Janelle Monáe Confirms Non-Binary Identity: ‘I Am Everything’
Grammy nominee, actress, and android Janelle Monáe spoke about their nonbinary identity on the most recent episode of Red Table Talk. The Facebook Watch series is cohosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Jada’s mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and is known for having candid emotional moments, especially about topics that deal with intersections within the Black community.
Monáe is currently releasing their book The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, which combines all the Afrofuturism elements of their music, with writings from themself and other prominent speculative fiction authors. While discussing their background with the Smith family, Monáe shared that they identify as nonbinary.
“I’m nonbinary,” Monáe said. “So I don’t see myself as a woman, solely. I feel all of my energy … I feel like God is so much bigger than the ‘he’ or the ‘she,’ and if I am made in God’s image, I am everything.” During the conversation, Willow Smith asks what inspired Monáe to finally come out, first as pansexual, and now as nonbinary.
“If you don’t work out the things that you need to work out first with the world, you’ll be working it out with the world,” Monáe said. “I know who I am. I’ve been playing a version of some parts of me, but now I’m owning all of me.” As someone who has been familiar with Monáe’s work, they have always played with gender expression and expanding the limits of identity, so none of this is a surprise—but it is amazing to have this successful non-binary artist and actress stand up as representation for so many.
It was especially touching later on, when Monáe’s mother came on and talked about the unconditional love she has for her child, even while dealing with the backlash of that at home, because success doesn’t erase homophobia or the pain of not having familial support. More than simply offering representation, Monáe offers a little bit more hope to those out there who feel unseen, and fear being unloved. All while being their truest self.
(via CNN, image: Facebook Watch screenshot/Red Table Talk)
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