In a new interview with Rolling Stone published today, Janelle Monáe finally addressed ongoing questions about her sexuality, revealing she has had relationships with both men and women. She said she used to identify as bisexual, but she identifies more with pansexuality nowadays. “I'm open to learning more about who I am,” Monáe said. “I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker.”
A post shared by Rolling Stone (@rollingstone) on Apr 26, 2018 at 5:00am PDT
Monáe declined to speak about her personal dating life, again sidestepping questions about her rumored relationship with Tessa Thompson.
Monáe had previously dodged questions about her sexuality, often defaulting back to her former public android persona Cindi Mayweather and saying she “only dates androids.” Monáe admits now that she was “insecure about living up to the impossible showbiz ideals,” and the android persona as well as “the androgynous outfits” that became her trademark “served in part as protective armor.”
"It had to do with the fear of being judged," she said. "All I saw was that I was supposed to look a certain way coming into this industry, and I felt like I [didn't] look like a stereotypical black female artist."
She had dropped hints regarding her sexuality in previous albums, particularly in the songs "Mushrooms & Roses" and "Q.U.E.E.N.," which was originally titled “Q.U.E.E.R.” Her newest album, though, Dirty Computer, is Monáe’s first in her “real” persona.
"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."
Dirty Computer will include appearances by Zoë Kravitz, Grimes, and Pharrell Williams. It will include an accompanying “emotion picture” starring Tessa Thompson. One of Monáe’s mentors, Prince, had a hand in the album before his death in April 2016.
Monáe spelled off rumors that Prince co-wrote “Make Me Feel,” but she did open up about finishing the project without him.
"It was very difficult writing this album without him,” she said. "As we were writing songs, I was like, ‘What would Prince think?' And I could not call him. It's a difficult thing to lose your mentor in the middle of a journey they had been a part of."
Dirty Computer drops tomorrow, on Friday, April 27.