Janelle Monáe graces the cover of Out magazine’s Out100 issue, which honors the 100 most influential LGBTQ+ people of the year.
Monáe is the star of this year’s Music issue, which will also feature music artists Lizzo, Alex the Astronaut, Nyssa, Hamed Sinno, Gia Woods, Pablo Alborán and S.G. Goodman on the Out100 list.
“Janelle Monáe’s art does what art should do: reflect the times we’re in,” says Out editor in chief David Artavia. “Janelle weaves the truth inside her music, style, and activism, empowering her millions of fans to find the truth in themselves. Not only is her work in music legendary and as she continues to give stunning performances in film — like her first starring role in this year’s Antebellum — I am looking forward to seeing the vanguard of queer artists she will be leading in the years to come.”
“Watching Monáe on the Academy Awards’ stage wearing Mr. Rogers’ cardigan, singing first his theme song then an amazing rendition of Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’ with Billy Porter during Black History Month, was the year’s best performance — and one of the only things I remember from pre-pandemic 2020,” Diane Anderson-Minshall, Pride Media CEO and editorial director, says. “That she insisted on reminding audiences around the globe that she was a queer Black artist was proof of how far we’ve come, not just in entertainment but also in representation. But Monáe is more than a showstopper, she’s really one of the most critical and empathetic voices coming out of Hollywood these days, using her own time at the pulpit to lift other voices, calling out the work of others who may never have a microphone of their own.”
In the Out100 issue, Monáe addresses the significance of celebrating being a Black queer artist.
“I knew because of my art, I would have to talk about these things,” she says. “So that put more pressure on me. The most important thing was me having conversations with my family. It was important that my family be reintroduced, not to the little girl they grew up knowing that they called ‘pumpkin’ or they knew was into this or into that, but they knew who I was today — that they knew that I was a free-ass motherf—er.”
She also speaks of her latest single, “Turntables”: “We are in the middle of watching tables turn, boomerangs booming back, and the rooster coming home to roost. White supremacy and racism, and those who abuse their power, we’re seeing the people tearing it down. ‘Turntable’ is just adding energy to the movement,” she says, adding, “There’s a lot of fatigue emotionally around protesting, around going online and asking people to vote, or asking people to sign a petition. There’s fatigue that happens, but we’re not giving up.”
See Monáe’s cover below, and find out more about the Out100 at Out.com. The full list will be revealed on Thursday, Nov. 19.