Apr 12, 2019

Janelle Monáe Opens Up About Her Journey with Them

Janelle Monae just keeps shining and staying true along the way. Since The Arch Android I've been hooked and to watch her journey is quite extraordinary. This time she is a covergirl for Them. Them, a next-generation community platform, chronicles and celebrates the stories, people and voices that are emerging and inspiring all of us, ranging in topics from pop culture and style to politics and news, all through the lens of today’s LGBTQ community.

Last year, the 8-time Grammy nominee publicly addressed her sexual orientation for the first time, identifying as "a queer black woman in America" in an interview with Rolling Stone.

"It's been a journey. For me, sexuality and sexual identity and fluidity is a journey. It's not a destination," she told Lizzo in an interview for Them. "I've discovered so much about myself over the years as I've evolved and grown and spent time with myself and loved ones. That's the exciting thingalways finding out new things about who you are. And that's what I love about life. It takes us on journeys that not even we ourselves sometimes are prepared for. You just adapt to where you are and how you've evolved as a free thinking person."

"The bottom line is I had to have conversations with myself and the folks that love and care about me, and realize they may not understand what it means for me to be a person who identifies as queer in this world. I'll also add that it wasn't like I wanted to even make it a declaration. I knew that by being truthful through my art, people were gonna have questions, and I had to figure out a way to talk about it."
The star continued, "In having those talks with myself, I realized it was bigger than just me. There are millions of other folks who are looking for a community. And I just learned into that. I leaned into the idea that if my own church won't accept me, I'm gonna create my own church."

Janelle is as an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community with her own journey towards personal enlightenment and fulfillment of purpose. It has come with an understanding of the paradox of visibility, and a reckoning with the fears and challenges that queer people, specifically queer people of color, face when living authentically. In taking center stage to speak out and perform against aggressive oppression, Monáe’s voice and vision for humanity help to define what it means to advance emancipation for all. Keep shining queen.

Photographer: Justin French

Stylist: Solange Franklin

Hair Stylist: Nikki Nelms

Makeup Artist: Jessica Smalles

Set Designer: Kate Stein

Manicurist: Anjaneth Aguirre

Video: Julia Pitch


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