daddy is always right. I'm never wrong! (laughs). If her mother and I disagreed, she was always on my side, and ran to my defense. I'm serious!
True story—before her, I was afraid to even have a girl. But when I had her, it changed my life. I even wish I had more girls, you know? Girls are so special and fragile, and you have to really spoil them. And when they respect you (in return), it makes everything more worth it.
The feeling of having a daughter is indescribable. Because with a boy, even though you show them affection, you raise them to be tough. But with the girl, it's like, women are naturally strong, but also fragile, so you're afraid to do anything so you don't hurt them.
At the end of the day, a dad always thinks the girl is for them. The boy is for mom. We're sensible with our sons, but very sensitive about our girls. And very defensive and overprotective too. With limits, of course. It's charming. Having a daughter is the greatest reward. Especially when they're getting old, and they still call you 'Daddy.'"
Daughter: Soraya Joseph
31, Digital Content Director
"When I was younger, I used to be painfully jealous and territorial of my dad's paternal-like efforts outside of my brother and me. Like, I didn't mind if he helped other people, but I didn't want him helping them 'like a dad,' if that makes sense (laughs). I'm a mess, I know."
As I got older, I grew to admire my father's ability to impart wisdom and advice onto others and make himself readily available to the figuratively fatherless.
Once, I even witnessed my dad be late for work, because while having brunch at our favorite diner, a young waiter actually sat down mid-shift at our table, completely caught up in a convo with my dad. They spoke for nearly an hour, while I downed three more mimosas at the bar. Because of this, I've dubbed my dad 'the real-life Uncle Phil', since a lot of my friends and my brother's friends enjoy their conversations with him and seek his guidance. To this day, I get a 'What's your dad's number again?' text or a 'Can you ask your dad...' text from friends wanting his take on everything from buying their first car to general life advice.
In the end, I've learned that my father is a better father-figure than most men are fathers. While the younger me used to scold him for his friendliness, the older me loves and is in awe of it. Besides, at the end of the day, everyone knows girls are daddies' worlds. So, if he is a good father-figure, imagine being his actual daughter. He goes harder!"
Featured image courtesy of Soraya Joseph
Jazmine A. Ortiz is a creative born and raised in Bushwick, Brooklyn and currently living in Staten Island, NY. She started in the entertainment industry in 2012 and now works as a Lifestyle Editor where she explores everything from mental health to vegan foodie trends. For more on what she's doing in the digital space follow her on Instagram at @liddle_bitt.
Amber Riley Is In Her Element
Amber Riley has the type of laugh that sticks with you long after the raspy, rhythmic sounds have ceased. It punctuates her sentences sometimes, whether she’s giving a chuckle to denote the serious nature of something she just said or throwing her head back in rip-roarious laughter after a joke. She laughs as if she understands the fragility of each minute. She chooses laughter often with the understanding that future joy is not guaranteed.
Credit: Ally Green
The sound of her laughter is rivaled only by her singing voice, an emblem of the past and the future resilience of Black women stretched over a few octaves. On Fox’s Glee, her character Mercedes Jones was portrayed, perhaps unfairly, as the vocal duel to Rachel Berry (Lea Michele), offering rough, full-throated belts behind her co-star’s smooth, pristine vocals. Riley’s always been more than the singer who could deliver a finishing note, though.
Portraying Effie White, she displayed the dynamic emotions of a song such as “And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going” in Dreamgirls on London’s West End without buckling under the historic weight of her predecessors. With her instrument, John Mayer’s “Gravity” became a religious experience, a belted hymnal full of growls and churchy riffs. In her voice, Nicole Scherzinger once said she heard “the power of God.”
Credit: Ally Green
Riley’s voice has been a staple throughout pop culture for nearly 15 years now. Her tone has become so distinguishable that most viewers of Fox’s The Masked Singer recognized the multihyphenate even before it was revealed that she was Harp, the competition-winning, gold-masked figure with an actual harp strapped to her back.
Still, it wasn’t until recently that Riley began to feel like she’d found her voice. This sounds unbelievable. But she’s not referring to the one she uses on stage. She’s referencing the voice that speaks to who she is at her core. “Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind,” the 37-year-old says. “It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women. I got so comfortable in [doing so], and I really want other people, especially Black women, to get more comfortable in that space.”
