Hidden Figures star Janelle Monae says her mentor Prince was a 'huge feminist'

Actress and singer Janelle Monae says she believes her “mentor” Prince was a “huge feminist”.

Janelle, who stars in the Oscar-nominated films Hidden Figures and Moonlight, described the Purple Rain hit-maker as a “champion for women”.

Prince featured on Janelle’s 2013 song Givin Em What They Love and she performed a medley of his hits at the BET Awards last year, following his sudden death in April.

Janelle told the Press Association: “It was a complete honour to know Prince. He was a selfless giver.

“He was a huge champion for women and women being in the position of power.

“I’m forever indebted to have had him as a mentor. I know he was very proud when he found out I was doing Hidden Figures.”

Janelle revealed she and her Hidden Figures co-star Taraji P Henson watched Prince’s last concert in Atlanta – a week before his death – during the making of the movie.

Prince was rushed to hospital shortly after the concert when he fell ill during a flight on his private jet. He was found dead a week later at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota, following an accidental overdose of the painkiller fentanyl.

Janelle said: “He’s forever with us. He loved smart women. His last band was all female – Third Eye Girl.

“He believed that women are the answer, we just need to listen to them more. (A) huge feminist.”

Janelle, 31, has been nominated for six Grammys during her music career and received a Brit Award nomination in 2014 for best international female solo artist.

She, Taraji and Octavia Spencer star in Hidden Figures, which tells the true story of three African-American women mathematicians who played a vital role in the early years of the US space programme.

The film, which is nominated for best picture at the Oscars, is released in UK cinemas on Friday.

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