While gossip blogs have speculated on whether Janelle Monae is dating Thor: Ragnarok’s Tessa Thompson, Monae’s truth bombs and credos in an interview with The Guardian are so captivating that we honestly don’t care what the hell she does with her life. You do you, J Monae.
Exhibit A: The Hidden Figures and Moonlight actress teases her upcoming album Dirty Computer — her first in five years:
“[The single] ‘Django Jane’ is a response to me feeling the sting of the threats being made to my rights as a woman, as a black woman, as a sexually liberated woman, even just as a daughter with parents who have been oppressed for many decades. Black women and those who have been the ‘other’, and the marginalized in society – that’s who I wanted to support, and that was more important than my discomfort about speaking out.”
In the video for “Make Me Feel,” Monae and Thompson enter a neon-lit bar together and proceed to flirt, play Ms. Pac-Man, share a lollipop. Monae pings back and forth between Thompson and a handsome dude, while androgynous models and catsuit-clad back-up dancers swirl around them. The track is fire – slinky and sexy and recalls the best of “Kiss”-era Prince.
Her new mission of liberation and recognition for marginalized folks falls in line with her public persona as a gender fluid, feminist superhuman whose iconic suits and tuxedos are a “fashion statement second, a political statement first.” She’s also an Afrofuturist, who believes that “to help the future sometimes you got to go back to the past, and sometimes you got to stay in the present.” Sigh, if only she worked in Washington.
(Side-note: Can we vote on a future in which visionaries and artists like Monae run the government? Pls and thx.)
A teaser for Monae’s accompanying “emotion picture” for Dirty Computer is currently being shown ahead of select screenings of the mega-blockbuster Black Panther, and it features enough same-sex loving between Monae and the aforementioned Thompson to keep the rumor mill churning. However, Monae chooses to identify as “sexually liberated woman” when pressed on the subject.
“I’m about women’s empowerment. I’m about agency. I’m about being in control of your narrative and your body … to let people know you don’t own or control me.”
She then signs off with some parting words: “I don’t know who’s gonna come with me and who’s gonna criticize me, but I’m not gonna renege, and I’m not gonna hide.”
Whatever surprises Monae’s Dirty Computer-era has in store, we’re thrilled that she is owning her individuality — and excited to see what she spins out next. We also wouldn’t be opposed to borrowing one of those tuxes!