Janelle Monáe Opens Up About Growing Up With “Parents Who Were Addicts”

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Janelle Monáe is feeling particularly free about her music and sexuality these days, but that’s not the only thing the “Lipstick Lover” singer is being open about. In their 2023 Rolling Stone cover story, published on May 22, Monáe got real about their views around the recreational use of drugs, particularly how they “grew up fearful of marijuana” because of their parents.

“I had parents who were addicts,” she explained to the publication, referring to her father, who was formerly addicted to crack-cocaine. “They would always say, ‘Weed is the gateway drug to being a crackhead,’ and I grew up with that in my mind and heart.”

Monáe also revealed that their newfound attraction to weed was triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, offering them a way to manage their anxiety after having “anxiety attacks” while recording their 2018 “Dirty Computer” album. “I was like, ‘We’re in the middle of a pandemic,'” the singer said. “‘I’m not on the road, let me test out weed.'”

Previously, Monáe spoke about her father’s drug use during an April 2022 appearance on “Red Table Talk,” where she also talked about coming out as nonbinary. Speaking to cohosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield Norris, the “Float” artist revealed that their dad’s addiction “changed his life” and “our relationship.” Monáe went on to clarify that the two have since established a better connection, calling him her “best friend” in the interview and shared that he’s completely sober. Rolling Stone also confirmed that they’re still close to this day.

Just in time for the summer, Monáe is gearing up to release her next album, “The Age of Pleasure,” on June 9, a project that she told Rolling Stone re-centered and inspired her to change her “whole f*cking lifestyle.” “It’s about living in an oasis created by us for us,” they shared of the album. “Even with everything going on in the world, this is our moment to breathe together, unapologetically taking this beat to enjoy – to hurry up and live.”

Related: Janelle Monáe Reflects on Reactions Since Coming Out as Nonbinary

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