According to Rolling Stone, Janelle Monáe took a breath before she revealed, after much public/obsessive speculation, to the magazine that she identifies as pansexual.
"Being a queer black woman in America," she said, "someone who has been in relationships with both men and women — I consider myself to be a free-ass motherf***er."
At first, she said, she identified as bisexual. Then she did some reading "about pansexuality and was like, ‘Oh, these are things that I identify with too.' I'm open to learning more about who I am."
Pansexuality? Apparently a lot of people don't know what that means because they quickly turned to Merriam-Webster for help.
"Pansexual was among our top lookups on April 26th, 2018, after singer Janelle Monáe was quoted in Rolling Stone magazine self-identifying with the term," the dictionary folks revealed on Thursday.
Monáe didn't elaborate on what she meant by pansexual. But here's Merriam-Webster's definition. (It did not offer a definition for "free-ass motherf***er.")
"The sense of pansexuality that is most often encountered today is defined as 'of, relating to, or characterized by sexual desire or attraction that is not limited to people of a particular gender identity or sexual orientation,'" it says.
Pansexual, a word that entered the English language in the early 20th century, originally meant "tending to suffuse all experience and conduct with erotic feeling," Merriam-Webster said.
Pink News in the United Kingdom notes that "pan" comes from the Greek word meaning "all." "So pansexual means that you are capable of being attracted to any and all genders," writes the publication.
"Safe to say, though: if someone tells you they’re pansexual, that means gender does not matter to them in terms of who they want to have sex with. 'Hearts, not parts,' as the pansexual saying goes."
Monáe's revelation comes the day before the release of "Dirty Computer," her third full-length album and the follow-up to "The ArchAndroid," a 2011 Grammy nominee for R&B album of the year, and "The Electric Lady," released in 2013.
"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 told Rolling Stone. "This album is for you. Be proud."
The album also is in response to things she's heard from family — "a massive, devoutly Baptist family in Kansas City, Kansas, or as she likes to put it, 'I got 50 first cousins!'" the magazine wrote.
"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,'" she said.
The magazine interviewed her at home, and noted that she was "never more relaxed during our time together than when she's in Kansas City.
"Her Midwestern drawl comes back as she screams and sings while running into the arms of her cousins, aunts and uncles, many of whom she gets to see only during the holidays or tour stops nearby," the story says. "At one point, she curls up into her mom's lap while they look at a homemade poster full of sepia-toned childhood pics."
Pictures that probably look nothing like the images in her recent music videos, which she's been dropping like a trail of sweet, yummy treats leading straight to Willy Wonka's factory.
Monáe released the videos for her singles “Make Me Feel” and “Django Jane" in February. Earlier this month, she dropped the video for her new single, "PYNK," glowing with woman power.
“‘Pynk’ is a brash celebration of creation. self love. sexuality and p***y power!" the video's description read.
The opening sequence featured Monáe wearing a pair of pink, ruffled, oversized pants that look like female genitalia.
Over the years she has been famously coy in answering questions about her sexuality.
"I just live my life, and people can feel free to discuss whatever it is that they think and use whatever adjectives they feel. It's a free country," she said in a 2013 interview with Pride Source.
But, she told Rolling Stone, her music has offered hints.
The songs "Q.U.E.E.N" and "Mushrooms & Roses," for instance, reference a woman named Mary as a love interest.
The original title of "Q.U.E.E.N." was "Q.U.E.E.R.," she revealed, and that word can still be heard in the background harmonies.
She did not confirm, however, the relationship fans have assumed she has with actress Tessa Thompson.
Not everyone in her family knew about her love life, and she worried, before coming back to visit, how relatives would react to her news.
"I literally do not have time to hold a town-hall meeting with my big-ass family and be like, ‘Hey, news flash!'" she told the magazine, laughing.