"Cindy is an android and I love speaking about the android because they are the new “other”. People are afraid of the other and I believe we’re going to live in a world with androids because of technology and the way it advances. The first album (The Chase) she was running because she had fallen in love with a human and she was being disassembled for that.
This time around we’re talking about The Arch Android the chosen one, the neyo of the matrix or the Archangel from the Bible. She (Cindy) finds out that she is indeed the one and is the mediator between the haves and have not. She’s the one who can get rid of all the discrimination within the android community. It deals with self realization as she realizes that she is that."
Janelle Monáe is one of the most interesting artists I have ever stumbled upon in my entire life. Not only does she make music, but she makes a story out of her albums, and eventually, an alter-ego. In her first official album, The ArchAndroid, we can clearly see where her inspiration comes from: the 1927 film Metropolis by Franz Lang. We especially see this in her pictures, with the buildings modeled after the complex architecture of the film. Throughout her whole discography, she has tracks called Suite Overtures that are chilling scores to complete the story she's telling. She sets the story somewhere in the future in a place called Metropolis, where love and freedom are suppressed and fading.Thus enters her alter-ego, Cindi Mayweather.
"When you talk about androids there are so many parallels between androids and African-Americans, androids and minorities, androids and gay people, androids and females. We’re talking about those who are oftentimes discriminated against or treated as less-than, and I just thought it was such a world that hadn’t been talked about in that way and I wanted to be one of the first to do it.”
What I find ironic here is that the story is very futuristic but her sound has classic funk and R&B factors playing in. In her next album Electric Lady, her story is even clearer when Monáe includes tracks that are recordings of a radio show where the DJ that supports the demonstration of Cindi. She has songs of empowerment like Victory, Electric Lady, and especially Q.U.E.E.N. Her song Ghetto Woman is actually dedicated to her mom and the lyrics tell of the hardships she and her mother faced back then.
Is all of this creativity and complexity just for art's sake? Of course not. Monáe and Mayweather share the same goals, which is to spread love in all sectors of the earth.
"I feel like there are constant parallels with me as a woman, being an African-American woman, to what it means for the community that people consider to be queer, the community of immigrants and the Negroid-the combination between the 'N' and the android. All of us have very similar fights with society and oppressors, with those who are not about love, who are more about judging. There are two different types of people: Some people come into this world to judge, some people come into this world to jam. Which one are you? It's a question we should all ask ourselves. My job is to create art that starts a dialogue, to create songs and lyrics that ask society these questions, by using myself as a sacrificial lamb."
-on her song "Q.U.E.E.N."
Honestly, why am I writing about her? Just listen or read her interviews, that's all you need to see how great she is. She has such eloquence and class when she speaks. It feels like she has a speech prepared in her mind whenever she opens her mouth. She's a very simple woman. She grew up from one of the poorest sectors in Kansas City and worked her way up to the charts through the support of her fellow African-Americans. She is most famous for sporting black and white suits but not as a fashion statement, but rather a uniform. It's to pay homage to her parents and the working class to remind her to be humble and simple. Plus, she loves minimalism.
- Anna Cayco
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