“I want young girls, young boys, non-binary, 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,” Janelle said. “This album is for you. Be proud.”
Welcome to March’s Gaydar Feature of the Month! Today, let us learn about the iconic and multitalented Janelle Monae!
Janelle Monae is a charming 36-year-old woman from Kansas, America. Born on December 1st 1985, Monae was raised Baptist and grew up singing in her local church. She came from a family of musicians and performers who regularly sang at the local AME church, the Baptist church, and the Church of God in Christ.
Since the young age of 10, Monae has been working in the entertainment industry. She began pursuing her dreams to be a singer by performing at Juneteeth (A holiday commemorating the emancipation of African American slaves) talent shows. Her talent was evident from a young age as she won three years in a row!
With the support of her family members, she enrolled in the Coterie Theater’s Young Playwrights’ Round Table where she started to write musicals. After high school, she moved to New York City to study musical theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, where she was the only black woman in her class. However, Monae dropped out of the academy after a year and a half, and relocated to Atlanta, enrolling in Perimeter College at Georgia State University. She began writing her own music and performing around the campus.
In 2010, Monae released her first full-length studio album “The Arch Android”. Subsequently in March 2012, Monae featured as a guest vocalist on the song “We Are Young” by Fun. The hit song reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, marking Monae’s first appearance in the US Top 10. This song propelled Monae into the spotlight, where more people were able to get to know her as an artist.
To date, Monae’s music has garnered her six Grammy Award nominations.
We stan a multi-talented artist and Monae is definitely checks all the boxes! Apart from pursuing a career in music, Monae is also an actress. She has acted in films such as Moonlight (2016), Hidden Figures (2016), Lady and the Tramp (2019) and Harriet (2019). She has also played the lead role in a 2020 horror movie, Antebellum.
Monae has said she identifies as both bisexuality and pansexuality. On January 10, 2020, she tweeted the hashtag #IAmNonbinary, which went viral on Twitter. Monae was quoted in an interview with The Cut a month after the tweet saying, “I tweeted the #IAmNonbinary hashtag in support of Nonbinary Day and to bring more awareness to the community. I retweeted the Steven Universe meme ‘Are you a boy or a girl? I’m an experience’ because it resonated with me, especially as someone who has pushed boundaries of gender since the beginning of my career. I feel my feminine energy, my masculine energy, and energy I can’t even explain.”
She explained how she viewed her sexuality, saying “being a queer black woman in America… [as] someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free person”.
Though Monae had previously alluded to being bisexual, she felt that the term “pansexual” (being open to sexual attraction towards all members of all sexes and genders) was a more appropriate term to describe her sexuality.
Themes of sexual fluidity featured strongly throughout her third studio album “Dirty Computer”. Monae hopes her music would give her listeners the freedom to be themselves. “I want young girls, young boys, non-binary, 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.”
We hope you support Janelle Monae’s future works, albums, songs and experiences. She is truly a beautiful role model and inspiration for us in the LGBTQ community!