When Mahershala Ali saw Janelle Monáe in Hidden Figures, he immediately recognized how much she had grown as an actor since they had worked together on Moonlight. "She considers herself to be a storyteller and jumps genres fairly easily," says the Oscar nominee. "But Janelle blew me away in Hidden Figures. Her work was phenomenal."


Monáe, 31, who plays trailblazing NASA engineer Mary Jackson in the film, credits at least part of her success to another Hidden Figures collaborator: Pharrell Williams. The producer and cocomposer encouraged Monáe not only to continue to pursue the craft but also to be what he calls a "pluralist." Says Williams, "Not everybody can do fashion, film and music. If you're good at it, you can turn that [versatility] into an art form that you share with the world. Janelle is a shining example."

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With more than 100 million girls missing school due to their periods, it's a worthy conversation to have. 

Danielle Kwateng-Clark
Mar, 07, 2017

Janelle Monáe is not here for period shamers.

The singer/actress took to Twitter on Friday to proclaim the importance of lifting up women and their periods because of what it means to the existence of the world.

"Menstrual Period Blood. #WomensHistoryMonth," she said. "It's sad that there are prob folks more grossed out by and/or ashamed of menstrual period blood than they are the current administration."

Adding, "Never forget girls & women birthed the human race and hold the power to unbirth it. Y'all gone learn."

She went on to discuss with a follower about the adjective "gross" when applied to periods.

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"[Period blood] is a by product of the period (a natural and biological change that occurs in the female). When a person uses language like 'gross' this causes the person on the receiving end to feel ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, etc."

Periods have always been something women endure but rarely talk about publicly. Women and girls are shamed for just having their period in many countries, including places like Nepal where the practice of chaupadi takes place (a tradition of making girls on their period stay outside until its completed). And according to Thinx.org, 100 million girls miss school because of their periods.

So while it may seem "gross" to some, Janelle Monae's statements were perfectly in line with the spirit of Women's History Month.