Janelle Monae covers the latest issue of UPTOWN magazine.
The Electric Lady dishes on being a covergirl, explaining her aesthetic, her music, changing the world and more.
Check out some snippets from her interview below.
You are tired of explaining your aesthetic?
Yes. Interviews are like marriages sometimes, and things become old. It’s time to spruce up this sex life! We need to try some new things. I am always asked, “Why do you wear that tuxedo?” Or, “We know that your parents wore uniforms, is that why you wear a uniform?” [Her mother worked as a janitor and her father a garbage truck driver.] I want to tell them, “You know good and darn well [a scant southern accent emerges] that you read that somewhere! I am wondering “Why are you asking me the same question?” Let’s talk about the music, the message and why my eyelashes are long!
How excited were you to become a Cover Girl?
To be on a roster with Queen Latifah, Ellen DeGeneres and Sofia Vergara is incredible. It’s so diverse. It’s breaking down barriers and changing the definition of beauty.
Do you feel a social responsibility with your artistry and celebrity?
If I were not a woman, or African-American, or have people in my life that have not been directly discriminated against, then I would not feel a social responsibility. When you love and care about people and you see young people dying, it’s impossible to ignore. Let me be clear: When I speak of androids, I am speaking of the new form of the ‘other.’ You can parallel that to people who are gay or lesbian, those whose skin is considered too dark; women still are not receiving equal rights. I write music that fights against self-hate. It is about loving yourself even if it makes others uncomfortable.
You told me back in 2006 that you wanted your music to change the world. Do you still feel as optimistic?
Yes! I want the music to make people burn their cubicles down and then pay for a new cubicle. I want people to not feel afraid to ask for help. Not feel afraid to crawl. Not feel afraid to dance in front of strangers. It’s about shaving your head, saving your hair and never looking back. I want people to do things that they never thought they would do before.
What do you want to do?
I don’t want to know what’s next. I have a lot of things up my sleeve. But I have to be careful [and watch] these pop artists that are bigger than me. They will take your ideas! I have to keep knocking down doors, crowd-surf and keep having Diddy professionally slap people. Oh, and I also want to eat ice cream with 17 electric ladies. Let’s not forget that.