Grammy-nominated singer and Hidden Figures actress Janelle Monáe just came out.
“Being a queer black woman in America,” she said, “someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker.”
Monáe, 32, said that she at first identified as “bisexual” but that she’s also learning about pansexuality. “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.”
She said that while she has avoided questions about her sexuality in the past, she did include references in some songs.
“If you listen to my albums, it’s there,” she said.
Monáe mentioned “Mushrooms & Roses” and “Q.U.E.E.N.” “Q.U.E.E.N.,” Monáe said in 2013, is an acronym “for those who are marginalized.” The Q is for queer, U for untouchables, E for emigrants, E for excommunicated, and N for people labeled as “negroid.”
“It’s for everyone who’s felt ostracized,” she said about the song whose video won an MTV Video Music Award and an NAACP Image Award.
But she just told Rolling Stone that the original title was “Q.U.E.E.R.,” which can be heard in the background vocals.
With her new album – Dirty Computer – Monáe is addressing her sexuality head-on.
“A lot of this album is a reaction to the sting of what it means to hear people in my family say, ‘All gay people are going to hell.'”
“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 said.
“This album is for you. Be proud.”