Singer Janelle Monae is one character whose whole persona is shrouded in intrigue. From her sound to her dress sense and even her sexuality, everything about her appears simply non-conformist. Stereotypes simply don’t work for her, with her active imagination and ever-evolving creative nous, Janelle has successfully created an alter ego that has kept her fan base enchanted to her style and engrossed in her sci-fi twist.
Janelle Monáe was born on December 1, 1985, in Kansas City, Kansas to a janitor mom and a father who worked as a garbage truck driver but struggled with drug addiction throughout her childhood.
The struggles of the working-class community of Quindaro where she was raised has become an inspiration for her, the depravity, crime, and poverty prevalent in the area have become a motivation for Janelle.
As a young girl, it was easy to spot Monáe’s as a highly artistic and intelligent child. Janelle was an outstanding singer and performer at the local Baptist church, her impressive writing skills prompted her to join the Kansas City’s Coterie Theater Young Playwrights’ Round Table where she wrote full-length plays and musicals.
Janelle Monae attended the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy, New York, on a scholarship to study Musical Theater but her adventure at the Academy did not last long as she dropped out because she was feeling creatively stifled, she wanted more space to explore her creative ideas beyond the confines of a classroom.
Music and Style
In 2001, she left New York for Atlanta where she worked for an office depot to earn a living, squatting in a cramped boarding house while she self-produced a demo CD entitled Janelle Monáe: The Audition.
While touring to promote her music, she alongside Chuck Lightning and Nate Wonder founded the label Wondaland Arts Society. At the age of 20, in 2005, she was spotted by Big Boi (member of the hip-hop duo Outkast) while she performed Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song” at an open mic night.
Impressed by her performance, OutKast, featured Monáe on two tracks, Time Will Reveal and Lettin’ and later Call the Law and In Your Dreams, from the album Idlewild. Word of her creative talent reached the famous P. Diddy (Sean “Puffy” Combs), who signed Monáe to his Bad Boy Records label and released and promoted her EP.
Janelle Monáe dropped her much-anticipated debut full-length album, The ArchAndroid on May 18, 2010. She unleashed all of her childhood fantasies in the album, recreating her alter-ego, Cindi Mayweather – a robot living in the year 2719. Cindy is a messianic figure for the Android community who is on the run after breaking the law by falling in love with a human.
The album had popular singles such as Cold War, Tightrope and Come Alive. The album peaked at No. 17 on the Billboard U.S. album chart and earned Janelle a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album.
Her second album, The Electric Lady, released in 2013 featured appearances by established names such as Miguel, Solange, Prince and Erykah Badu. The album also continued with the tales of Cindi Mayweather and her adventures as this imaginary sci-fi character. The album rose to No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200.
On April 27, 2018, Janelle released her third full album Dirty Computer, prior to that she had released two new singles, Make Me Feel and Django Jane. The album peaked at number six on the US Billboard 200.
Asides music, Janelle Monae has explored acting and impressed with her performances in Rio 2 where she starred as Dr. Monae (voice) and in the 2016 Moonlight where she played Teresa. She also appeared in Hidden Figures as Mary Jackson.
Janelle’s fashion sense is very interesting, she is almost always seen dressed in a black and white tuxedo at all her stage performances and outings. She wears this outfit in solidarity with her parents who also wore uniforms to work as a janitor and a driver.
Is Janelle Monae Gay or Lesbian?
Janelle Monae’s sexual orientation had always been a source of intrigue until her interview in 2018, with Rolling Stone, where she said she considers herself as someone who has been in relationships with both men and women, thus herself as identifying as pansexual which means that she is attracted to people of all genders or sexes.
Does She Have A Husband, Boyfriend?
Janelle had once said in a 2011 interview with London Evening Standard, that she “only dates androids”, a species in line with her alter ego, Cindy Mayweather. Though she has come out to say she sees herself attracted to both sexes, Janelle has kept a tight lid on the people she has been romantically involved with. A name floated around as her significant other is actress Tessa Thompson. There is no official confirmation of a relationship between both parties