Janelle is a woman of many talents. She is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, actress, and producer. She is also an activist. including a gay rights activist.
Speaking to Gay Letter about her life and achievements, Janelle revealed the incident that made her Come Out. Janelle said she decided to open up publicly about her sexuality after a transformative skydiving experience.
She said: “I realized that it was time to jump and a lot of it had to do with when I went skydiving. I went skydiving 14,000 feet up in the air and that was after I did Dirty Computer — I had Dirty Computer, the concept, since before my first album, The ArchAndroid, but I hadn’t become the person yet who could write that album.
“So I didn’t write it until I started becoming that person. But I attribute a lot of it to therapy and a friend who I talked to and when I was talking about certain things, she asked me if I had ever considered that I may have abandonment issues. I said “you know what…” I was in denial about it. I mean I had all the love I needed to have.
“My dad, who is my best friend now and completely sober, was the person who because he had a drug addiction he was dealing with and he was in and out of prison and in and out of my life — he was the only person I ever felt had abandoned me, but I had so much love. I had my stepdad who was just like my dad and my mom who was just like my dad. I had 12 different aunties. I had 50 first cousins. I was loved!
“As I started to journal and I wrote down some things, I realized she was correct. I had buried some abandonment issues and as a result of that my need to feel accepted, especially by family was at an all time high. So I didn’t want to do anything to make me feel that pain that I’d buried of my father not showing up to pick me up because he had been in jail and I didn’t know about it. I never wanted to feel that pain again. What they say is that whatever you bury, it will grow.”
When asked what advice she would give to a young performer starting now in the music industry, Janelle said: “Well I would say, remember that you are not your grandparents. You are not your parents. You are you!
“I just remember loving my family so much that it was crippling. By that, certain decisions I wanted to make, certain things I wanted to say, but because of maybe a strong religious background or because not wanting to embarrass the family, because maybe their values were different than mine, I held back. I’m not in that space anymore.
“I think that what you’ve seen thus far has been me chipping away and finding that freedom and creating work that can even inspire myself. Some of the things I wrote about were partly honest but also used as lyrics to inspire the storyteller. Being a storyteller and being a creative, and considering myself to be a free-ass motherfucker, it didn’t always align with the people I grew up trying to please. So don’t let that get in the way of your creativity.”
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