Interview with Janelle Monáe: “I consider myself a free ass motherfucker.”

What she thinks her late mentor Prince would have said about “Make me feel”:

It’s difficult for me to talk about Prince, because hewas a friend. He still is a friend and a mentor to me in many ways. I can still feel his presence. I had the honour of touring with him, having a very personal relationship with him. He was on my last album “The electric Lady”. We did a song called “Give em what they want”. He was a huge supporter of me and Wondaland, my arts collective and production team. So we tried to tell him sonically where we were trying to go with the album. As he has done in the past, he said “hey, listen to this or here are some sounds I used or that I’ve loved in the past. Take a listen to those and see if they don’t inspire you. He was just always there. Not there to try and executive produce but to just say ‘here is where you’re going. Try to listen to these things.  So I think his giving spirit is one I am forever indebted to. I’ve learned so much from just being around him. Our conversations have always been very fruitful. I miss him and whenever I can honour him or pay homage to him, by still being my unique self, I’ll do that. I want this generation to know about him and never forget that brilliance that was Prince.

What comes to her mind when she thinks about Prince now:

What comes to mind now is that it’s important as artists that we use our voices. Prince was very vocal about the oppression of black people and he was very protective of black music and our sound and what we were able to do with. It’s important for me not to let his work as this free, liberated artist go to ways and not be in vain. He fought for our rights as artists. I feel a personal responsibility to stay as innovative and progressive and thought provoking as possible, because he knocked down so many doors for us to do that. There will never be another Prince. That will never happen. And I think we can pay respect and homage to him while still being our unique selves. And I am happy to speak from a lense of  a black woman in America and I was happy tobe supported by Prince and I leave it at that.

Photo: Leila Ivarsson

On the Vagina-monologue scene in the “Django Jane” video: 

I loved how powerful it was. Let the vagina have a monologue. It was a strong way to get across the point. I didn’t wanna censor myself with “Django Jane”. It’s inspired by this book called “The great cosmic mother” and I consider myself a part of the Goddess movement. They talk about this in this book and they also talk about the matriarchal societies existed before patriarchy and how women just really got along each other. They were raising their children. They were just fine. Until a group of men came along and basically divisive tactics to divide the women and to conquer those communities. They used religion to control women, to control women’s sexuality and reproductive systems. And I think it’s time that we just understand and know where we come from and know the truth and undo and resist all the patriarchy and all the teaching that patriarchy has brain washed a lot of women. Even me. I had to check myself and my way of thinking and realize that women are strong. We have always been strong. We always had the agency and it was taken away from us. And now it’s time to take it back. So I need to remind every male – not every man thinks like that – but every man who doesn’t respect women, who feel the need to oppress women, because they think our rise means they become powerless, we have to remind them that women have contributed so much to this world. We’ve given birth to a nation, to multiple nations around the globe. We built so many societies. And also it’s a response to the sting for being called bitch for the 1st time by a man who does not respect you. The sting of feeling like you rights as a woman are being trampled on.

Why women should have more vagina-monologues:

I don’t think our vaginas are the only thing that make us powerful. I just wanna say that. I don’t wanna emphasize or objectify the vagina. It’s powerful, it’s amazing, it’s like a time travel machine. It’s very sacred. I think it’s just being in tune with our bodies, owning our bodies. Having the agency around our bodies to do what we please and never allowing men or women to stop as from being as fearless and free as we possibly can

On what she thinks the future will bring. Will there still be racism and sexism?

I think we have to constantly fight racism and sexism. Unfortunately it has no race, it has no gender. We all can be injected with the disease that is sexism and racism. We just have to correct ourselves and check one another and speak out of love. And I hope the future that I am in has a generation that does not in the power of racism and sexism and they don’t wanna see it existing.

Dirty Computer is due out on April 27th. Find more info on http://www.jmonae.com/

Interview via WMG.

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Melissa Wilke

Editor-in-chief | After two years in PR, I now work as an Account Manager in an advertising agency in the beautiful city of Duesseldorf. I’ve been blogging for 7 years on several websites and started working as a freelance writer for music magazines in 2013. I believe in the social value of music and its power to change the world for the better. My favourite bands/artists are Green Day, Enter Shikari, Linkin Park, Marmozets, SWMRS, Lana del Rey, Paramore, Foo Fighters, Nirvana and too many more to list them all.

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