Janelle Monáe has said that people should not feel “pressure” to come out if they’re not ready to do so.
The singer and actor has been speaking publicly about her identity for several years, clarifying in 2018 that she is a “queer Black woman” who “has been in relationships with both men and women.”
Janelle Monáe wants to tell Black queer stories
She also made a splash during an acclaimed performance at the Oscars earlier this year, in which she gave shout-outs to Black History Month and made clear: “I’m so proud to stand here as a Black queer artist telling stories.”
In a cover interview with Out magazine published Monday (November 16), Monáe explained of her Oscars moment: “[There are] so many people who have graced stages, who are out protesting and who are fighting to have their voices heard. I just happened to have a mic.
“To get on that stage and do anything other than that, would not have felt right to my spirit.”
Monáe added: “My hope is that we can continue to showcase the spectrum of storytelling around Black voices and around Black human beings, stories that humanize us.
“We can go beyond trauma, showing how powerful we are as Black people to persevere through trauma. I’m ready to see us in the past, the present, the future truly experiencing joy on screen and what it means to just exist.”
Artist says she felt ‘pressure’ to talk about sexuality
Elsewhere in the interview, Monáe explained that she chooses not to talk about her relationships in public. Of her decision to come out, she said: “I knew because of my art, I would have to talk about these things. So that put more pressure on me.
“The most important thing was me having conversations with my family. It was important that my family be reintroduced, not to the little girl they grew up knowing that they called ‘pumpkin’ or they knew was into this or into that, but they knew who I was today — that they knew that I was a free-ass motherf**ker.”
Monae added: “[Something] I identify with more than ever is the concept of coming in — and people coming into your life — and not coming out. I think there’s so much pressure put on people that can’t afford to announce to the world that, ‘I am queer’ or ‘I’m gay.’
“[I hope people can] talk about their sexuality and being queer, being gay, or being who they are, they can talk about it, not out of fear, but out of love and celebration for who they are.
“If people look at me as that beacon of hope, that’s great, but I always tell people don’t feel any pressure to be me. Take your time.”