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.
The romance, however, quickly turned serious. The couple was soon spotted together on the red carpet.
But their relationship was complicated from the start. Monáe, a known free spirit, occasionally tried on different colors of suspenders.
And on the road, she was surrounded by temptation.
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.
The stability that suspenders offer Monáe is clearly more than literal, since she pretty much always wears suspenders and a belt.
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.
In March 2014, the two even fought onstage, resulting in an intense—and very public—split.
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.
The pair was once again battling gossip, but this time, they didn’t let it stand in their way.
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.
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.