Who is 'Sylvie's Love' actor Tessa Thompson dating? A look at her confusing relationship with Janelle Monae
Thompson and Monae first gave a whiff of what many speculated was a relationship in 2018, shortly after they came out that year
In her upcoming film, 'Sylvie's Love', the trailblazing Valkyrie from 'Thor: Ragnarok' aka Tessa Thompson will be seen in a coif and a pixie cut, rollicking through the '60s as a Black woman trying to make her mark in a man's world of television executives. The titular Sylvie's love is a stereotypical heterosexual romance painted through the rosy lenses of the likes of 'Breakfast at Tiffany's', in an al-reality where the African American populace was allowed their fair share of romanticism without having to worry about the harrowing realities that we have known the times to resonate with in real life.
But compared to real life, Thompson has been living it nothing akin to what we are about to envision in the Eugene Ashe movie. In that, not only is Thompson currently fighting to get a racist statue replaced with one of Marsha P Johnson's, but her love life is also a sphere of obscurity, with the last known hint of it being established two years ago in an ever-confusing possible romance with Janelle Monae.
Thompson and Monae first gave a whiff of what many speculated was a relationship in 2018, shortly after they individually came out the same year. Monae came out as pansexual in an April interview with the Rolling Stone that year, just a short two months before Thompson came out as bisexual in a Porter interview. This followed the two's big collaboration in Monae's 2018 album Dirty Computer's music video, where Thompson played the musician's muse. The extended cut of the same was quite explicit for those rooting for a Monae-Thompson romance, with the latter's face popping up on the singer's privates in one of the scenes from the song.
But Monáe and Thompson's more than platonic bond goes long before that, precisely to the year 2015 when the singer's song 'Yoga' had come out and the 'Creed' actress was seen in a cameo, as a backup dancer in the music video for the song. Soon they would make their color-coordinated first public appearance together the same year at the MOCA Gala that took the breaths away of many. In November 2015, when Monae received the 'equality award' from New York’s LGBT community center, Thompson presented the award. Monae returned the favor by surprising the actress at the 'Creed' premiere later in the same month.
By December 2015, the two were cruising on a girls' trip in Mexico, not to be seen again for the next two years until February 2017, when they were reunited in Alfre Woodard’s 'Sistah’s Soiree', making fans and shippers of their more-than-friendship gush with an ever so adorable photo, in color-coordinated outfits, all cuddled up. The year was the year of Monae and Thompson teasing speculators o their romance as in September they made not one, but two back to back public appearances - first at the Equality California Awards, and then at HBO’s Emmys after-party - all within the same week. In October 2017, they were partying at Issa Rae’s house with the likes of Donald Glover and Yvonne Orji.
Fast forward to 2018, when Monáe was giving her Grammys speech for #TimesUp, saying "We come in peace, but we mean business", and Thompson labeled her a "Queen." Photos of the duo made rounds again at the 'Black Panther' premiere that year, and then came their first official Red Carpet appearance together when it was time for 'Annihilation' - the BTS of which saw the two get super adorable on Instagram live together. It was after all of this that the 50-minute video accompanying Monáe’s then-forthcoming 'Dirty Computer' album dropped where she and Thompson blessed fans by playing lovers in a dystopic, totalitarian world.
As if this wasn't enough, Monae blessed the world with what has been dubbed as the bisexual anthem of our generation in the form of 'Make Me Feel', which showed her and Thompson letting it down and dirty in a club. With speculations about the two's relationship rife, questions were shot at Thompson, whose answers read "Janelle and I have been really close. We’ve been really good friends at this point for about three and a half years." March of 2018 saw Monae present her then rumored beau with an award at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Oscar luncheon. And a month later came the famous vagina-shaped trousers Monáe put on in the music video of her song 'PYNK' as Thompson crawled through them.
Writing about the time she asked Monáe about the rumored romance, The New York Times' Jenna Wortham wrote: "I asked Monáe what she thought of the internet’s speculation about her romantic relationship with Thompson. Watching her as she decided on a response was like watching a mathematician working out Fermat’s Last Theorem. Gears were churning; calculations were being made. Finally, she laughed, raised her eyebrows and deflected: 'I hope people feel celebrated', she said. 'I hope they feel love. I hope they feel seen.'"
This was a few weeks before Monae came out, and once Thompson had too, she addressed questions about their speculated romance answering "It’s tricky, because Janelle and I are just really private people and we’re both trying to navigate how you reconcile wanting to have that privacy and space, and also wanting to use your platform and influence." She added: "That was something I was conscientious of in terms of this declaration around Janelle and myself. I want everyone else to have that freedom and support that I have from my loved ones. But so many people don’t. So, do I have a responsibility to talk about that? Do I have a responsibility to say in a public space that this is my person?"
Still deflecting a confirmation, and continuing to be far from straight forward, Thompson said of Monae: "We love each other deeply. We’re so close, we vibrate on the same frequency." And she'll allow the speculation to continue. "If people want to speculate about what we are, that’s okay. It doesn’t bother me." And that was it - the duo was never seen publicly, nor heard talking about each other publicly thereafter. Even when the 2019 Met Gala happened, they weren't around each other. In fact, instead of Thompson, it was Lupita N'yongo accompanying Monáe and Danai Gurira as the new 'Black Panther' goddess trio at the Met that year and that was it.
Tessa Thompson and Janelle Monáe have never confirmed their relationship in as many words, but two years later, the internet, fans, or whatever you'd like to call them, still can't stop talking about it.
'Sylvie's Love' premieres on Wednesday, December 23, on Amazon Prime Video.