In the first episode of 'EBONY Evolution', we focus on our March cover star, Janelle Monáe. The award-winning singer-songwriter-actress describes how embracing their identity contributed to their personal and creative growth. Through an exploration of personal freedom, gender identity, music, and more, Janelle tells us about their ever-growing and evolving journey. “My inner voice has to be the loudest voice in the room,” Janelle says. “How I feel about me has to be the alpha, the omega. I cannot allow words written about me or other people’s perceptions of me control the way that I operate. I give myself permission to change my mind. I give myself permission to change my thoughts. I have autonomy.”

For Monáe’s inaugural EBONY cover story, writer Tre’vell Anderson, visited the creative’s home studio in Hollywood just hours before her latest track, “Float” debuted. An anthem of liberation and possibility, the song signals a new era for the visionary. The award-winning singer-songwriter-actress describes how embracing her identity as nonbinary contributed to her personal liberation and the importance of having these conversations in the Black community.

“I think that it’s a wonderful conversation that we’re having, and I’m so happy we can have it with our people, with EBONY,” Janelle Monáe’ adds. “I don’t think there’s anything new about Black folks identifying as nonbinary. I think that maybe the language has shifted, but we can see throughout history who was living their lives freely and who did not conform to gender norms. Our next generations of people who are having these conversations at school or around their circles need to be able to be as educated as they possibly can and not speak out of ignorance.”

Learn more about Janelle Monáe's evolution here and check out the full March digital cover experience for more on the creative visionary.