Are Tessa Thompson and Janelle Monáe dating?
That's what everyone wants to know, but the two celebrities are loath to share details on their increasingly public relationship. In an extensive profile in the New York Times Magazine, writer Jenna Wortham describes Thompson as someone "with whom Monáe is frequently photographed in real life." Speaking to Wortham, Monáe is reticent on the subject of her own sexuality.
"I want it to be very clear that I’m an advocate for women,” Monáe explains. “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." Thompson will appear in a 50-minute companion "emotion picture" to Monae's album Dirty Computer as Monáe's love interest.
Thompson and Monáe have long been rumored to be a couple. In February, Autostraddle published an exhaustive timeline of Thompson and Monáe's various couple-ish activities. To catch you up: They were first spotted together in the music video for Monáe's 2015 single "Yoga." Later that same year, they attended a gala for the Museum of Contemporary Art together. From there on out, it seems the twosome found a lot of opportunities to appear on red carpets together, at parties together, and, as of 2018, in music videos together. In the video for "Pynk," Thompson emerges from between Monáe's heavily yonic legs (she's wearing pink pants). Thompson and Monáe are both broadcasting their relationship across the country and keeping it under wraps, a tricky but impressive dance.
When Entertainment Tonight asked Thompson in February how she felt about fans 'shipping Thompson and Monáe, she deflected.
"Janelle and I have been really close. We've been really good friends at this point for about three and a half year," she told the outlet. "Janelle is somebody that is interested in empowering not just women but people to be who they are."
As for the heavily suggestive song "Make Me Feel," Thompson said that Monáe wanted it to make people feel "liberated."
"If it makes people feel liberated in their skin and feel closer to who they are, then I think we did our job," she said. We can't ask for much more than that.