Janelle Monáe released a queer anthem in 2013 and almost no-one noticed
Janelle Monáe has revealed that she released a queer anthem five years ago.
While she was coming out as “a queer black woman” on April 26, the singer pointed to the clues she had left in her music.
The 32-year-old told Rolling Stone that the original title of her hit 2013 song “Q.U.E.E.N.” was “Q.U.E.E.R.” – and that you can still hear “queer” being sung in the background.
After her debut album The ArchAndroid was released, she refuted questions about her sexuality, saying: “The lesbian community has tried to claim me, but I only date androids.
“Nothing like an android, they don’t cheat on you.”
But, she revealed this week, she has spoken about her sexuality with her songs throughout her career. “If you listen to my albums, it’s there,” she said.
The lyrics to “Q.U.E.E.N.” certainly contain plenty of hints, with lines like: “Hey brother can you save my soul from the devil? / Say is it weird to like the way she wear her tights?
She continues: “Am I a freak because I love watching Mary? / Hey sister am I good enough for your heaven?”
Fans were thrilled with the news, with many glad to be proved right after years of confusion and doubt.
One said: “Janelle Monáe FINALLY confirming that the backing vocals on Q.U.E.E.N. were saying ‘queer’ is all the vindication I need today.”
Another wrote that the star “VERY audibly says ‘Queer’ after the 1st verse right before the others say ‘Queen.’ Like its right there. Very loud y’all. Right into the mic .”
One fan tweeted: “i’m glad janelle confirmed that q.u.e.e.n. was originally called q.u.e.e.r. because for years i thought i was imagining things.”
And another replied: “it feels so vindicating because for years, I was convinced she was singing about being queer.”
In an emotive post, one person wrote: “I remember listening to Q.U.E.E.N and hearing ‘queer’ in the background vocals.
“I’d point it out, but folks always had a reason to deny what they heard. I even started to! Janelle’s music told us she was fam, but heteronormativity will have us doubt & erase our own. Not today! ✨”
Some were shook by the news, as they realised that part of themselves was trying to communicate an important message through a love of the song.
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One fan wrote: “the original title of Q.U.E.E.N. by janelle monae was Q.U.E.E.R. …. i am SOBBING that was my absolute favourite song during the period in my life where i was first genuinely considering that i might not be 100% straight???”
Another tweeted: “That hoarse, howling sound you hear is me SCREAMING about Janelle Monae in general and ‘Q.U.E.E.N.’ specifically.
“This feels kinda silly to write out, but me learning and then identifying with the lyrics to that song was an essential piece of the puzzle that was understanding that I wasn’t straight?
“Like yeah. IS it weird to like the way she wear her tights?”
It is definitively not weird.
Watch the video for Q.U.E.E.N. below: