mnek wants to be a role model for gay black youth

"If anyone can see themselves in me that’s fucking great," the 21-year-old Beyoncé collaborator said. "That means I am making someone feel good about themselves.”

by Hannah Ongley
Jun 1 2016, 4:25pm


MNEK, the 21-year-old whiz kid collaborating with Madonna and Beyoncé, had no shortage of musical role models while growing up in the late 90s. What he did lack was anyone who adequately reflected his identity as a gay, black male. Now the DJ, producer, singer, and songwriter wants to be that role model for a fresh generation of kids who are equally underrepresented in mainstream media. "As a black gay artist, as a kid, a big part of how uncomfortable I was, was I didn't have a role model I didn't have someone on TV I could liken myself to," he recently explained to Metro's Guilty Pleasures. "I take it as my responsibility to be exactly who I wanted to see on TV. If anyone can see themselves in me that's fucking great. That means I am making someone feel good about themselves."

While the "At Night (I Think About You)" singer called his own coming out a "work in progress," he said he's in a relationship that makes navigating his identity a lot easier. "I have a loving boyfriend who is really cool and really safe," he said. "He is the nicest and my favorite. I am happy."

MNEK is currently dating fellow out artist Brayton Bowman, with whom he collaborated on "Skin Deep," a track about trying to find love on Tinder. He was last seen playing Birmingham Pride over the weekend, and is evidently getting quite the kick out of his semi-newfound role model status. 


Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Instagram