In case you haven’t had your fill of African royalty this week (as if), Janelle Monáe dropped in on us today with not one, but two new singles sure to be in heavy rotation over the coming weeks, accompanied by stunning visuals that are already giving us fashion inspiration.
In “Django Jane,” the artist formerly known as Cindi Mayweather reminds us who she is: an African-American queen whose flow is as flawless as her angelic vocals. The visuals for this feminist banger are sure to garner comparisons to Beyoncé’s “Formation,” as Monáe is flanked by her own cadre of militantly clad women moving in tandem. But the comparisons end there as Monáe spits lyrics like:
Jane Bond, never Jane Doe
And I Django, never Sambo
Black and White, Yeah that’s always been my camo
It’s looking like y’all gon’ need some more ammo
In 3 minutes and 16 seconds, Monáe blazes through this track while barely batting an eyelash. And, of course, she looks amazing while doing it. I personally love seeing her back in her trademark tailored suits—this time, in several colors, with coordinating kufis. I’m also betting we’ll be seeing more ring-divided braids this spring and summer.
But most striking is how Monáe skillfully reminds us from whence we came, and that the future is indeed black and female. As she says, “Hit the mute button, let the vagina have a monologue.”
But while “Django Jane” is a banger, Monáe still knows how to serve up a bop, and “Make Me Feel” definitely delivers. Co-starring fellow #Fave Tessa Thompson (in a surprisingly sexy mullet), this Prince-inspired track and video (with an opening scene reminiscent of Purple Rain) is a clear nod to those who have been so curious about Monáe’s sexuality. The answer? Presumably, whoever makes her feel good. So what?
In a #ThrowbackThursday-worthy ’80s homage from beginning to end, Monáe—in dual roles as a brunette and platinum blonde—puts the “sex” in sexy, and gives us Madonna-level fashion moments in sheer embroidered pants, head-to-toe rhinestones, leotards that are making this writer run for the gym, and a black-and-white ensemble that reminds us that when it comes to sexuality, maybe everything needn’t be so ... black and white.
In Monáe’s own words:
It’s like I’m powerful with a little bit of tender
An emotional, sexual bender
Mess me up, yeah, but no one does it better
There’s nothing better
Truly, just when we were coming off the afterglow of seeing Black Panther, Monáe just brought us to a new high. We can’t wait to hear the rest of her new album, Dirty Computer, due out April 28.