Janelle Monae graces the cover of the October/November 2013 issue of Uptown Magazine.
In the issue, which hits stands next week, Monae speaks about being signed to Bad Boy/Atlantic and how label head Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, who was once her biggest cheerleader, is now her ‘professional slapper’.
He is the ambassador and protector of the jam. He makes sure that our ideas get out into the world. He is not involved creatively.
He is the spokesperson for corporations when it’s time to talk business. When we don’t want to have conversations with suits, he goes in and slaps people for us. He is our highest professional slapper. He slaps anyone that tries to mess up the jam.
Monae also talks about why she thinks some people just don’t ‘get’ her and how she feels a social responsibility to speak out through her music.
Check out photos from the spread + more excerpts below…
“What is the biggest misconception that people have about you?
People think I am so straitlaced and buttoned up. There is a lot of life underneath this tuxedo. I like to have fun. I enjoy practical jokes. I enjoy rolling around the mall in wheelchairs. I enjoy taking someone’s baby and putting it on my hip for about two hours straight and then giving it back.
Do you feel a social responsibility with your artistry and celebrity?
If I were not a woman, or African-American, or have people in my life that have not been directly discriminated against, then I would not feel a social responsibility. When you love and care about people and you see young people dying, it’s impossible to ignore.
Let me be clear: When I speak of androids, I am speaking of the new form of the ‘other.’ You can parallel that to people who are gay or lesbian, those whose skin is considered too dark; women still are not receiving equal rights. I write music that fights against self-hate. It is about loving yourself even if it makes others uncomfortable”
Do you think sometimes your lyrics and concepts go over people’s heads?
I realized that I was over-complicating things at one point. I told myself, “You don’t have to do that.” I was getting the sense that I was talking over people’s heads. Just like Erykah Badu sings, “What good do your words do/If they can’t understand you?”
What would you like for people to understand?
That I am constantly growing at a very rapid speed. But hell, I don’t even understand myself at times.
As I continue to grow into Janelle, so will everyone else. But everything is authentic and honest, I will say.
If you ‘get’ her, you ‘get’ her. If you don’t, you don’t.
What do you think of Janelle Monae’s recent interview?
Click HERE to more of Janelle Monae’s interview over at Uptown.
[Photo credit: Marc Baptiste/Uptown]