Tag Archives: Janelle Monae

Why You Should Hop on the Janelle Monáe + Wondaland Bandwagon

25 Aug

WondalandJanelle Monáe = Natural hair goddess + activist + amazing singer + spunky dancer + leader of Wondaland Records.

She and her Wondaland crew, artists she hand-picked to join her label, have been touring the country showcasing their new music.

And they are FIRE! 🔥 🔥 🔥

I got a chance to see them last week when they stopped in Los Angeles. Unlike other concerts and music festivals I’ve been to, where the artists play there music in the background while they lazily half-sing along to the lyrics, Janelle actually gets into the performance. She sings live, dances along, and has a lot of fun on the stage.

Everyone in Wondaland, Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, St. Beauty, and Deep Cotton, also has an electrifying stage presence. Between the vocal skills of St. Beauty and Roman GianArthur to the fun lyrics of all of Jidenna’s songs, to the energy Deep Cotton had on the stage, the show was EPIC.

These up-and-coming artists are extremely impressive.

Jidenna
You may have caught this beautiful man in Janelle’s “Yoga” video, or, checked out his song “Classic Man” and the remix with Kendrick Lamar. Not only does he have the face of an angel (a very sexy angel) and the style of the gods, he’s pretty fun to watch on stage. He cracks jokes and his songs are all catchy.

Roman GianArthur
When I first heard Roman on Jidenna’s “Classic Man,” I thought he was another rapper—but actually, this man has a smooth voice. With guitar in hand, his songs will give you the feels.

St. Beauty
Everything about St. Beauty is, well, beautiful. They have soft, angelic voices and striking looks p. They’re hair would be included on anyone #NaturalHairGoals Pintrest board. Basically, Black Girl Magic oozes from their pores.

Deep Cotton
I couldn’t quite make out what Deep Cotton was singing above their loud rock music, but they were quite entertaining to watch. They are the epitome of the “carefree black man,” and they enter a genre that isn’t quite as welcoming of black men.

Not only are all of these artists talented, but also, they contribute to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. In every city the crew performs, they also march and protest with local organizers and activists. They’ve also put a new song called “Hell You Talm Bout,” which highlights recent cases in police brutality.

Wondaland = Talent + Consciousness

After seeing the show, I’m about to go buy their EP, the Eephus.

By the way, they have a few more shows coming up. Visit their website to see if you can get tickets.

Advertisements

So You Haven’t Heard of Afrofuturism?

21 Feb

AFROFUTURISM

So you haven’t yet heard of Afrofuturism?

Please, allow me to upgrade your life to a plateau of awesomeness where time travel is the norm, Androids reign supreme, and Janelle Monáe happily twerks in the mirror wearing, of course, black and white.

Picture a cultural meta-genre that encompasses some of the most incredible artists, musicians, entertainers, filmmakers, philosophers, and scholars—an aesthetic where Octavia Butler, Grace Jones, Janelle Monáe, W.E.B. Dubois, Will Smith, Michael Jackson, and Erykah Badu all take center stage with a common inspiration.

A meta-genre, an ideology, an aesthetic, a movement…

AFROJANLLE

Welcome to Afrofuturism 101

Imagine a near or distant future beyond the African diaspora. Afrofuturism combines black history, present, and future to envision liberation from “otherness” and oppression through a sci-fi lens.

In less fancy words, Afrofuturism is black science fiction that is deeply interested in liberation, cultural celebration, and breaking down barriers of oppression. It provides a geeky medium for social commentary.

Afrofuturism creates a world where the black experience exists outside of the typical go-to image of thug-life (which even Justin Beiber is claiming now), “the struggle,” and hopelessness, where black people can be scientists, nerds, superheroes, aliens, and more.

Finally, the movement is inherently feminist. It creates a space for women to exist outside of the negative “isms.” It accepts women’s bodies of all shapes and sizes. Most importantly, it promotes equality.

AFROWMAN

I recently picked up the book Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture by filmmaker, author and comic book writer Ytasha L. Womack (Yes, black women write comics…are you surprised?). The book is the perfect handbook of Afrofuturism. It’s sure to be a favorite of comic book-lovers, star-gazers, sci-fi freaks, techies, cosplayers, and everyone else in between or on the outskirts. The cover alone will draw you in.

AFROME

It’s definitely a book to check out for Black History Month, or any other month really. You’d be surprised at how this ideology makes its way into even the most unsuspecting places: middle school and university classrooms, community development plans, and grassroots movements.

Or, check out  iAfrofuturism and afrofuturism.net, 2 websites dedicated to the movement.

And by the way guys: A Womyn’s Worth just got a Facebook page (I know—long overdue). So for all of you who can’t follow on WordPress, go ahead and like it on Facebook, share it with your friends, and enjoy.

P.S. This article is part of the Top Posts. Check out the Best of A Womyn’s Worth.

YES YOU CAN: Twerk and Have a Brain

15 Nov

LILY ALLEN2“It’s hard out here for a bitch,” says British so-called feminist singer Lily Allen in her latest song, “It’s Hard Out Here.” The video is satirical and supposed to critique the music industry’s expectations of women. Yet in the process, Allen upholds oppressive views of black sexuality.

Allen sings, “Inequality promises that it’s here to stay.”

Yes it does, Lily Allen, because you’re promoting it.

So welcome to this week’s episode of “How Not to be a Feminist,” starring Lily Allen.

She sings about how women in the industry are objectified—and then she turns right around and objectifies the backup dancers, who are mostly black women.

The message is clear: It’s not okay to objectify women, unless they’re women of color.

In the video, Allen is fully clothed doing a few dance moves here and there (but mostly just standing around), surrounded by half-naked black women twerking as if their lives depended on it. Allen stands out from the dancing women in her clothes and minimal dance moves as if she I somehow better than them. These scenes all happen right after she says, “Don’t need to shake my ass for you cause I’ve got a brain.”

Allen would like us all to know that she has a brain—and the women shaking their asses for her video…well… I guess they don’t get to decide if they’re intelligent or not because Lily Allen did it for them.

When did shaking your ass become synonymous with being unintelligent? There are plenty of smart women who dance provocatively when they want to and then study their asses off or go to their meaningful careers the next day.

One person tweeted in response, “I shake my ass in front of my degree every morning. Then I shake my ass at my desk at work–senior front-end developer, thanks.”

When I find myself at a party, club, or in front of a mirror when no one’s looking, I’ll shake my ass too. Hey Lily, look…I have a brain too.

The video is a classic case of satire gone very wrong. Instead of correcting the industry, Allen added herself to the list of white woman artists that dehumanize black women. It was as if Miley Cyrus (swear I won’t use her name any more) dressed up as a feminist for Halloween—but underneath the costume is the same ignorance and oppression.

If anything, Allen’s video proved one thing—it’s harder out here for some women than others (something women of color have proved time and time again). Allen and her white singer counterparts aren’t demonized for their sexuality in the same way black women are. It’s assumed that Lily is a person, while the dancers aren’t even considered to be fully human. As Mia McKenzie from Black Girl Dangerous explains it, the video cuts away at the bodies of black women as if they are parts and pieces, instead of full human beings. The video lifts up women of a certain complexion while oppresses those of another. That’s the same kind of privileged fake feminism I talked about in last week’s post.

Lesson learned: Check you’re feminism, or others surely will.

Welp, guess it’s back to listening to Janelle Monae.

Related Posts: Feminism Gets a Bad Facelift

Top Women Rappers You NEED on Your Playlist

%d bloggers like this: