Janelle Monáe Discusses Coming Out as Non-Binary to Their Family: “I Couldn’t Be Little Janelle”

The singer first addressed their identity back in 2020

janelle monae non-binary red table talk season premiere watch

Janelle Monáe stopped by Red Table Talk for the show’s Season 5 premiere and opened up about their journey of coming out as non-binary to their family.

“I’m non-binary, so I just don’t see myself as a woman solely,” the singer told hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris. “I feel all of my energy. I feel like God is so much bigger than the ‘he’ or the ‘she.’ And if I am from God, I am everything… I will always stand with Black women. But I just see everything that I am, beyond the binary.”

The eight-time Grammy nominee first drew attention to their identity back in 2020 when they used the hashtag #IAmNonbinary alongside a meme promoting gender fluidity on Twitter, but explained during the sitdown that they hadn’t yet started the process of getting vulnerable with the people closest to them.

“I hadn’t had the necessary conversations with my family,” Monáe confessed. “I wasn’t ready to have my family question my personal life or get calls from people who still look at me as Little Pumpkin — that’s what they call me back home… I needed to talk to my dad who was just great. My sister knew already because I’ve been in monogamous relationships, I’ve been in polyamorous relationships. But I knew that I couldn’t be Little Pumpkin. I couldn’t be little Janelle.”

Watch Monáe’s full Red Table Talk episode after the jump.

Back in September, the Hidden Figures actor released “Say Her Name (Hell You Talmbout),” enlisting everyone from Beyoncé and Alicia Keys to Zoë Kravitz and MJ Rodriguez for the powerful and star-studded charity benefit single.

Monáe’s 2018 track “Make Me Feel” is also being revitalized as the theme song for the new Big Mouth spinoff Human Resources, and just this week Consequence named the singer one of the 10 best musical guests in Sesame Street history thanks to their 2014 ditty “Power of Yet.”


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