Janelle Monáe gets personal and political on new tracks
Assistant A&E Editor | James Finney
On Feb. 22, listeners caught word of a new world of power, class and energy, Janelle Monáe’s world, with the two new hit singles “Django Jane” and “Make Me Feel.” With a little afro-futurist spunk and R&B soul, Monáe painted a fresh picture of what it means to embrace feminism and black culture, and in a surprise move, Monae got personal with her sexuality in a way that she never has before.
“Make Me Feel” starts off as many of Monáe’s songs and videos do dressed up in black & white and ready for a good time. Electric waves, and later a plucky guitar, flood your ears and energy starts to fill the room.
“Baby don’t make me spell it out for you,” she chirps playfully, as Monáe and her ‘friend’ are walking into an old club with a fitted arcade inside. Clean wood doors and dirty concrete walls are the look. Rainbow colors wash over the entire space as strangers get intimately close to each other.
Monáe continues, “All of these feelings that I’ve got for you,” as the pair walk deeper into the club. The video quickly begins to pick up the tempo, as it’s revealed that Monáe’s on a date, and even better, there’s a number three. A man meets the two at the club, and Monáe’s on a date with him too.
The song is all play, “You got the answers to my confessions,” she purrs, as the video transition to her dancing in a pair of practically transparent, rose-pattern pants. It’s a none-to-shy nod at how open she’s being.
“Make Me Feel” is a whole new step for Monáe, and it’s opened a whole lot of new doorways for her and her fans.
Monáe’s unabashed charisma bursts through in “Make Me Feel,” but she absolutely conquers her space in “Django Jane.”
The music video for the single opens up to Monáe’s “castle,” decked out in a pan-African aesthetic. White-gold pyramids grace an ebony table sitting before Monáe and her entourage in the dim light.
Immediately it’s made clear what’s about to happen, as Monáe dresses up in a pink suit with a gold kufi atop her head. It’s time to talk business.
As the video transitions to a scene of Monae in a red suit, laid back in a throne surrounded by her girls in black shades and leather jackets, Monáe doesn’t hesitate to let you know that you’re now in her world.
“Yah this is my palace, champagne in my chalice,” she raps, and the lady is serious. This Monáe’s first hard-hitting rap song and she’s here to deliver the word.
Monáe dishes line after line, celebrating the past five years of success with her acting career, showing love to her record label Wondaland and letting the world know how it is.
“Box office records and they doing outstanding.” She goes off, flaunting her own success and blaming it on the “Black girl magic.”
Moreover, Monáe reminds the world that that magic is going nowhere, and if there’s a problem with that, Monáe suggests moving to a whole other planet.
Just to be clear, this is Monáe’s new anthem. It’s the new word, and as if to solidify that point, she ends things with, “Let the vagina have a monologue… for the culture, I kamikaze.”