Black and queer musician Janelle Monae nominated for Grammys

Musician and activist Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer has been nominated for Album of the Year and her song “PYNK” for Best Music Video at 61st Annual Grammys. The awards will be announced Feb. 10.

Monae, who comes from a working class background, came out as queer in an interview with Rolling Stone the same month she released her third studio album and a 46-minute companion film by the same name she refers to as an “emotion picture.”

“(As) someone who has been in relationships with both men and women,” she told Rolling Stone in April. “I consider myself to be a free-ass motherfucker.”

Before coming out, she had used a stock response when questioned about her love life, saying “I only date androids,” matching her public persona as a science fiction character.

Her previous albums, The ArchAndroid  and The Electric Lady, both featured storylines with the character Cindi Mayweather, a cyborg living in a futuristic world. This album is the first that doesn’t continue Mayweather’s narrative. Instead, this album is a celebration of her identity as a queer, black woman.  “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 in an interview with CBS.

The album was released roughly six months after the start of the #metoo movement, and a year and a half after United States elected Donald Trump as their President — to which Monae told Rolling Stone,  “I felt like if I wake up tomorrow, are people going to feel they have the right to just, like, kill me now?” Monae is now the CEO of her own label, a CoverGirl model and an actress appearing in the Oscar-winning Moonlight and the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures, both led by Black actors.

She will be competing for Album of the Year alongside Cardi B., Drake, H.E.R., Brandi Carlile, and Kacey Musgraves — as well as the various artists behind Black Panther.

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