In case you didn’t get the many, many hints from the videos that accompanied the entirety of Dirty Computer, the acclaimed pop album that Janelle Monáe released in April, she is very, very close with the actress Tessa Thompson. (As in putting Thompson between the legs of her so-called “vagina pants” and practically giving birth to her level of close.)
Naturally, then, Thompson’s new cover story for Net-a-Porter’s PorterEdit covers not only her new film Sorry to Bother You, her experiences with racism, and what it’s like to be a black woman in the public eye, but her relationship with Monáe. That starts with Thompson taking care to note just how proud she is to have been a part of Dirty Computer, which has been heralded for its openness in addressing pansexuality, and which Thompson thinks, given the texts she’s gotten from people saying it prompted them to come out to their families, is “really helping people and probably saving some lives.”
Tessa Thompson and Janelle Monáe at the premiere of Annihilation, February 2018.
Thompson has long been open about her own sexuality, which she credits to her very “free” family: “If I bring a woman home, [or] a man, we don’t even have to have the discussion.” Monáe, on the other hand, has only opened up publically recently, and still likes to keep her personal life personal, especially (and somewhat playfully) when it comes to Thompson. (Though she did notably wear a splashy, widely praised rainbow gown to the BET Awards the same weekend as New York’s Pride Parade, matching the rainbow flag emoji that makes up the entirety of Thompson’s bio on Instagram.)
“It’s tricky, because Janelle and I are just really private people and we’re both trying to navigate how you reconcile wanting to have that privacy and space, and also wanting to use your platform and influence,” Thompson said. “I want everyone else to have that freedom and support that I have from my loved ones, but so many people don’t. So, do I have a responsibility to talk about that? Do I have a responsibility to say in a public space that this is my person?”
After being informed that the internet—a corner of which, by the way, is rather obsessed with #Janessa—would indeed love to hear more, Thompson, apparently amused, then added: “We love each other deeply. We’re so close, we vibrate on the same frequency. If people want to speculate about what we are, that’s okay. It doesn’t bother me.”
Keeping with the pair’s tradition, Thompson then of course abstained from further describing exactly “what [they] are.” Though it doesn't sound like she reacted at all similarly when broaching the topic as Monáe did earlier this year, when the New York Times said that “watching her as she decided on a response was like watching a mathematician working out Fermat’s Last Theorem.”
Related: Janelle Monáe Practically Gives Birth to Tessa Thompson in Her New "Pynk" Video
Janelle Monáe wears a Burberry trenchcoat, vest, pants, and tie; Giorgio Armani shirt; Cartier watch; Robert Clergerie shoes. Beauty: Lancôme. Directed by Jordan Peele.
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