Janelle Monáe Admits Not Everyone in Family Has Embraced Her Coming out as Pansexual
Janelle Monae reveals during her most recent magazine cover interview that some of her family members still disapprove of herself identifying as a pansexual.
The 33-year-old singer grew up in a large religious family, and by large, we mean she has 50 cousins. She was raised by her mom, a janitor, and her grandmother, who ran a de facto community center in her home that was filled with kids, ex-convicts, and even recovering addicts.
During her time with them, Monae would be singing in plays and talent shows. For college, she went to New York to study acting and music at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. After two years, she moved to Atlanta and worked for Office Depot while playing in college campuses.
Eventually, he caught Big Boi and Sean "Diddy" Combs' eyes. Her debut, "Metropolis," was launched under Bad Boy label.
A Storyteller in her own right
Known for the way she tells a story in her songs, Janelle ultimately rose to fame. To her, this was the only way how. She did not want to conform to society, instead, wanted to change the system of how people perceived black artists.
“I’ve always wanted to redefine what a cool young black woman looks like in the music industry. I was never interested in fitting into a system that wasn’t built for me or with me in mind. I’m interested in burning that shit down and building something new.”
Overall, Janelle shares that she wants to be a storyteller, rather than just being known as a singer or actress. She is an artist.
For her latest hit single "Make Me Feel," her music video showed her wearing a bikini top and trousers while doing a push-and-pull choreography with a man and woman.
A New Anthem, A New Era
This song became an anthem for bisexuals, and ultimately fueled relationship rumors between her and the girl in the video, actress Tessa Thompson.
When her latest album "Dirty Computer" came out, Janelle was no longer telling her alter-ego Cindi Mayweather's story, but rather, her own. It was like a whole weight was lifted out of her chest, which allowed her to be more open with who she is. That was when she came out as pansexual.
“The majority of [my family] grew up Baptist, and the sermons would all be around how if you are a homosexual or if you’re gay and you don’t repent and live a hetero-normative life and get married, well … hell is your final destination,”
Coming Out to her parents
However, when she couldn't take it anymore, she decided to let her parents know about how she chooses to identify herself.
“I talked to my mom and dad first, and my mom, in particular, had a lot of questions. I said, ‘Mama, the only way that I can create art is to truthfully tell my story. It has to come from an honest place, and this is who I honestly am. I don’t know any other way. I have to talk about my sexuality. I have to talk about my blackness. I have to talk about my womanness. I have to talk about these things. This is who I am as a person.’ ”
While not everyone understands her sexuality, she is not holding grudges. In fact, her mother has been her fiercest protector when people try to slam her for her religion.