REUTERS

Janelle Mone Opens Up About 'Being a Queer Black Woman in America'

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Janelle Mone came out as pansexual and she’s owning her identity.


“Being a queer black woman in America,” Mone, 32, said, “someone who has been in relationships with both men and women I consider myself to be a free-ass motherf***er.”

The singer, songwriter and actress shared that she is exploring who she is. She at first believed she was bisexual, until she learned about pansexuality, “and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too,'” she explained. “I’m open to learning more about who I am.”

How is pansexuality different from bisexuality GLAAD explains, in short, “While being bisexual means being attracted to more than one gender, being pansexual means being attracted to all gender identities, or attracted to people regardless of gender.” A person who is bisexual can be attracted to males or females. Someone who identifies as pansexual can be attracted to people of any gender, including non-binary genders.

She was not always so sure of herself, though. Early on in her career she had insecurities about living up to expectations.

“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 recalled.

However, fans shouldn’t be surprised at her coming out, she said: “If you listen to my albums, it’s there.” She pointed out two of her songs, “Mushrooms & Roses” and “Q.U.E.E.N.,” as examples, both of which refer affectionately to a woman named Mary. She also explained that “Q.U.E.E.N.”‘s original title was “Q.U.E.E.R.”; you can still hear “queer” in the background of the song.

In one verse she sings:

Hey brother can you save my soul from the devil / Say is it weird to like the way she wear her tights / And is it rude to wear my shades / Am I a freak because I love watching Mary (Maybe) / Hey sister am I good enough for your heaven / Say will your God accept me in my black and white / Will he approve the way I’m made / Or should I reprogram, deprogram and get down

Her latest album, “Dirty Computers,” was released today, and she hopes that young people of all gender and sexual identities can take something away from it.

“I want young girls, young boys, nonbinary, gay, straight, queer people who are having a hard time dealing with their sexuality, dealing with feeling ostracized or bullied for just being their unique selves, to know that I see you,” Mone said. “This album is for you. Be proud.”

Much of the album was inspired by her own not-so positive experiences.

“A lot of this album is a reaction to the sting of what it means to hear people in my family say, ‘All gay people are going to hell.'”

Mone was born into a large, devout Baptist family in Kansas City. While she did not necessarily sit her family members down and have a formal “coming out” to all of them, her music and videos are telling.

“I literally do not have time to hold a town-hall meeting with my big-ass family and be like, ‘Hey, news flash!'” she joked.

Today, she does not quite identify with her family’s Baptist values, saying, “I serve the God of love.”

Latest News

Syracuse University campus

News Roundup: TV Diversity, Syracuse Hire, and Segregated Training

Check out our news roundup of diversity and inclusion updates and insights from across the U.S.: Syracuse University Creates Athletics Diversity Position  While most colleges and universities around the county are making COVID-19-related cuts in regard to their athletic departments, Syracuse University has hired Salatha T. Willis as the associate athletic…

What Friends Tell Friends: Choose Kaiser Permanente

Originally published on about.kaiserpermanente.org. Integrated, nonprofit health plan tops NICE Satmetrix customer experience benchmark study for 10th straight year. For the 10th year in a row, more people would recommend Kaiser Permanente to a friend or colleague than any other health plan in the nation, according to the recently released…

Cesar Conde

NBCUniversal Sets Ambitious 50% Diversity Goal for Women, People of Color

Cesar Conde, chairman at NBCUniversal News Group, announced a groundbreaking goal to have a 50% diverse workforce at NBCUniversal, according to Deadline. Conde, the first Latino in this role, outlined his plans in an internal video for employees on Wednesday. The ultimate goal is for NBCUniversal, No. 7 on DiversityInc’s 2020…

Mastercard Expands ShopOpenings.com to the U.S. & Canada, Delivering a Search Tool That Identifies What Stores Near You Are Open for Business

Originally published on mastercardcontentexchange.com. Search solution complements new Digital Acceleration for Small Business global initiative which helps small businesses advance digitally and drive online commerce As businesses seek to draw customers back both in store and online, Mastercard is introducing new tools to support them. Today, Mastercard announced the geographic…

TIAA Launches Programs to Raise Awareness of Racial Injustice and Support Communities in Need through the “Be The Change” Initiative

On June 30, TIAA announced new virtual programs designed to raise awareness of racial injustice and support communities in need as a part of the company’s recently launched “Be the Change” initiative. One is TIAA’s “Race Against Racism,” an effort in support of The Innocence Project which included more than…

Stop TB Partnership and Johnson & Johnson, with support from USAID and The Global Fund, Announce Price Reduction for SIRTURO® (bedaquiline) for Treatment of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Originally published on jnj.com. Joint efforts aim to accelerate scale-up of WHO-recommended all-oral treatment regimens – a transition urgently needed to help protect the health of people with drug resistant-tuberculosis who are particularly vulnerable during COVID-19 pandemic In 2020, the initiative aims to reach at least 125,000 patients and could…

Toyota, Alabama A&M and Huntsville Hospital Collaborate to Make COVID-19 Testing Easier

Originally published on pressroom.toyota.com. $100,000 grant provides free service to the community Alabama A & M University (AAMU), Huntsville Hospital and Toyota are developing a mobile health clinic initiative to provide free COVID-19 testing to underserved communities in Madison County. Launching later this year, the mobile medical clinic program has…