In a recent interview on Jada Pinkett Smith’s “Red Table Talk,” singer Janelle Monae let the world know how she identifies and why she feels this is the perfect time to share her truth.
In a Wednesday episode of “Red Table Talk,” singer Janelle Monae came out, confirming that she is nonbinary — gender identities that are neither male nor female, existing outside the gender binary.
“I’m nonbinary, so I just don’t see myself as a woman, solely,” Monáe said during the interview “I feel all of my energy. I feel like God is so much bigger than the ‘he’ or the ‘she.’ If I am from God, I am everything.”
Though Janelle doesn’t fully identify as a woman she clarified she will always be in support of women. “I am everything, but I will always, always stand with women. I will always stand with Black women. But I just see everything beyond the binary.”
When asked by “Red Table Talk” co-host of Willow Smith what made the singer feel ready to come out publicly, she explained that she had to work things out for herself before sharing who she was with the world.
“I thought I needed to have all my answers correct,” she said. “I don’t want to say the wrong thing. And also I hadn’t had the necessary conversations with my family. I wasn’t ready to have my family question my personal life or get calls from people that still look at me as a little pumpkin.”
Janelle expressed how heavily religious her family was and how she was afraid of what they’d think.
“My whole family is church, church, church. And I’m just like, well, what does it mean to go against your whole family on this thing?” she said. “But I was ready. I was like, you know what, if they don’t love me, don’t call me asking me for no money. You will not get my LGBTQIA+ money.”
“A lot of healing” and introspection was necessary, especially during the recent global lockdown for the singer to get to that place. The “I Like That” singer also said she endured feelings of rejection, because as a young girl she didn’t have long hair like her friends, and she never felt good enough. There was healing from the fear of abandonment from when she was younger and her father dealing with substance abuse. He’s now sober, however, “at that time, I was dealing with real rejection, abandonment issues.”
“If I wasn’t perfect, will they leave me?” she asked.
Jada Pinkett Smith said she had to move past what people will think to become her true self.
“Moving past that fear required people to understand that when they are their authentic selves, they might lose people. But over time, they will find their true community.”
Monáe agreed and compared self-discovery to a play.
“There are going to be recurring characters,” she said. “There are going to be folks that won’t make it back for the second act, and we have to just be fine with letting go. You go to different levels in your life. Everybody can’t come.”
Though she didn’t initially clarify during the “Red Table Talk” interview whether she will use different pronouns, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times published Thursday, she said her pronouns include they/them and she/her.
Janelle’s Sexual Orientation
In 2018, before the release of her album “Dirty Computer,” the singer came out as pansexual—attraction regardless to people regardless of sex or gender.
Monae said she initially identified as bisexual, “but then later I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.’ I’m open to learning more about who I am.”
During the interview, she said when she sees people, she saw their energy.
“I don’t see how you identify,” she said. “And I feel like that opens you up to fall in love with whoever, with any beautiful spirit.”
This marked the first time Monáe officially confirmed that she is nonbinary. In January 2020, she tweeted the hashtag “#IAmNonbinary.” However, her fans took it as her coming out. A month later, she clarified in an interview with author Roxane Gay that she was tweeting support for Nonbinary Day “and to bring more awareness to the community.”
“I retweeted the ‘Steven Universe’ meme ‘Are you a boy or a girl? I’m an experience’ because it resonated with me, especially as someone who has pushed boundaries of gender since the beginning of my career,” Monáe said to the writer. “I feel my feminine energy, my masculine energy and energy I can’t even explain.”
Pushing for Large Voter Turnout
Janelle Monáe is always using her voice to provide representation and knowledge to the culture. She reminded the nation of the presidential election and pushed for a strong voter turnout in her “Turntables” music video back in 2020. The visual is from the Stacey Abrams-supported All In: The Fight For Democracy film streamed on Amazon Prime.