After years worth of speculation from fans, R&B icon Janelle Monáe came out as queer in a cover story for Rolling Stone. "Being a queer black woman in America," she said, "Someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker."
READ MOREJanelle Monae Comes Out as Queer in New 'Rolling Stone' Cover Story
But she added that she expressed her true self in her art. "If you listen to my albums, it's there," she said, referencing songs like “Mushrooms & Roses” as an example of her sexual freedom through music. She even revealed that her song “Q.U.E.E.N” was originally titled “Q.U.E.E.R.,” and that the word “queer” can still be heard throughout the song’s backing tracks.
Now, the singer has released her third studio album, Dirty Computer. Monáe spends much of the album breaking down her own alter ego of the android Cindi Mayweather and reveals her truest self underneath. This being the artist’s most sincere and honest album to date, Monáe spends much of the album embracing her womanhood, her blackness, and yes, her queerness.
"When I was writing this album I had to decide who I was comfortable pissing off and who I wanted to celebrate," Monáe also told fans at her Spotify Fans First album release party on April 26. "To my LGBTQ family, I see you," she added.
Below, Billboard Pride takes a closer look at Dirty Computer, and compiles each of the moments in which Monáe embraces her queer identity.