Whoever used Janelle Monáe in the new Strictly trailer knows exactly what they’re doing

Nicola Adams is set to make history in the show’s first same-sex couple and the BBC are well aware that millions of queer eyes are on them.

Janelle Monae sings into a silver microphone wearing a black and white outfit
Janelle Monáe at Way Out West in Gothenburg, Sweden, August 2014. Picture: Kim Metso

Last week, news broke that Olympic gold medal winner and former boxer Nicola Adams was joining the 2020 lineup of Strictly Come Dancing, and would be dancing with a female professional dancer. Having a same-sex pairing was long overdue on a show that exudes camp from its very soul, and it’s particularly exciting – and, to be honest, unexpected – that it’s going to be two women dancing together through that glass ceiling.

There was a predictably frenzied reaction on Twitter, with a subplot of “and she’s bi!” (based on previous interviews) that was quickly and reasonably corrected by Adams, updating us on social media that she is, in fact, a lesbian. Either way, we will be seeing sapphic sashaying on our primetime TV screens this autumn and someone savvy at the BBC chose the perfect way to tee up this momentous event.

The new trailer features the music of none other than Janelle Monáe, the batsignal to queer women the world over. Monáe has been an icon for over a decade, and in 2018 came out as pansexual and released the seminal album Dirty Computer, from which ‘Make Me Feel’, the song on the trailer comes. That album, which also featured the song ‘Pynk’, the music video of which Pitchfork described as “a multisensory, radical journey into a new dimension of queer sexuality”, is inextricably linked with femme, queer culture. Strictly might still be all about the camp and the glitter balls, but it will have a sprinkling of a new and exciting flavour in 2020 and holy shit is it refreshing to have something to look forward to.

Author: Jodie Manning

Hello! My pronouns are she/her and I am an enthusiastic opinion-haver, mostly-amateur writer, once-published poet, and the person who makes 99% of the Taylor Swift references on The Phase. You can find me not on Twitter at @JodieKate and occasionally writing on Medium and jodiekate.com.

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