Get ready to learn more about this iconic musician
BY NIC CROSARA, PHOTO VIA DREAMSTIME
Over their two-decade-long career as a musician, Janelle Monáe has been celebrated by their LGBTQIA fanbase. They’ve written and performed songs that have inspired, empowered and influenced us. They’re also an actor, author and pansexual and non-binary icon (and so much more).
So are you ready to learn more about this superstar? Let’s dive in.
Janelle’s song Tightrope went viral
The song was featured on Janelle’s second studio album, The ArchAndroid. Both the song and it’s Black joy filled music video went viral, garnering the star millions of views on YouTube and introducing her magical music to a much wider audience. Here’s what Janelle had to say on the meaning behind the song…
The musician was using music to process their identity before working on Dirty Computer
While Janelle’s groundbreaking album, Dirty Computer, is celebrated of being an unapologetic celebration of queerness, the iconic musician was using music to process their identity long before coming out publicly. Q.U.E.E.N., a song from their The Electric Lady album was going to be called Queer. “If you listen to the background vocals, I say ‘queer’. It’s so there. But I wasn’t ready,” Janelle said in our October/November cover story.
They haven’t always been as unapologetically authentic as they are now
Appearing on The Red Table Talk last year, Janelle was asked “Were you you always this unapologetic about yourself?” To which they replied: “No absolutely not. I’ve had to do a lot of healing.”
They went on to reflect that, like many, they looked inward during the pandemic. Janelle thought back to the beginning of their career. “As free as I was on stage, when I came off stage I was this scared little girl.” The star opened up about insecurities they had from their hair, to seeking validation from others and struggles with rejection and abandonment that stem from childhood.
“It can be a lonely road. The moments when I felt most disappointed was when I was afraid. Because I was afraid of failing.” Janelle says and then gives a powerful analogy when addressing their fear of people leaving. “It’s like a play. There are going to be recurring characters. Folks that don’t make it back for the second act. And we just have to be fine with letting go.”
Janelle is well aware of how thirsty they make people
To celebrate the release of their The Age Of Pleasure album, they appeared on Buzzfeed Celeb’s series where celebrities read out Thirst Tweets.
They are outspoken about the fight for trans rights
Janelle has always been outspoken about LGBTQIA rights, but since coming out as non-binary they have become even more vocal, especially in the current climate where transphobia is so alarmingly on the rise.
Janelle and Prince had a close friendship
While there is an abundance of musicians who credit Prince as being an inspiration to them, very few can actually call him a friend. Janelle was lucky enough to be championed by Prince, who helped guide their creative process. He was the first preson to receive a copy of Janelle’s debut studio album.
It’s “inconclusive” whether they like sharing the spotlight
While promoting Netflix’s Glass Onion, Janelle and her co-star Kate Hudson appeared on Vanity Fair’s popular YouTube series where celebs get hooked up to a lie detector test while asked questions. When Kate asked Janelle whether they liked sharing the spotlight, the results came back as inconclusive.
They were upset to not land the lead in a high school production of The Wiz
Janelle’s talent was evident from a young age. However, while they landed many of the leading roles for their high school’s musicals, they lost out on on major part – Dorothy in The Wiz – because family duty called, their mum needed to be picked up from work, which meant that the aspiring actor had to leave the audition early. A fellow classmate got the part and in an interview with Rolling Stone, Janelle confessed that it was something that still bothers them.
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