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10 Stand Out Moments From Janelle Monáe's Powerful Music Videos

Janelle Monae came back making a statement—and we're just as obsessed as you are.

We've got to talk about Janelle Monáe.

Over the past half decade, she's embarked on a profound journey that's solidified her as an artist, creator and activist who isn't afraid to shoot down the stars—or shoot with them.

After having roles in Hidden Figures and Moonlight—two Oscar nominated movies where one won an Oscar, a stellar speech at the Grammy's and a stunning presence at the Black Panther red carpet, she's ready to grace us with "Dirty Computer," the latest musical venture in her Afrofuturistic saga.

To whet our appetites before the album, which is set to release on April 27, Janelle dropped not one but two music videos yesterday. Both are distinctly entertaining: one is a black, intersectional feminist anthem and the other a psychedelic soundtrack of sexual fluidity.

Watch both, then read some of the highlights we gathered from the hypnotizing visuals and powerful wordplay.


"Django Jane"

A bossy, sharp-edged track that proves Janelle is here to stay, and slay.

Janelle serves "Rhythm Nation" vibes with African Accents

Janelle sits atop a throne reminiscent of West African royalty, surrounded by black women in studded leather jackets and shades. Atop her and her crew's heads are kufi caps—similar to the one she wore with her asymmetrical blue gown at the Black Panther premiere. She and her crew share drinks at a Moroccan-inspired dinner table. It's a marriage of African and African American—shared blackness interpreted in a rap song.

We gon' start a motherfuckin' pussy riot/Or we gon' have to put 'em on a pussy diet

Janelle shouts out Pussy Riot, the Russian punk rock group who were incarcerated for protesting and fighting for their rights. This line also references comments she made in Marie Claire last year suggesting that we should go on a sex strike until men take women's rights seriously, which caused a stir with many, but she's since addressed. By revisiting this, Monáe either wanted to show off her lyrical skills or implant the idea in our minds again.

Video still via YouTube.

We ain't hidden no more, Moonlit nigga, lit nigga

Preceding this line, Janelle shouts out her Mom who cleaned hotels and her father who drove for a living. She's acknowledging that humble, working class backgrounds is something to be proud of. By adding Hidden Figures and Moonlight to this line, she says that their hard work and love is acknowledged, and that she made it.

They been trying hard just to make us all vanish/I suggest they put a flag on a whole nother planet

White male supremacy tries hard to oppress and suppress anyone "other:" Black people, people of color, women, LGBTQ and more. They might as well find a new planet to roam on—'cause there's too much of us to ever successfully obliterate.

Jane Bond, never Jane Doe/And I Django, never Sambo

Self explanatory lyrics, but still fire. Jane (short for Janelle) identifies with James Bond—not Jane Doe, the default name given to unidentified women. Basically, she's not basic. She also aligns herself with Django, Quentin Tarantino's black hero who escaped slavery, and not Sambo, the racial term used to degrade black people.

Nigga move back, take a seat, you were not involved/And hit the mute button/Let the vagina have a monologue

It's time for women to hold the mic, to share our opinions and experiences and to take the lead on social change. Men need to make room for us.

"Make Me Feel"

The ecstatic, vibrant video shows Janelle in a funkadelic, multi-gendered playground of love and sensuality.

Prince

The bouncy beat is a sample of Prince's "Kiss." Janelle and Prince have made music together—their duet "Givin 'Em What They Love" is a gem—so her reinterpretation of "Kiss" feels natural. Also—purple reigns fiercely throughout the whole video.

Black Mirror's "San Junipero"

This may be just 80s culture in general, but the club scenes—equipped with an arcade and flashing neon colors—Janelle and Tessa Thompson's fantastic outfits, and them as leading ladies of the video, reminded me a lot of the widely adored Black Mirror episode,"San Junipero."

Video still via YouTube.

Yeah, baby, don't make me spell it out for you/You keep on asking me the same questions (why?)/And second guessing all my intentions

Janelle may be alluding to the media continually questioning her sexuality. Due to her androgynous style and ambiguous lyrics, many have wondered if she likes men or women—which really is none of our business, but society likes knowing everything about celebrities.

Janelle's always dodged the question whenever an interviewer asks it, but this video shows her engaging with both women and men—expressing that maybe she's bisexual, queer, sexually fluid, or just wants to play with us.

"It's like I'm powerful with a little bit of tender/An emotional, sexual bender"

An awesome hook that exudes unapologetic sexual fluidity.

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Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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