Janelle Monáe is ‘much happier’ when certain body parts ‘are out,’ FYI

Janelle Monáe wearing braids and a thick black necklace looking over her bare shoulders
Janelle Monáe bares it all in a new cover story for Rolling Stone.
(Ashley Landis / Invision / AP)

Janelle Monáe is baring it all in a new interview.

Monáe caused a stir on social media earlier this month when a video of them flashing their breasts during a live performance went viral. Now, she is gracing the cover of Rolling Stone‘s Pride issue with a peekaboo photo where her nipples are barely covered.

It was a divergence from the signature Chanel, Armani and Stella McCartney suits that fans had become accustomed to seeing Monáe wear.

“I’m much happier when my titties are out and I can run around free,” she said.

In the interview, she discusses how coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic allowed her to appreciate community and find pleasure in that, a theme that inspired their new album.


Ahead of their upcoming album “The Age of Pleasure,” Monáe debuted a single May 11 called “Lipstick Lover.” In a short clip announcing the single, Monáe emerges from a swimming pool in a see-through wet T-shirt. The preview amassed 22.2 million views on Twitter.

Fully diving in, the album cover features the multitalented feminist swimming topless underwater through a tunnel of standing legs.

“[I]t’s beautiful that I have a title called ‘The Age of Pleasure’ because it actually re-centers me. It’s not about an album anymore. I’ve changed my whole f— lifestyle,” Monáe told Rolling Stone about prioritizing enjoyment.

Fan outcry aside, this isn’t new territory for Monáe, as evidenced by past Instagram posts celebrating her birthday in a skirt and nipple pasties and posing on an Ibiza beach topless. Monáe explained that she’s expanded her buttoned-up look more in her private life over the last decade.

“Even when I was really, really wearing only suits ... I was either in a suit or you would find me at my own parties naked. It was no in-between,” she said in the article.

The “Glass Onion” star faced criticism from some fans about their new looks.

“What happened to the suits?” one commenter asked on Twitter.


“What happened to the fully dressed Janelle Monáe?” another tweeted.

Monáe emphasized that her more conservative looks were not a statement on what people should wear.

“Some people who have their own agendas and are respectability politicians may have been misled into believing that I was covering up to be an example of how to be proper,” she told the Breakfast Club in 2018. “I didn’t like that. I never took that as a compliment.”

“The Age of Pleasure” is due June 9.