HomeMusic NewsMNEK: 'I'm queer. I'm Black. I am successful'

MNEK: ‘I’m queer. I’m Black. I am successful’


In the latest episode of Proud Radio on Apple Music 1, Hattie Collins sits down with MNEK and girl in red. The pair discuss their experiences as LGBTQ+ artists, coming out, their key collaborators and more.

MNEK On Working With Madonna…
When I was working with her, I understood the impact that she had, just period. Do you know what I mean? Just as a visionary, a talent influence on pop culture. I think what Madonna has done over the years is iconic and it is one of a kind. Because without her, the idea of the female pop star championing queer people, LGBTQ people would have been taboo. It just would not have been talked about. So many people were at her neck when she was doing that back then. There’s a defiance about her, and all of that is inspirational. Her vibe of watching those interviews back in the day and being like, “So what’s the problem. What is the big deal? Why are you guys tripping?” When you go into that with that energy, you already have the power, and one thing about Madonna is that she’s a very powerful woman.

MNEK On Growing Up With Little Mix…
I was also growing up with the Little Mix girls. We were both on the same management at the time and making music and transitioning from teenagers to young adults. It’s been really fun to grow with them and to grow closer to them in these past few years and be making music with them and them appreciating what I bring to the table. I think that they are the girl group of the country.

MNEK On Wanting To See Greater Representation of Black, LGBTQ+ Artists…
I think I’m acutely aware that I am one of few. I don’t know. It’s weird to give myself that title, but I’m queer. I’m Black. I am successful. I have been able to write and produce with many artists and sing on hit singles. If that means I’m the most or one of the most successful people of colour in the country right now, I guess, but I know that I don’t want to be the only one doing what I’m doing the way I’m doing it. I do actually, but more so, more than anything, I don’t want to be the only one out here. I think there’s so much talent out there that why can’t we all be here and having a party and all being successful and all making money and all changing the world any way that we can? I think there could afford to be more voices, more queer voices of colour in music that are able to change the rules and really flip the script.

girl in red On Her Experience Of Coming Out…
My experience has been really good. I’ve been so lucky. I haven’t noticed that I’m gay, and I think that’s the ideal situation for anyone. Every year, I think Gay Times does a… They say what country’s the safest or something. I think Norway was in the top end of that. So it’s weird how you’re lucky to be where you’re born. It’s like a lottery, really. I think I had my first ever like, “Oh, there’s something here,” when I was eight. I was really scared and intimidated by hanging out with girls. I think I’d fully figured it out in ninth grade, but then I suppressed it for a very long time. Then I was in a relationship with a dude and then I came out six years ago. One of many times you have to come out in life. Actually, I’ve done myself a big favour. I don’t think I ever have to come out again.

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