While Janelle Monae has long explored themes of sex and gender identity in her music, mostly by way of sci-fi mythology of her own creation, she would avoid talking about her own, beyond the stock “I only date androids” response. That changes with a new Rolling Stone cover story, where she tearfully answers that question.
“Being a queer black woman in America,” she says, “someone who has been in relationships with both men and women — I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker.”
Janelle adds that she considered herself bisexual, until she discovered a more fitting term. “Later I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too,'” she tells RS. To be pansexual is to be attracted to any sex, gender or gender identity.
Janelle was hesitant to come out because of her devoutly Baptist upbringing. “A lot of this album [Dirty Computer] is a reaction to the sting of what it means to hear people in my family say, ‘All gay people are going to hell,'” she says.
She also says that Donald Trump’s America feels like a threat to her own existence, though as an artist and activist, she now feels confident that her art can help change their minds. “The conversations might not happen with people in the position of power, but they can happen through a movie, they can happen through a song, they can happen through an album, they can happen through a speech on TV,” she tells RS. “Most of them will probably turn off their TVs, but…”
Read our piece on the duality of Janelle Monae here.
Dirty Computer is out 4/27 via Bad Boy Records. Pre-order it here.