“Therapy kind of gave me the training to speak my mind. It’s not something we’re taught, especially as Black women."
If you ask Riley’s manager, Myisha Brooks, she’ll tell you the foundation of who the multihyphenate is hasn’t changed much since she was a kid growing up in Compton. “She is who she is from when I met her back when she was singing in the front of the church to back when she landed major roles in film and TV,” Brooks says. Time has allowed Riley to grow more comfortable, giving fans a more intimate glimpse into her life, including her mental health journey and the ins and outs of show business.
The actress/singer has been in therapy since 2019, although she suffered from depression and anxiety way before that. In a recent interview with Jason Lee, she recalls having suicidal ideation as a kid. By the time she started seeing a psychologist and taking antidepressants in her thirties, her body had become jittery, a physical reminder of the trauma stacked high inside her. “I was shaking in [my therapist’s] office,” she tells xoNecole. “My fight or flight was on such a high level. I was constantly in survival mode. My heart was beating fast all the time. All I did was sweat.”
There wasn’t just childhood trauma to account for. After auditioning for American Idol and being turned away by producers, Riley began working for Ikea and nearly missed her Glee audition because her car broke down on the highway while en route. Thankfully, Riley had been cast to play Mercedes Jones. American Idol had temporarily convinced her she wasn’t cut out for the entertainment industry, but this was validation that she was right where she belonged. Glee launched in 2009 with the promise of becoming Riley’s big break.
In some ways, it was. The show introduced Riley to millions of fans and catapulted her into major Hollywood circles. But in other ways, it became a reminder of the types of roles Black women, especially those who are plus-sized, are relegated to. Behind the scenes, Riley says she fought for her character "to have a voice" but eventually realized her efforts were useless. "It finally got to a point where I was like, this is not my moment. I'm not who they're choosing, and this is just going to have to be a job for me for now," she says. "And, that's okay because it pays my bills, I still get to be on television, I'm doing more than any other Black plus-sized women that I'm seeing right now on screen."
The actress can recognize now that she was navigating issues associated with trauma and low self-esteem at the time. She now knows that she's long had anxiety and depression and can recognize the ways in which she was triggered by how the cult-like following of the show conflicted with her individual, isolated experiences behind the scenes. But she was in her early '20s back then. She didn't yet have the language or the tools to process how she was feeling.
Riley says she eventually sought out medical intervention. "When you're in Hollywood, and you go to a doctor, they give you pills," she says, sharing a part of her story that she'd never revealed publicly before now. "[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that's not fixing my problem. If anything, it's making it worse."
“[I was] on medication and developing a habit of medicating to numb, not understanding I was developing an addiction to something that’s not fixing my problem. If anything it’s making it worse.”
Credit: Ally Green
At one point, while in her dressing room on set, she rested her arm on a curling iron without realizing it. It wasn't until her makeup artist alerted her that she even realized her skin was burning. Once she noticed, she says she was "so zonked out on pills" that she barely reacted. Speaking today, she holds up her arm and motions towards a scar that remains from the incident. She sought help for her reliance on the pills, but it would still be years before she finally attended therapy.
This stress was only compounded by the trauma of growing up in poverty and the realities of being a "contract worker." "Imagine going from literally one week having to borrow a car to get to set to the next week being on a private jet to New York City," she says. After Glee ended, so did the rides on private planes. The fury of opportunities she expected to follow her appearance on the show failed to materialize. She wasn't even 30 yet, and she was already forced to consider if she'd hit her career peak.
. . .
We’re only four minutes into our Zoom call before Riley delivers her new adage to me. “My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway,” she says.
On this Thursday afternoon in April, the LA-based entertainer is seated inside her closet/dressing room wearing a cerulean blue tank top with matching shorts and eating hot wings. This current phase of healing hinges on balance. It’s about having discipline and consistency, but not at the risk of inflexibility. She was planning to head to the gym, for instance, but she’s still tired from the “exhausting” day before. Instead, she’s spent her day receiving a massage, eating some chicken wings, and planning to spend quality time with friends. “I’m not going to beat myself up for it. I’m not going to talk down to myself. I’m going to eat my chicken wings, and then tomorrow I’m [back] in the gym,” she says.
“My new mantra is ‘humility does not serve me.’ Humility does not serve Black women. The world works so hard to humble us anyway."
