The midterm elections are just around the corner and Janelle Monáe couldn’t be more ready to take to the polls.
“I will absolutely be voting Nov. 6th,” the singer and actress, 32, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “It’s something that was instilled in me.”
Though she’s fresh off of her hit Dirty Computer tour and about to jump into filming Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, Monáe says making time to exercise her right to vote is top of her to-do list. And that’s for a very good reason.
“My grandmother was a sharecropper. She served food in the county jail for 25 years. She picked cotton, shared one pair of shoes with her 14 brothers and sisters in Aberdeen, Mississippi,” the star explains. “Then she migrated to Kansas City, Kansas. And she did not have the right to vote.”
When Monáe was of age, “She made me promise to her that anytime I had the opportunity to vote, that I would,” she says. “So, even though all the candidates are not perfect, in honor of my grandmother, I take my butt to the polls.”
Herself an outspoken advocate for Women’s and LGBTQ rights, the Moonlight star says she now has her own motivations for engaging in politics.
“I do care about the rights of the LGBTQI community that I’m a part of, I do care about women’s rights, I’m a woman, I do care about black folks, minority rights, I’m a black person living in America,” says Monáe, who heads up her own organization Fem the Future to promote women’s equality.
“There are a lot of things that I care about, and so, I try to figure out ways in my shows to use my platform to support certain folks,” she adds. “I want to make sure that even in this political climate, that we are taking into consideration, as they’re making new laws, as folks are running for office, like who cares about those things that I care about.”