At just 21, the seemingly self-assured and beautiful Janelle Monáe released her first EP, "Metropolis," detailing the troubles of the android Cindi Mayweather. In the album Mayweather fell in love with a human, Anthony Greendown, and is on the run from the futuristic authorities as the love of a human and android is forbidden in this world.
The intriguing futuristic and sci-fi based world created by Monáe is only built upon more in her albums "The ArchAndroid" and "The Electric Lady." "The Arch-Android" adds more to the story behind Cindi's love of Greendown and her flight from the authorities. The album features some wonderful orchestral suites that only add to the futuristic adventure. "The Electric Lady" features more orchestral overtures and interesting radio interludes that offer the perspective of the other androids on the issue of capturing Cindi Mayweather.
Monáe's latest album, "Dirty Computer," is a little bit different.
Although the album still features the futuristic world reminiscent of Monáe's past albums, Cindi Mayweather is now Jane and the love the album focuses on primarily is Jane's love of a woman, not a man. In the film, Janelle created for the album, what she refers to as an "emotion picture," sex and love of anyone are very prevalent.
The explosively colorful scene Janelle creates with her album is bolder and more out-there than any of her previous albums. Her songs "Pynk" and "Make Me Feel" are blatantly sexual.
Janelle has compared her use of android oppression to the oppression people in the black and L.G.B.T.Q. communities are currently facing, oppression Monáe herself has probably faced by being a woman and a member of those aforementioned communities.
However, Janelle is no longer hiding behind her android persona.
The subtle messages Monáe alludes to in her albums come fleshed out in the open in "Dirty Computer" along with the whole identity of Monáe herself. "Dirty Computer" is clearly an album where the lyrics speak to Monáe's personal experience, whereas Monáe's previous albums have spoken more to the story of Cindi Mayweather.
Although I am usually more of a fan of subtlety than bold in-your-face messages, I believe that Janelle's boldness is appropriate. This is especially because she has built up to this brash boldness with albums full of subtlety. The message is so effective because Monáe has stayed in the shadows behind the subtleties of Cindi Mayweather for so long. This is her way of pronouncing to the world that she is here, and she is different, but that does not mean that she belongs any less than any person.
She shows that we are all the same at the core, we are all "pynk" inside.
I admire Janelle a lot for boldly pronouncing who she is with this album. This album made me realize how strongly I identify with the female gender and made me proud to be a woman.
This album is an anthem for women, for queer people, for all minorities, and essentially for all people in general.
We need more bold proclamations like this in 2019. This album pushes everyone to accept those who have been oppressed. With Janelle's raw and exposed album perhaps the world will begin to learn that love and acceptance are for everyone, not just a select few.