"Being a queer black woman in America," she says, taking a breath as she comes out, "someone who has been in relationships with both men and women – I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker."
She initially identified as bisexual, she clarifies, "but then later I read about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.' I'm open to learning more about who I am."
In the interview, she confirmed that while she always avoided questions about her sexuality (saying "I only date androids"), she's been dropping hints about her sexuality in her music for years. "If you listen to my albums, it's there," she says. She cites "Mushrooms & Roses" and "Q.U.E.E.N.," two songs that reference a character named Mary as an object of affection.
Though the 32-year-old star (who is set to release her next album Dirty Computer tomorrow) didn't speak of her dating life (or discuss the rumors about her alleged relationship with Tessa Thompson), she did have a powerful message to say to all of us.
"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," she says in a tone befitting the commander patch on her arm. "This album is for you. Be proud."
For more on her coming out and next album, head over to Rolling Stone. Congratulations, Janelle.