If it feels like there’s nothing Janelle Monáe can’t do, it may be because that’s the truth. The artist has continued to forge her own path, creating her own imprint Wondaland Arts Society and earning two Grammy nominations with her debut album, including Best Urban/Alternative Performance for her breakout single “Tightrope.”
In 2017, Monáe was the only actor to appear in two films nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, including Moonlight and Hidden Figures. Now with her third album Dirty Computer on the horizon, Monáe is set to release her most personal and political piece of work yet.
Dropping two music videos this week, Monáe is once again using her platform to enact social change, with her new music taking on gender norms and promoting black girl magic.
Monáe ‘s first video for “Make Me Feel” has the singer invoking the spirit of Prince, pulling on a 1980s aesthetic both visually and musically for the single. Playing with gender and sexuality, Monáe at times portrays two characters caught in a love triangle with actor Tessa Thompson (Westworld, Thor: Ragnarok) and a male actor, with Monáe going back and forth between the two. In later scenes, Monáe sports pop art make up and dances in between women’s legs, later wearing a diamond-encrusted mask while she plays the guitar. Prince would love this video. We love this video.
“Make Me Feel” is directed by Alan Ferguson, who worked with Monáe on “Electric Lady,” “Prime Time,” and “Many Moons” and whose most recent videos include “Don’t Touch My Hair” and “Cranes In The Sky,” both belonging to his wife Solange.
For Monáe ‘s second new single “Django Jane” from Dirty Computer, the now triple threat of actor, singer, and rapper teamed up with Andrew Donoho, Chuck Lightning, and Lacey Duke for a return to her famous fitted suits. Accented by African artwork, the second video shows Monáe surrounded by a group of women as she performs a spit-fire rap on female empowerment, drawing from her working class childhood all the way up to her recent blockbuster success in films.
We always need Janelle Monáe, but in 2018, the world may finally be ready to listen to the artist with so much to say. Dirty Computer is set to be released on April 27.
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