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Janelle Monáe sings about walking on a tightrope, but when it comes to circus-themed metaphors, it appears that the star is doing a bit of juggling these days. Monáe has a few exciting projects cooking, including a role in The Glorias, the biopic that follows Gloria Steinem’s journey.

Gloria Steinem, and Janelle Monáe
Gloria Steinem, and Janelle Monáe | Presley Ann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Janelle Monáe portrays an icon in ‘The Glorias’

Feminists, rebels, icons, journalists, and activists, the trailer for The Glorias promises. Based on the memoir, “My Life on the Road,” the film gives moviegoers a peek at Steinem’s lifelong journey, from childhood to activism. The Glorias viewers will gain insights into Steinem’s overall impact on the women’s movement and the world.

Julianne Moore stars as Steinem, with Alicia Vikander, Lulu Wilson, and Ryan Kiera Armstrong playing the leader at various ages. Monáe costars as Dorothy Pitman Hughes, a prominent activist, public speaker, entrepreneur, and unapologetic feminist.

A protester holds a poster that shows an image of Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes
A protester holds a poster that shows an image of Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

“This is the year of women’s liberation,” declares Monáe in character as Dorothy Pitman Hughes. The trailer follows that line with a powerful pose in which on-screen versions of Steinem and Hughes raise their fists high.

The scene is a recreation of the memorable image of the duo in 1971. That image still resonates today and has been utilized recently by civil rights activists during peaceful protests against police brutality.

Gloria Steinem personally requested that Janelle Monáe join the cast of her biopic

Monáe popped up on Good Morning America to dish details about her latest endeavors, including The Glorias. While there, she revealed that Steinem reached out to her and asked her to accept the role of Hughes in the film.

I love Gloria [Steinem]. She really didn’t have to do this, but she wrote me a letter. And she asked me if I would portray Dorothy Pitman Hughes, who is such an icon. Not a lot of people know about her, and that’s why I said yes. She was one of the first Black women to own her own business in Harlem [and] she started a garden in her community. And in addition to being this incredible singer and speaker, she’s really one of the reasons why Gloria Steinem can speak because Gloria would get stage fright. And Dorothy would have to come and walk her through it. So, she credits Dorothy for helping her become a better public speaker and helping her also start Ms. Magazine, which was the iconic magazine for women.

Janelle Monáe on Good Morning America

The artist has been inspired by many other game-changers in history


Janelle Monáe Says ‘You May Not Like What You See’ in ‘Antebellum,’ Which Is a Good Reason to Watch It

During her GMA segment, Monáe also revealed how other women had inspired her. When discussing her upcoming film, Antebellum, in which she plays a successful author named Veronica, she explained how she drew inspiration from past and present heroes.

“I had to think about women today who inspire me like Maxine Waters, Angela Rye, Brittany Packnett, Angela Davis. You know, Black women have led revolutions for so many years, and my character, Veronica Henley, was inspired by all of them. And I wanted to honor the ancestors and honor the modern-day women who show up for us every day.”

Follow Erika Delgado on Twitter.