Janelle Monáe's "Dirty Computer" Is Special For Its Portrayal Of The Queer, Black Female Experience

Janelle Monáe's "Dirty Computer" Is Special For Its Portrayal Of The Queer, Black Female Experience

More celebrities should use their voices to stand up for marginalized groups.

I am not going to lie, but I did not pay much attention to Janelle Monáe until about a year ago. The only song of hers I knew was ‘Tightrope’ and even though I did really like the song, I never took the time to explore more of her music. However, when ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Hidden Figures’ came out and I saw how talented she was at acting, I was reminded of her music.

When I saw that ‘Make Me Feel,’ the lead single off her new album ‘Dirty Computer,’ came out, I immediately listened to it. Not only was the funky rhythm of the song infectious, but the music video showcased bisexuality through Monáe’s two love interests, which only made me anticipate her album even more.

This past week I have listened to ‘Dirty Computer’ in its entirety multiple times and watched the accompanying “emotion picture” of the same title. To put it simply, I was completely blown away. I do not know why it took me so long to become a fan of Monáe because she is undeniably talented.

Throughout the album, Monáe addresses the topics of being queer, black, and female with such intelligence that I felt moved knowing how influential ‘Dirty Computer’ was going to be because of the representation and social commentary it was providing.

Listening to the album without watching the film is a crime because they both work seamlessly together to tell the story of Monáe’s character, Jane 57821, navigating a dystopian world that highly resembles our own because of how she and her partners are hunted down for being different or “dirty.” They are told that the way they live is flawed because they are embracing qualities that should be eradicated: being queer, black, and female. Our current society also rejects anyone that falls under those three categories, but just like in ‘Dirty Computer,’ those who make up all three have an even larger target on their backs.

Monáe explained that prior to the creation of her new album, she was afraid to be her most authentic self. She hid behind the character of Cindi Mayweather and used her to speak about the issues that affect Monáe in a way that was easier to digest for the public. However, this persona is not present in 'Dirty Computer' because Monáe was inspired by the injustices that occur in our society to be herself and use her voice to speak out about racism, sexism, and homophobia without fear.

The songs ‘Pynk,’ ‘Django Jane,’ and ‘Make Me Feel’ are some of the most powerful on the album because of how they drive home the message that queer people, black people, and women deserve just as much love and respect as anyone else. Everything from the pants in ‘Pynk’ that resembled vaginas, to the black girl magic discussed in ‘Django Jane,’ to the sly approach used in ‘Make Me Feel’ to show that Monáe is interested in more than just men, was so well thought out that it left me at a loss for words.

‘Dirty Computer’ does a magnificent job of blending art with activism and Monáe should be applauded for both the album and the film. She was able to make several marginalized groups feel seen through her work while also representing the people that are at the intersections of those groups. I hope that this album can serve as an inspiration for other artists to use their popularity to spread a message of inclusivity and acceptance.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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11 Things Psychology Majors Hear That Drive Them Crazy

No pun intended.

We've all been there. You're talking to a new acquaintance, or a friend of your parents, or whoever. And then, you get the dreaded question.

"So what are you studying in school?"

Cue the instant regret of picking Psychology as your major, solely for the fact that you are 99.9% likely to receive one of the slightly comical, slightly cliche, slightly annoying phrases listed below. Don't worry though, I've included some responses for you to use next time this comes up in conversation. Because it will.

Quick side note, these are all real-life remarks that I've gotten when I told people I was a psych major.

Here we go.

1. So are you, like, analyzing me right now?

Well, I wasn't. But yeah. Now I am.

2. Ugh so jealous! You picked the easy major.

"Lol" is all I have to say to this one. I'm gonna go write my 15-page paper on cognitive impairment. You have fun with your five college algebra problems, though!

3. So can you tell me what you think is wrong with me? *Shares entire life story*

Don't get me wrong; I love listening and helping people get through hard times. But we can save the story about how one time that one friend said that one slightly rude comment to you for later.

4. Well, s**t, I have to be careful what I say around you.

Relax, pal. I couldn't diagnose and/or institutionalize you even if I wanted to.

5. OMG! I have the perfect first client for you! *Proceeds to vent about ex-boyfriend or girlfriend*

Possible good response: simply nod your head the entire time, while actually secretly thinking about the Ben and Jerry's carton you're going to go home and demolish after this conversation ends.

6. So you must kind of be like, secretly insane or something to be into Psychology.

Option one: try and hide that you're offended. Option two: just go with it, throw a full-blown tantrum, and scare off this individual, thereby ending this painful conversation.

7. Oh. So you want to be a shrink?

First off, please. Stop. Calling. Therapists. Shrinks. Second, that's not a psych major's one and only job option.

8. You know you have to go to grad school if you ever want a job in Psychology.

Not completely true, for the record. But I am fully aware that I may have to spend up to seven more years of my life in school. Thanks for the friendly reminder.

9. So you... want to work with like... psychopaths?

Let's get serious and completely not-sarcastic for a second. First off, I take personal offense to this one. Having a mental illness does not classify you as a psycho, or not normal, or not deserving of being treated just like anyone else on the planet. Please stop using a handful of umbrella terms to label millions of wonderful individuals. It's not cool and not appreciated.

10. So can you, like, read my mind?

It actually might be fun to say yes to this one. Try it out and see what happens. Get back to me.

11. You must be a really emotional person to want to work in Psychology.

Psychology is more than about feeling happy, or sad, or angry. Psychology is about understanding the most complex thing to ever happen to us: our brain. How it works the way it does, why it works the way it does, and how we can better understand and communicate with this incredibly mysterious, incredibly vast organ in our tiny little skull. That's what psychology is.

So keep your head up, psychology majors, and don't let anyone discourage you about choosing, what is in my opinion, the coolest career field out there. The world needs more people like us.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Short Stories On Odyssey: Roses

What's worth more than red roses?


Five years old and a bouquet of roses rested in her hands. The audience-- clapped away her performance, giving her a standing ovation. She's smiling then because everything made sense, her happiness as bright as the roses she held in her hands.

Fifteen now, and a pile of papers rested on her desk. The teachers all smiled when she walked down the aisle and gave them her presentation. She was content then but oh so stressed, but her parents happy she had an A as a grade, not red on her chest.

Eighteen now and a trail of tears followed her to the door. Partying, and doing some wild things, she just didn't know who she was. She's crying now, doesn't know anymore, slamming her fists into walls, pricking her fingers on roses' thorns.

Twenty-one and a bundle of bills were grasped in her hands. All the men-- clapped and roared as she sold her soul, to the pole, for a dance. She's frowning now because everything went wrong, but she has to stay strong, for rich green money, is worth more than red roses.

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