Janelle Monae, pop star, burgeoning style icon. Story by Emily Blake.
Pop music is breaking my heart. It seems these days a slick mix + extravagant visual spectacle = success. I love theatricality as much as the next person, and I have been known to crank up the Britney on occasion, but I long for the musicality of The Beach Boy’s Pet Sounds, the raw energy of Joan Jett singing “I Love Rock and Roll”, and the unadulterated hope that runs through me when I hear Sam Cooke croon “A Change Is Gonna Come.” I want to feel something, think something.
Enter Janelle Monae. Her album The ArchAndroid is based around the story of a futuristic society, with androids representing a segregated minority. In the video for the first single “Tightrope” featuring OutKast’s Big Boi, we find our heroine locked in a facility that forbids dancing. (Echoes of Footloose, anyone?) What ensues is one of the most mesmerising videos I have ever watched, both for the quality of performers, but also for its impeccable styling.