Janelle Monáe announced on the April 20 episode of “Red Table Talk” that she is non-binary (via NBC News). The Grammy nominee previously came out as pansexual in a 2018 Rolling Stone cover story. Monáe said at the time that she originally identified as bisexual but “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.” Pansexuality is an attraction to people regardless of their gender or sex.
“I’m nonbinary, so I just don’t see myself as a woman, solely,” Monáe said on “Red Table Talk. “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. 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 Willow Smith about speaking her truth, Monáe answered, “Somebody said, ‘If you don’t work out the things that you need to work out first before you share with the world, then you’ll be working it out with the world.’ That’s what I didn’t want to do. So I thought I needed to have all my answers correct, I don’t want to say the wrong thing.”
Monáe added that she sees the energy of people over their gender or sex. “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.”
A representative for Monáe confirmed to Rolling Stone that the artist still uses she/her pronouns.
Monáe first brought attention to being non-binary when she tweeted out in 2020 a “Steven Universe” meme that read, “I’m not a woman, I’m not a man, I’m an experience.” The artist told Variety in an interview, “I said, ‘Fuck yes! That’s me…’ I’m exploring, you know? I’m so open to what the universe is teaching me, and teaching all of us about gender. I definitely don’t live my life in a binary way. I’ve always pushed, as you can see from the way that I dress to the things that I’ve said since the beginning of my career. I have fought against gender norms and what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man.”
Monáe also spoke to Variety about living life with a non-binary perspective. During a January 2020 interview in support of her performance in Amazon’s “Homecoming” Season 2, the artist said, “I’ve always tried to get rid of all of those things — any labels — and work on my journey, wherever that may be. I do feel like I am an experience, I am on self-discovery, and I just want to continue to show love to everyone who continues to live outside of the binary.”
Next up for Monáe is a supporting turn in Rian Johnson’s murder mystery “Knives Out 2,” which is expected to launch in theaters and on Netflix this fall.