Metro Weekly

5 Things To Know About Janelle Monáe

Learn more about Janelle Monáe and then listen to her new album The Age of Pleasure.

Janelle Monáe (
Janelle Monáe (

Janelle Monáe is an extraordinary artist who has garnered immense admiration and a dedicated fan base as both a beloved singer-songwriter and a talented actor, which is hard to do. They got their start in music, but it didn’t take long before they were also appearing in major films and earning praise for anything and everything they did.

Now, Monáe’s new album The Age of Pleasure is out, and fans are thrilled, as they waited five years for new music from the rising superstar. The set masterfully fuses the genres of Afrobeat, reggae, and soul, and based on the singles released ahead of the full album drop, “Float” and “Lipstick Lover,” this is one very sexy affair. 

For those who may have heard one or two songs or maybe seen Monáe in a movie but who don’t know much about them, read on below.

They Learned Their Love Of Music In The Church

Raised in a Baptist family, Monáe’s musical journey began at a young age within the welcoming walls of the local church. It was there that the would-be star honed their singing skills, surrounded by family members who were musicians and performers. This all took place outside of Kansas City, Kansas, where they were born and raised. Those early performances gave Monáe the acting and singing bug, which they then pursued throughout her school years, dabbling in both art forms.

They Identifiy As Nonbinary

For years many speculated about Monáe’s sexuality, and they did speak about it, but they didn’t provide any real, clear understanding of how they identified for nearly a decade in the spotlight. Early on, Monáe played around with the question, at one point saying they only dated “androids,” which was in reference to the music they put out at around that time. Later, they hinted at being nonbinary on Twitter, but again, they didn’t fully confirm or deny when asked.

In April 2022, Monáe chose to publicly reveal their nonbinary identity while on an episode of the talk show Red Table Talk. The Grammy nominee commented, “I’m nonbinary, so I just don’t see myself as a woman, solely … I feel like god is so much bigger than the ‘he’ or the ‘she.’ And if I am from God, I am everything.”

They’ve Been Nominated For Many Grammys, But Never Won

Throughout the years that Monáe has been a respected and popular musician, they have earned an impressive eight Grammy nominations, but they have yet to take home a golden gramophone. Monáe has appeared in some of the biggest categories at the show, including a nod for Record of the Year (for “We Are Young” with fun.) and twice in the Album of the Year field, for both fun.’s Some Nights (as a featured artist) and their own Dirty Computer. Frustratingly, fun. was awarded Song of the Year for “Some Nights,” but since that only goes to the songwriters and Monáe only performed on the tune, they didn’t take home a prize.

They Share An Emmy With The Obamas

While they are certainly best known for her work in music and film, perhaps the biggest award Monáe has won in their career thus far is an Emmy. They were a recipient of one of the first Children’s and Family Emmy Awards, which were introduced in 2022. Monáe was listed as one of the writers of show called We The People, which was awarded Outstanding Short Form Program. They earned the trophy alongside producers Barack and Michelle Obama and fellow writers like H.E.R., Andra Day, Brandi Carlile, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others.

They May Be Better Known As A Movie Star

Monáe got their start in music, and it is clearly something they love dearly, but at this point, they may be even better known for their work in the movies than her singles and albums. While they’ve charted a handful of successful albums, most of their work is somewhat obscure, so they don’t have a discography filled with hits. Instead, they’ve often considered a more artistic musician, and critics and their fans love them for it.

They kickstarted an acting career by appearing in the movie Moonlight, which went on to win the Best Picture Oscar. That same year, Monáe was also a star of Hidden Figures, which was likewise an Oscar nominee. After that landmark year, they went on to act in films like Harriet, Antebellum, and, most recently and perhaps most importantly, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

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