Janelle Monáe has made a glorious statement of LGBT visibility at the BET Awards.
There was a time when the “Make Me Feel” singer shied away from bringing up her sexuality – in fact, she only came out as queer two months ago.
But on June 25, Monáe marked Pride Month in the best way possible – that is, by proudly wearing a huge rainbow to a major event.
The 32-year-old, who also starred in 2016 Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures, swept into the BET Awards in Los Angeles sporting an incredible floor-length display of queer pride.
Her dress was a rainbow, and it was beautiful.
But let’s be clear: Monáe has been providing fans with wonderful displays of LGBT advocacy all year long.
In February, she released a bisexual anthem in the shape of “Make Me Feel” and a feminist track, “Django Jane,” in which she boasts that she “made a fandroid outta yo girlfriend.”
She then made lesbian sex front and centre in “PYNK,” a video which features women touching tongues and Monáe dressed in pussy pants, which Thor: Ragnarok actress and close friend Tessa Thompson emerges from with a wide grin.
In “PYNK,” the two stars gaze at each other seductively over a series of women’s bums, after the singer accepted Thompson’s seductive offering of a lollipop in “Make Me Feel.”
Monáe then came out in April, telling the world: “Being a queer black woman in America, someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherf**ker.”
The singer-songwriter explained that she had identified as bisexual at first, “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.”
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After her debut album The ArchAndroid was released in 2010, 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.”
She said that at that time, she was insecure about herself.
“It had to do with the fear of being judged,” she explained.
“All I saw was that I was supposed to look a certain way coming into this industry, and I felt like I [didn’t] look like a stereotypical black female artist.”
She also revealed 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.
The singer added that her new album Dirty Computer – which drops on April 27 – was dedicated to LGBT people.
“I want young girls, young boys, nonbinary, gay, straight, queer people who are having a hard time dealing with their sexuality, dealing with feeling ostracised or bullied for just being their unique selves, to know that I see you,” she said.
“This album is for you. Be proud.”