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Janelle Monáe and Suspenders

A love story.

Recording Artist Janelle Monae performs onstage at 106 & Park Live presented by Target during the 2013 BET Exeperience at L.A. LIVE on June 28, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. She stands, arms outspread, her black suspenders standing out against her white, short-sleeved shirt.
The singer and her one true love.
John Ricard / Getty Images

Though Janelle Monáe is still hush-hush about who she’s dating (Tessa who?), I’m happy to report that I have the scoop on the true love of her life. This relationship is essential to the multihyphenate’s identity as a singer, songwriter, actor, and person who keeps her pants off the ground. I am speaking, of course, about the years-long love affair between Janelle Monáe and her suspenders.

For those of you who may be scratching your heads, fear not. I give you: an abridged history of Janelle Monáe and suspenders.

The affair heated up back in 2013, soon after Monáe released her sophomore album The Electric Lady. The concept album follows Cindi Mayweather, a cyborg-messiah with an apparent penchant for androgynous clothing. For the next three years, a pompadour, white button-down shirt, and black suspenders became Monáe’s uniform.

Janelle’s relationship with her suspenders began as strictly professional: the two shared a high-profile Pepsi ad and a Covergirl campaign together.

In this handout photo provided by Pepsi on April 2, 2014, singer/songwriter/producer Janelle Monae is pictured on the set of Pepsi's new global commercial and interactive film, 'NOW IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT'. The creative fuses the worlds of football and music, as part of the 2014 Pepsi Football campaign.
PepsiCo via Getty Images

The romance, however, quickly turned serious. The couple was soon spotted together on the red carpet.

Janelle Monae attends BlackBerry Z10 Launch Event at Best Buy Theater on March 21, 2013 in New York City.
Dave Kotinsky / Getty Images

But their relationship was complicated from the start. Monáe, a known free spirit, occasionally tried on different colors of suspenders.

Singer Janelle Monae performs at 2013 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival - Weekend 2 at the Empire Polo Club on April 20, 2013 in Indio, California.
Rich Polk / Getty Images

And on the road, she was surrounded by temptation.

Recording Artist Janelle Monae performs onstage at 106 & Park Live presented by Target during the 2013 BET Exeperience at L.A. LIVE on June 28, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
John Ricard / Getty Images

Still, the couple stayed strong throughout 2013. In photos, they always appeared to be happy, even euphoric. They took their PDA to the next level in an eyebrow-raising spread for Elle Canada. Jaspenders was here, and they weren’t afraid to share their love with the world. No longer would they leave anyone in suspense.

Janelle Monáe, clad in a white, short-sleeved button-down, a black tie with tie pin, and suspenders, puts her hands on the suspenders. She has a euphoric expression.
All right, get a room, guys!
John Van Der Schilden for Elle Canada

The stability that suspenders offer Monáe is clearly more than literal, since she pretty much always wears suspenders and a belt.

Janelle Monae performs at American Express UNSTAGED with Rebecca Minkoff And Janelle Monae at Lincoln Center on September 6, 2013 in New York City.
“These pants aren’t going anywhere, and neither is my love.”
Bryan Bedder / Getty Images

In 2014, however, the couple hit a rough patch. Weakened by the public’s increased scrutiny, the singer started to feel the pressure. In some photos, she seemed to be pulling away.

Honoree Janelle Monae performs onstage at the Variety Breakthrough of the Year Awards during the 2014 International CES at The Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on January 9, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Isaac Brekken / Getty Images

In March 2014, the two even fought onstage, resulting in an intense—and very public—split.

Clear Channel presents an exclusive performance with Janelle Monae as part of the iHeartRadio Live series at the iHeartRadio Theater on March 25, 2014 in Burbank, California.
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Like any couple with a artistically fruitful history, though, they worked hard to preserve their professional relationship. In April 2015, they were spotted hitting the red carpet together again. This time, though, they were determined to keep their nascent friendship out of the public eye.

SingerJanelle Monae attends the HBO Bessie 81 Tour at Stephan Weiss Studio on April 30, 2015 in New York City.
Cindy Ord / Getty Images

The pair was once again battling gossip, but this time, they didn’t let it stand in their way.

anelle Monae performs onstage at 11th Annual Jazz In The Gardens Music Festival - Day 2 at Sunlife Stadium on March 20, 2016 in Miami, Florida.
“Can’t we keep it about the music, guys?”
Mychal Watts / Getty Images
Recording artist Janelle Monae performs onstage at Entertainment Weekly's PopFest at The Reef on October 29, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
Janelle and her longtime flame, her suspenders, romp onstage with a more passing fling, her crazy hair coat.
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Now, Janelle is honoring that storied relationship as she celebrates the release of Dirty Computer. On her Rolling Stone cover, she showed off her new posse: five pairs of suspenders.

Janelle Monáe wears at least four pairs of suspenders on the cover of Rolling Stone.
Matt Jones for Rolling Stone

This group, of course, included her longtime friend and former partner. Her black suspenders were front and center.

It’s a love story for the ages, and one that the media has conveniently ignored. Stay proud, Jaspenders—you are the ultimate #relationshipgoals.

Singer Janelle Monáe performs after receiving the Grammy Museum's Jane Ortner Education Award July 16, 2014, in Los Angeles, California.
To the moon and back, baby.
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images