How Janelle Monáe taught me to walk my own tightrope
December 21, 2016 at 5:52 pm
It would probably be an understatement to say I admire you. Anyone who knows me would know that you and I are married in my head.
I first discovered you when your video for "Tightrope" with B.O.B. and Lupe came out and I watched it, hoping for a new favorite song. Not only did I find that, but also a new favorite artist. I was drawn in by your look. I had never seen a woman so comfortable in tuxedo style clothing with her hair in a style I had never seen before. The song was dope and the black and white tone added to the greatness.
After listening to "Tightrope" a few more times, I searched around for more of your music and found The Archandroid. The cover itself was enough, but the songs were even better. This was an still is one of the few albums I enjoy listening to from the first track to the last without skipping or fast-forwarding ("Sir Greendown" is my favorite, though). The afro-futuristic, quirky, yet soulful sound of each song was unlike anything else I had heard. The way each song flowed into the next was something I've witnessed only a few times and wondered why every artist didn't do. The fact that I didn't feel like it fit under any genre made me love it even more.
After I went back and listened to your older music, I wondered where I had been hiding when you released it. I also wondered why every human being wasn't fantasizing about you like I was.
Your style is just as captivating as your music. Your comfort in who you are inspires me to not be afraid to be myself. What you wear, and how you carry yourself and your presence (or at least how I imagine it) are both each so interesting in their own respect. I know that if you could have as much confidence and realization in who you are in a world where everyone watches your every move, I know I should have the same in a world where hopefully no one watches mine.
As someone who wasn't always comfortable with who he was, I feel like I can relate to you and since discovering you, I've been more confident than ever. As a straight guy who I guess some would classify as "metrosexual," and isn't "manly" at all, I used to wonder why I was different, or why I didn't seem to fit in. Looking at you, a woman who dresses in tuxedos, moves like Prince and doesn't sing about heartbreak and revenge, you break a lot of social barriers in and outside of Hollywood, which somehow makes me own my differences and embrace them. You taught me that being different is better than being normal and that the only person that should care about how you live your life is yourself.
You sang about staying on your own tightrope, by staying on the one you created long ago. Little did you know you had encouraged me to stay on mine too.
For more community-submitted content, sign up for Blavity's daily newsletter.