Janelle Monáe Robinson, known professionally as Janelle Monáe, is a singer, songwriter, rapper, actor, and music producer.

Monáe earned her first record deal in 2003, when she was just 18, after self-releasing her own demo pop album, Janelle Monáe: The Audition. From there, Monáe’s career in music took off, both as a solo and featured artist.

Janelle smiling looling to the side at a carpet event wearing a large white hat.

As of 2024, Monáe has released four studio albums, four extended plays, 23 singles, 18 music videos, and has been featured in 24 songs by other artists. In 2011, Monáe was featured in the song “We Are Young” by the indie pop rock band Fun, which claimed the number one spot on the Billboard charts for six weeks and won Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammys. In 2013, Monáe’s second studio album, The Electric Lady, debuted at number five on the Billboard 200. Her third studio album, Dirty Computer (2018), described as a concept album, was released to widespread critical acclaim. Her work has won two Billboard Women in Music Awards, one MTV Award, a GLAAD Media Award, and Variety’s Breakthrough in Music Award. Her music has also earned 10 Grammy nominations, four Billboard Music Award nominations, and 11 MTV Award nominations.

In addition to music, Monáe has become an accomplished actor, with notable roles in films such as the box office hit Hidden Figures (2016), Oscar Best Picture-winning Moonlight (2016), the horror film Antebellum (2020), and the ensemble murder mystery Glass Onion (2022). She has appeared in nearly 20 movies and television series. Monáe also performed at the 92nd Academy Awards show in 2020.

Her album Dirty Computer included the song "Pynk", an anthem of women’s empowerment featuring the Canadian musical artist Grimes as well actor Tessa Thompson, Monáe’s girlfriend. It’s unclear whether the two are still together, as both keep their personal lives very private. Monáe came out as bisexual in Rolling Stone in 2018:

"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."[1]

She went on to discuss various labels under the bi umbrella that she uses and has used. She also identifies as non-binary.

Monáe is very politically active, and has used her musical talents to help inspire civic engagement. In 2020, she released the music video “Turntables” as part of an effort to get people to register to vote, and in 2021, collaborated with former president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama for their Netflix series, We The People.