If you haven’t peeped it yet, you HAVE to see this month’s Essence cover girl…the super-talented singer, Janelle Monaé. As a fan for about 4 years now, it’s been so great for me to see such an incredible artist getting the shine she deserves.
I’ve never read any press on her before, so I was intrigued to learn more about her in the article by Lola Ogunnaike in the May 2013 issue. I was delighted by Janelle’s quirkiness and creativity, but also by her grace and humility. It was also refreshing to hear how she sees her fame as an opportunity to share a positive message with young women and girls.
One thing you may notice about Ms. Monaé is her unique sense of style. She rocks strictly black and white, mostly in the form of suits or cleverly coupled pants and blouses. “I’ve never wanted to look like anybody else. I made a decision to be unique and now it’s part of my DNA,” she says. Her sharp look aside, this style is more than a fashion choice. She sees the way she presents herself as conscious decision. She wants to:
“…redefine what it means to be sexy and what it means to be a woman. Showing my skin is not what makes me sexy. I like skirts and dresses just like everyone else, but I had a message I needed to put out there. It was up to me to show people and young girls there was another way.”
She says that her next album, Electric Lady, is a very personal work. With the authenticity, Monaé also sees her music as an opportunity to flex the power and influence of being yourself and sticking to your beliefs:
“You’ve got to do the hard work, do and say the things that you aren’t seeing [and hearing]. If there isn’t a voice for young African-American women with your same morals and values, then you have to do it.”
Thank you, Janelle, for being an original and providing a positive role model for young women!