Janelle Monae: Infiltrating Mainstream

Covergirl recently announced Janelle Monae as one of their new representatives. For many people this is shock because she usually flies below the radar. The beautiful and equally talented Monae’s last album is two years old, but she maintains a buzz by touring.  Mostly known for her pompadour, executive uniform, and the quirky, upbeat single Tightrope ft. Big Boi from her last album, few people know the story behind her burgeoning breakout and what I predict will become a stellar career. Not only is Monae an asset to the music industry but she has the potential to blaze a trail in the mainstream that could revitalize the hypersexualized and objectified  image of the black female.

I remember the first time I saw Monae in the Outkast video Morris Brown. I didn’t pay her much attention but she would later cross my path and captivate me with her music. The only thing I knew about her was she had a  predilection for science fiction which set the tone for many of her songs, she was natural, and she wore tuxedos. The tuxedos never struck me as odd, I figured it was a costume for her videos. But then I noticed she wore them everywhere.

During an interview on the Monique Show Monae informed her fans that she wears the tuxedo because its her uniform “This is my job, when you see me in the uniform I’m working.” And her work is paying off. Discovered by Big Boi who subsequently introduced her to Diddy, the two decided they wanted “to take their time and build her profile organically and allow the music to grow rather than put out a hot single which everyone jumps on, and then they fade because it’s just something of the moment.” The hit producer behind Making the Band, who has demonstrated he has patience the size of a mustard seed, believes in Monae enough to allow her creative control over her work and let it grow organically.WOW, what artist gets that type of respect from the gate, this speaks volumes to the talent and poise of Janelle. This type of black female power should be celebrated, this is what young girls aspiring to make it in the music or any entertainment industry should model.

Diddy was drawn to Monae  not only by her talent but her look. He loved that he could not see her body. If we are ever to desexualize black female bodies we need more artist like Janelle to set the trend. Many artists have stated they are not role models (we know Rihanna), but Janalle is conscious of her platform. She intends to uphold her responsibility to her community and other young girls “to help redefine what it looks like to be a woman.

I applaud Janelle for accepting this challenge. Her success and recognition are a testament to the power of hard work and the courage to stay true to yourself. The Beyonce’s and Rihanna’s are cool, we get one or two of them every few decades. But Janelle Monae is truly one in a million which is why she is more than deserving to be a Covergirl. I’m not much for corporations, or capitalism for that matter, but I must admit Covergirl has finally done something right. A talented, beautiful, brown artist as the face of one of the largest marketers to women makes my heart sing. This could be the start of something grand.


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