After much speculation about her sexuality, singer, songwriter, rapper and actress Janelle Monáe has revealed that she identifies as a “queer black woman”.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Monáe finally addressed the rumours, stating: “Being a queer black woman in America, someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker.”
She said that she initially identified as bisexual, “but then later I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.'” Monáe added: “I’m open to learning more about who I am.”
Speaking about her new album, Dirty Computer, her third, she expressed the hope that her music will make a positive and affirming impact on young people coming to grips 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 ostracised or bullied for just being their unique selves, to know that I see you,” Monáe said.”This album is for you. Be proud.”
The American performer has been evasive about her personal life and previously said that she only “dates androids”.
In a 2011 interview with London Evening Standard, she explained: “I speak about androids because I think the android represents the new ‘Other’. You can compare it to being a lesbian or being a gay man or being a black woman… what I want is for people who feel oppressed or feel like the ‘Other’ to connect with the music and to feel like, ‘She represents who I am.'”
Monáe’s recent singles have hinted at her non-binary sexuality and proudly celebrated “pussy power”. The Prince inspired track Make Me Feel shows her flirting with a man and a woman and has been dubbed a bisexual anthem.
The song PYNK and its video is a glorious and cheeky tribute to the vagina and female sexuality. Both videos feature Thor: Ragnarok actress Tessa Thompson, who’s rumoured to be dating Monáe.
Monáe is a multi-talented star who released her first album in 2010 and has already earned six Grammy Award nominations. She has also won a number of awards for her roles in two acclaimed films; Moonlight and Hidden Figures.