There’s been speculation about Janelle Monáe’s sexuality and in a new interview with Rolling Stone, the singer dropped her android persona and let the world in on the intimate details that she previously kept closely guarded.
“Being a queer black woman in America,” she says, taking a breath as she comes out, “Someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherf***er.” She initially identified as bisexual, then clarifies, “but then later I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.’ I’m open to learning more about who I am.”
Monáe said her public persona – the androgynous space cadet who always wore suits that she was ironically criticized for – served as protective armor. “It had to do with the fear of being judged,” she says. “All I saw was that I was supposed to look a certain way coming into this industry, and I felt like I [didn’t] look like a stereotypical black female artist.”
Though she previously ducked questions about her sexuality, saying things like “I only date androids,” Monáe actually embedded the real answers for her fans in her music. “If you listen to my albums, it’s there,” she says. She cites “Mushrooms & Roses” and “Q.U.E.E.N.” (which was originally named “Q.U.E.E.R.”), two songs that reference a character named Mary as an object of affection. In the 45-minute film that accompanies Dirty Computer, “Mary Apple” is the name given to female “dirty computers” who are taken captive and stripped of their real names. One of them is played by Tessa Thompson, the actress who has been rumored to be Monáe’s girlfriend, a subject the singer won’t discuss.
Monáe, who is the CEO of her own label, a CoverGirl model, and a movie star, appearing in the Oscar-winning Moonlight and the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures, wants to be a beacon for young adults struggling with their sexuality.
“I want young girls, young boys, nonbinary, gay, straight, queer people who are having a hard time dealing with their sexuality, dealing with feeling ostracized or bullied for just being their unique selves, to know that I see you,” she says in a tone befitting the “commander” patch on her arm. “This album is for you. Be proud.”
Source: Rolling Stone
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