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Janelle Monáe on racial and gender inclusion: 'I want us to have a seat at the table'

As Janelle Monáe continues to advance in her career as a musician, actress, and social activist, she wants more for the intersectional female communities that she identifies with.

“I want us to be included on the front end,” the singer, nominated for multiple Grammy awards and known for her roles in the Academy Award acclaimed films “Hidden Figures” andMoonlight,” told Yahoo Finance’s On The Move. “I want us to have that seat at the table on the front end where we’re coming up with these ideas around inclusion, around hiring more women. We’re here. We just have to have the opportunity to express our gifts and our talent.”

It’s part of what led Monáe to further expand her partnership with Polish vodka brand Belvedere Vodka. They teamed up to launch a limited-edition bottle in the beginning of June designed around the theme of global integration, everyone coming together and “saying hey we may be from different parts of the world but this is how i see the world, let’s talk about a beautiful future that works for both me and you.” It celebrates Monáe and Belvedere’s shared vision of the importance of “diversity, self-expression, and inclusion.”

Janelle Monáe poses with her limited-edition bottle of Belvedere Vodka. Credit: Belvedere Vodka

The bottle is the latest addition to the ongoing collaborative relationship between Monáe and Belvedere Vodka. The partnership kicked off last year after Belvedere hosted a brunch for Monáe’s “Fem the Future” movement, which was created “to provide women and people that identify as women with opportunities through mentorship and educational programs.

Another brunch will take place later this year in November.

“It’s not just about sticking my name to a brand,” Monáe said. She went on to emphasize that genuine discussions getting to know and relating to Belvedere Vodka President and CEO Rodney Williams and his team was what confirmed that this was the right partnership to further her goals of improving diversity and inclusion for women and African-Americans.

“We can perform at a high level. We’re capable. We’re smart. We’re brilliant. We have the ideas,” said Monáe. “It’s about making sure that those who are in the position of power are looking back and really pulling us in on the front end of those conversations.”

Marabia Smith is a producer for Yahoo Finance On the Move.

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