This is the balance with which she's been approaching much of her life these days. It's why she's worried less about whether or not people see her as someone who is humble. She'd rather be respected. "I think you should be a person that's easy to work with, but in the moments where I have to ruffle feathers and make waves, I'm not shying away from that anymore. You can do it in love, you don't have to be nasty about it, but I had to finally be comfortable with the fact that setting boundaries around my life – in whatever aspect, whether that's personal or business – people are not going to like it. Some people are not going to have nice things to say about you, and you gotta be okay with it," she says.
When Amber talks about the constant humbling of Black women in Hollywood, I think of the entertainers before her who have suffered from this. The brilliant, consistent, overqualified Black women who have spoken of having to fight for opportunities and fair pay. Aretha Franklin. Viola Davis. Tracee Ellis Ross. There's a long list of stars whose success hasn't mirrored their experiences behind the scenes.
Credit: Ally Green
If Black women outside of Hollywood are struggling to decrease the pay gap, so, too, are their wealthier, more famous peers.
Riley says there’s been progress in recent years, but only in small ways and for a limited group of people. “This business is exhausting. The goalpost is constantly moving, and sometimes it’s unfair,” she says. But, I have to say it’s the love that keeps you going.”
“There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman,” she continues. “We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
"There’s no way you can continue to be in this business and not love it, especially being a plus-sized Black woman. We’re still niche. We’re still not main characters.”
Last year, Riley starred alongside Raven Goodwin in the Lifetime thriller Single Black Female (a modern, diversified take on 1992’s Single White Female). It was more than a leading role for the actress, it also served as proof that someone who looks like her can front a successful project without it hinging on her identity. It showcased that the characters she portrays don’t “have to be about being a big girl. It can just be a regular story.”
Riley sees her work in music as an extension of her efforts to push past the rigid stereotypes in entertainment. Take her appearance on The Masked Singer, for instance. Riley said she decided to perform Mayer’s “Gravity” after being told she couldn’t sing it years earlier. “I wanted to do ‘Gravity’ on Glee. [I] was told no, because that’s not a song that Mercedes would do,” she says. “That was a full circle moment for me, doing that on that show and to hear what it is they had to say.”
As Scherzinger praised the “anointed” performance, a masked Riley began to cry, her chest heaving as she stood on stage, her eyes shielded from view. “You have to understand, I have really big names – casting directors, producers, show creators – that constantly tell me ‘I’m such a big fan. Your talent is unmatched.’ Hire me, then,” she says, reflecting on the moment.
Recently, she’s been in the studio working on original music, the follow-up to her independently-released debut EP, 2020’s Riley. The sequel to songs such as the anthemic “Big Girl Energy” and the reflective ballad “A Moment” on Riley, this new project hones in on the singer’s R&B roots with sensual grooves such as the tentatively titled “All Night.” “You said I wasn’t shit, turns out that I’m the shit. Then you called me a bitch, turns out that I’m that bitch. You said no one would want me, well you should call your homies,” she sings on the tentatively titled “Lately,” a cut about reflecting on a past relationship. From the forthcoming project, xoNecole received five potential tracks. Fans likely already know the strengths and contours of Riley’s vocals, but these new songs are her strongest, most confident offerings as an artist.
“I am so much more comfortable as a writer, and I know who I am as an artist now. I’m evolving as a human being, in general, so I’m way more vulnerable in my music. I’m way more willing to talk about whatever is on my mind. I don’t stop myself from saying what it is I want to say,” she says.
Credit: Ally Green
“Every era and alliteration of Amber, the baseline is ‘Big Girl Energy.’ That’s the name of her company,” her manager Brooks says, referencing the imprint through which Riley releases her music after getting out of a label deal several years ago. “It’s just what she stands for. She’s not just talking about size, it’s in all things. Whether it’s putting your big girl pants on and having to face a boardroom full of executives or sell yourself in front of a casting agent. It’s her trying to achieve the things she wants to do in life.”
Riley says she has big dreams beyond releasing this new music, too. She’d love to star in a rom-com with Winston Duke. She hasn't starred in a biopic yet, but she’d revel in the opportunity to portray Rosetta Tharpe on screen. She’s determined that her previous setbacks won’t stop her from dreaming big.
“I think one of my superpowers is resilience because, at the end of the day, I’m going to kick, scream, cry, cuss, be mad and disappointed, but I’m going to get up and risk having to deal with it all again. It’s worth it for the happy moments,” she says.
