This profile is from the forthcoming book Black, Gifted and Gay by LGBT media pioneer Leyla Farah (with assistance from LGBT celebrity reporter Sarah Toce).
Credited in the media for having started the "neo-soul" movement, 42-year-old singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello is a proud bisexual African American woman with ten Grammy Award nominations stowed in her satchel.
Born in Germany and raised in Washington, D.C, Ndegeocello started her music career by recording a self-made demo in her bedroom before taking off to New York City hoping to strike gold as a bassist. She was soon signed to Madonna's Maverick Records and eight studio albums would be released between the years of 1993 and 2009.
Tantalizing sounds, strikingly-authentic structures, and gnawingly raw lyrics lined the albums from the inside out and Ndegeocello's sound and passion caught immediate fire within the entertainment industry. The musician's ambiguous demeanor and representation of self further fueled media speculation into not only her music, but sexuality and social practices that were fairly taboo at the time of her arrival on the scene.
With her shaved head and sultry vocals Ndegeocello was the antithesis of R&B's more traditionally manicured divas, and her open bisexuality challenged virtually everyone. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, she said:
"I'm the ultimate misfit … I'm black. I'm a woman. I'm a bisexual."
The Granderson and Ndegeocello profiles are from the forthcoming book Black, Gifted and Gay by LGBT media pioneer Leyla Farah (with assistance from LGBT celebrity reporter Sarah Toce).