Janelle Monáe. (Getty)
Janelle Monáe is to be honoured as a trailblazer at the Outfest Legacy Awards for their consistent support of the LGBTQ+ community, Variety has reported.
The singer, rapper and actress has been out and proud since 2018 after a powerful interview with Rolling Stone where they spoke about their sexuality.
In the interview Janelle said: “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-a** motherf**ker.”
Initially identifying as bisexual, they added: “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 also spoke about the queer themes in her music, such as their songs “Mushroom & Roses” and “Q.U.E.E.N” which both talk about their love for a woman named Mary.
‘I just don’t see myself as a woman, solely’
More recently, in an interview on Jada and Willow Smith’s Red Table Talk, they came out as non-binary.
“I’m non-binary so I just don’t see myself as a woman, solely, I feel all of my energy. I feel like God is so much bigger than the ‘he’ or the ‘she’,” Janelle Monáe said.
“And if I am from God, I am everything. I am everything. But I will always, always stand with women. I will always stand with Black women. But I just see everything that I am. Beyond the binary.”
In the same chat they opened up about confronting their religious family with their queerness, saying: “I’m just like, ‘Well. what does it mean to go against your whole family on this thing?’ But I was ready,
“I was like, ‘You know what, if they don’t love me, don’t call me asking for no money’ – you will not get my LGBTQIA+ money.”
Around this time they shared their debut story collection The Memory Librarian which, among other things, discusses LGBTQ+ themes.
They spoke about their concerns around book censorship in the USA on the LGBTQ&A podcast. The first sex scene in their book is shared between two women, and includes trans representation.
“I’m always trying to represent the people that I think are just beautiful and need highlighting. This love story is just about love.”
‘Making art on our own terms’
To add to their list of epic moments, Janelle Monáe also called out the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade, which protected abortion rights, during their 2022 BET Award acceptance speech.
“I’d like to give a special, special shoutout to Black women, to Black queer artists, to Black non-binary artists.
“These artists making art on our own terms, owning our truths and expressing ourselves freely and unapologetically in a world that tries to control and police our bodies, my body, and our decisions, my decision,” they said.
Janelle Monáe has featured in some of the most groundbreaking films in the past decade centred around black and queer representation including the Oscar-winning Moonlight and the brilliant Hidden Figures.
The “I Like That” singer will be next seen in the upcoming film Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.