If you thought Janelle Monáe’s Dirty Computer trailer was a confirmation of hers and Tessa Thompson’s relationship, you couldn’t be further from the truth. The “emotion picture,” per Monáe, will take a step away from her android alter ego, Cindi Mayweather and that seems to be all the singer wants to focus on.
“Right now I’m escaping the gravity of the labels that people have tried to place on me that have stopped my evolution,” she said in a profile for the New York Times Thursday (April 19). That may/may not include the one of her obscure relationship with actress Tessa Thompson.
Jenna Wortham of the Times asked Monáe about the rumors of her and Thompson’s relationship, but she hit a wall. “I want it to be very clear that I’m an advocate for women,” she answered. “I’m a girl’s girl, meaning I support women no matter what they choose to do. I’m proud when everybody is taking agency over their image and their bodies.” According to Wortham, watching Monáe “[decide] on a response was like watching a mathematician working out Fermat’s Last Theorem.”
The two, Monáe and Thompson, have at least three years worth of commitment to thwarting the attempts of the public to decipher their relationship, and they’re having fun with it. Thompson first appeared in Monae’s 2015 music video for “Yoga,’ and it seems that the two have never been more than a few feet apart since. They’re photographed together at events pretty often, closely knit. Public urges to define the union has only intensified, but the two continue to deflect. They don’t confirm a romantic relationship, but they don’t deny it either; that’s what keeps us asking.
Thompson appeared in Monáe’s “Make Me Feel,” earlier this year, calling attention again, but not nearly as much as the actress’s appearance in Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computers visual album teaser. Thompson appears between legs of Monáe who dons a pink pair of vulvar pants. The 50-minute film is set in a dystopic, futuristic, and authoritarian society where people are called “computers.” “The narrative explores humanity and the effect on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when mind and machines merge, and when the government chooses fear over freedom,” via Billboard. In it, Thompson and Monáe play lovers, brought together by the ideas that a society cannot remove, no matter the regime. The overarching theme is a celebration of femininity and sexuality.
Monáe’s visual album will release on Viacom platforms (MTV, BET) on April 27.