If Riley seems more comfortable and confident professionally, it’s because of the work she’s been doing in her personal life.
She’d previously spoken to xoNecole about becoming engaged to a man she discovered in a post on the site, but she called things off last year. For Valentine’s Day, she revealed her new boyfriend publicly. “I decided to post him on Valentine’s Day, partially because I was in the dog house. I got in trouble with him,” she says, half-joking before turning serious. “The breakup was never going to stop me from finding love. Or at least trying. I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness, and you enjoy it and work through it.”
Credit: Ally Green
"I don’t owe anybody a happily ever after. People break up. It happens. When it was good, it was good. When it was bad, it was terrible, hunny. I had to get the fuck up out of there. You find happiness and you enjoy it and work through it.”
With her ex, Riley was pretty outspoken about her relationship, even appearing in content for Netflix with him. This time around is different. She’s not hiding her boyfriend of eight months, but she’s more protective of him, especially because he’s a father and isn’t interested in becoming a public figure.
She’s traveling more, too. It’s a deliberate effort on her part to enjoy her money and reject the trauma she’s developed after experiencing poverty in her childhood. “I live in constant fear of being broke. I don’t think you ever don’t remember that trauma or move past that. Now I travel and I’m like, listen, if it goes, it goes. I’m not saying [to] be reckless, but I deserve to enjoy my hard work.”
After everything she’s been through, she certainly deserves to finally let loose a bit. “I have to have a life to live,” she says. “I’ve got to have a life worth fighting for.”
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Janelle Monáe's Reveals The Real Reason Why She Stopped Wearing Her Signature Tuxedos
Singer and actress Janelle Monáe exemplifies how change can be a powerful catalyst for growth and transformation.
Monáe, who rose to fame in 2010 following the release of her debut album, The ArchAndroid, captivated fans' hearts with her powerful vocals, catchy tunes, and style. Around that time period, when various female artists were known to wear provocative ensembles on stage, the "Tightrope" songstress set herself apart by wearing her signature black and white suits and continued to do so for almost a decade.
In the later years of her career, after the release of her studio albums The Electric Lady in 2013 and 2018's Dirty Computer, many began to notice the shift in Monáe's artistry and fashion, which some widely praised.
Although the now 37-year-old rarely addressed the reason behind the transformation over the years, that would all change when Monáe sat down with radio personality Angie Martinez on her IRL podcast earlier this month.
During the interview, Monáe --who was promoting her latest album, "The Age of Pleasure"-- opened up about her mental health struggles, how she would cope, and why she chose to live in freedom.
Janelle On Why She Stopped Wearing Her Signature Suits All the Time
Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
In the May discussion, the "I Like That" vocalist revealed she suffers from anxiety, which she claimed would occur around "winter to spring."
Monáe added that when she has her bouts with anxiety, she tends to turn to food as a coping mechanism. Further in the interview, the "Lipstick Lover" singer disclosed that her emotional eating habits caused a weight fluctuation and that she could no longer fit into the suits she once wore earlier in her career.
Monáe explained that even though she tried to diet and exercise to return to her smaller figure, she ultimately stopped and made peace with herself with the help of therapy because she acknowledged that she isn't the same person she was nearly a decade ago and shouldn't try to be even if it was a highly "celebrated" version.
"I'm petite, but it can get thick... When I couldn't fit them suits anymore, and I was like, 'Oh my God, what is going on?' I would be dieting, running, or exercising, trying to fit into [it]. I'm just like, 'No. No, we're here. This is where we are.' We [are] not about to be utilizing life trying to be an old version of ourselves. No matter how celebrated that version of me was. I'm here. I'm here," she said.
Janelle On Freedom
As the topic shifted to freedom and what that meant to Monáe, the "Primetime" vocalist shared that in this new era of her life, she enjoys it because she can boldly express herself however she wants and honor who she is as a person right now.
Monáe also revealed that she had found ways to become a better artist and the best version of herself because of her freedom.
"What is the new version of freedom? What does that feel like? That's usually when I feel the most free is when artistically, I can honor exactly who I am right now," she stated. "I feel most free as a human when I can honor exactly who I am right now."
Monáe's fourth studio album, The Age of Pleasure, is set to be released on June 9.
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