Janelle Monáe Talks Coming Out: 'Nobody Tells Me What To Do'
The singer says she's working on music that's "less heady and less about fighting against opposition."
We’re kicking off Pride this week with the endlessly impressive Janelle Monáe.
This is someone who’s been at the top of my Dream List since the podcast began and she didn’t disappoint.
For Pride, we'll also be sharing interviews with Danica Roem (the first out trans person elected to a state legislator), Broadway’s André De Shields, Mama Gloria Allen, and a few others who are just as exciting.
If like me you’re a fan of Janelle’s career-defining 2018 album Dirty Computer, you’ll be happy to know that new music is on the way. She says she’s in a "celebratory space" and told me on the podcast that's being reflected in her music.
"I'm being super present, I'm laughing more, I'm partying with my friends more, I'm really more relaxed as an artist and so I think that my music is probably going to be, without giving too much away, less heady and less about fighting against opposition."
Janelle also has a new science fiction book out, a collection of short stories called The Memory Librarian. Expanding on the world created in Dirty Computer, she writes about a future where memories can be controlled and erased. Surveillance is everywhere and a courageous few seek to hold on to their “dirtiness.”
It’s eerily prescient given what’s going on in the world right now. Texas passed a law that restricts classroom instruction on controversial social and historical issues. School districts across the United States are asking that educators teach “both sides” on atrocities like the Holocaust. Politicians are knowingly lying, trying to make us doubt, even erase our memories.
And Monáe has taken note.
“One of the main points that’s super important is about the threat of censorship, memory censorship. Memories are essentially our stories that we tell ourselves to survive.”
“We lived in a nation that asked us to forget in order to find wholeness, but memory of who we’ve been — of who we’ve been punished for being — was always the only map into tomorrow.”
Thanks for listening and as always, thanks for sharing our episodes. If you are feeling generous, please text a friend who you think will like our interview with Janelle. We’ve learned that personal recommendations like that are the biggest way that new listeners find our show.
See you next week.