No More Baby Jane
Janelle Monáe had been on my quirky brain a lot recently. After relishing on the sublime talent of fellow Wondaland acts, such as Jidenna and St. Beauty, I wondered when the First Lady of Wondaland would return to her musical throne. Her former release, “Yoga,” introduced Wondaland’s, "Classic Man," Jidenna, and was no doubt high-octane.
On Thursday (February 22), I was delighted to discover Jane trending on Twitter with the news of long-awaited music from her forthcoming LP, Dirty Computer, which drops on Friday, April 27th. And if that was somehow not enough, droids (fans) can anticipate more from this blazing starlet. Jane has co-produced and is set to star in the film, Dirty Computer, jointly named after her new album.
As I awakened the morning before yesterday, I had the realization that I had been privy to a special invite to His Purple Majesty jamming from his royal frequency. At some point, I was standing in the middle of an auditorium with a stage before me. I felt a presence appear behind me. I turned to glance over my shoulder and glimpsed Prince. His head was slightly lowered and his hands were formed in a graceful bow.
On frequent occasions, I encounter Prince from the other side. For me, it’s extranormal, but each time is treasured and unique. The experience always leaves me with a warm and soulful emotion that invigorates me. Before drifting off to sleep, I had been up past midnight centering my soul, conceiving the dance, wrapping with “Django Jane” and the Prince inspired “Make Me Feel,” which many are likening to Prince’s Billboard number one hit, “Kiss.”
It’s hard to believe that it has nearly been two years since Prince's passing. Given his close relationship with Monáe, who had been rather mum about his sudden departure, we learned that Jane had spent time with Prince, her mentor and friend, at Paisley Park during New Years of 2016. The two had been collaborating together, gathering sounds for her upcoming album.
Consequently, the end result, “Make Me Feel,” a seductive song all about sexual liberation, is a beautiful space to enter, particularly with courage and conviction. Jane’s expression in this musical short, which features actress and songstress, Tessa Thompson, is erotic, playful and vibrant. Monáe audaciously flaunts aspects of her sexual orientation, as she had in “Queen.”
If one needed to be reminded of the wonder that makes Jane squeak, look no further than, “Django Jane,” a iconic social-political number that highlights Jane’s mad Kansas City-ATL swag, augmenting the divine feminine rising, reminding us that the archandroid is highly-melanated. In this short, Monáe shines on her throne, dominating with an electric matriarchal prowess, backed by a she-nation in total formation.
Through Jane’s progression as an artist, we have celebrated her graceful transition onto the silver screen in highly-acclaimed films such as Moonlight and Hidden Figures, which showcase Monáe in empowering roles, revealing the obvious that Jane is primed to become a triple threat. The rare and coveted entertainer that can authentically sing/rap, dance and act, this is simply the short list of Monáe’s gifts and accomplishments.
Monáe, a model and spokesperson for Covergirl, who graces countless magazine covers and television commercial ads, is undeniably stunning and beautiful. But do not get it twisted, Monáe, is not superficial, fickle or ignorant. Jane may be from out of space, like her mentor and friend, Prince, yet she is a highly intelligent and sensible being, who remains astutely conscious of the troubling events that plague many within our community.
During the height of the Black Lives Matter Movement in the spring of 2015, a confident woman of principle emerged, utilizing her platform to shed light on the disturbing treatment of African-American men and women, who had become victims of police brutality. Standing for balance, truth, justice and peace, her fiery passion can be heard on Wondaland’s “HELL YOU TALMBOUT,” a political rebuttal to the countless lives unjustly lost due to racial profiling.
As we reflect back on Jane’s musical body of work from The Audition (yes, the unofficial LP counts), Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase) (EP), The Archandroid and Electric Lady, there is no question: Janelle Monáe, is a regal pop sensation in her own right, take it or leave it. We salute Jane for magnifying the culture and we anticipate more greatness to come from such a wonderful and talented young lady.
Peace and royalty,