Janelle Monae is lighting up the cover of InStyle‘s “Badass Women” issue.

In the August edition of the magazine, the singer talks her career, sexuality, and more.

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Janelle Monae. Photo: Pamela Hanson for InStyle
Janelle Monae. Photo: Pamela Hanson for InStyle

Speaking about coming out as pansexual, Monae says, “I talked to my mom and dad first, and my mom, in particular, had a lot of questions.

“I said, ‘Mama, the only way that I can create art is to truthfully tell my story. It has to come from an honest place, and this is who I honestly am. I don’t know any other way. I have to talk about my sexuality. I have to talk about my blackness. I have to talk about my womanness. I have to talk about these things. This is who I am as a person.’”

As for her unique style, Monae says, “Embracing your uniqueness is an active choice. I don’t wake up looking flawless every morning. I don’t wake up feeling empowered. I don’t wake up feeling fearless. I have to actively choose to feel that way.” She adds with a laugh, “I’m like Issa Rae in ‘Insecure’, like, ‘Bitch, keep it together!’”

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Monae also talks about her approach to music, to challenge herself and the industry.

“I’ve always wanted to redefine what a cool, young black woman looks like in the music industry,” she says. “I was never interested in fitting into a system that wasn’t built for me or with me in mind. I’m interested in burning that sh** down and building something new.”