IT GIRL: JANELLE MONAE
IT GIRL: JANELLE MONAE
By Camille Sarabia
Through cover stories, spotlights and our signature It Girl column, Wiles Magazine shines a monthly spotlight on women who embody our core principles of poise, purpose and power. This month, we’re proud to pay tribute to the ultimate rising star: songstress, style maven and real-life Cinderella Janelle Monae.
“They trying to take all your dreams, but you can’t allow it,”–These words lead into the chorus of Janelle Monáe’s hit track “Tightrope”, but her lyrics are more than just words to carry a catchy tune. These words tell her story.
Janelle Monáe is a real life Cinderella. The only difference is: there’s no fairy godmother, magical pumpkin carriage or a prince charming to dance at the ball with. No, she didn’t captivate the world of music by sheer luck. Janelle Monáe’s success was gained from her hard work, perseverance and unwavering support from her family.
The 28-year old has an effortless charisma that’s as smooth as her dance moves. She’s become an hit overnight with her stunning voice, classy style and her inspiring personality. Monáe takes the top hit charts by storm, but she doesn’t let fame take her down or deter her from her goals. She is a constant role model to young girls by encouraging them to fight for their dreams.
At the 2012 BET BLACK GIRLS ROCK Janelle Monáe won the Young, Gifted & Black Award. She accepted the awards with poise and graciousness, but that wasn’t without her inspiring speech that accompanied it.
“When I started my musical career, I was a maid. I used to clean houses,” she said to her young wide-eyed audience. “My mother was a proud janitor, my stepfather, who raised me like his very own, worked at the post office and my father was a trash man. They all wore uniforms. That’s why I stand here today in my black and white and I wear my uniform to honor them.”
In 2010, Monáe’s hit song “Tightrope” was named the Rolling Stone’s eighth best single in their 2010 year-end list, was featured in the credits of the film Happy Feet Two and was nominated as Best Urban/Alternative Performance at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. This single, in her debut album The ArchAndroid following her EP album, made Janelle Monáe a star.
Monáe’s lyrics are sung with inspiring messages through her fun, upbeat and funky styled music.
“Whether you’re high or low,” she sings in a swaying danceable rhythm, “Baby whether you’re high or low, you gotta tip on the tightrope.”
Anyone who hears the track could be tempted to impulsively start tap dancing like the talented Monáe. The song has a simple meaning. It expresses that whether a person is a high or low point in their life, they need to maintain a balance.
Monáe continued her BET speech saying, “I didn’t have to become perfect because I’ve learned through my journey that perfection is often the enemy of greatness. Embrace what makes you unique, even if it makes other uncomfortable. I believe that it’s our uniqueness and our unique ideas that make us rock.”
Janelle Monáe can be seen as a modern Michael Jackson or Prince - both of whom she has previously declared as her musical inspirations. She’s got the iconic look: a classy tuxedo blazer that’s usually accompanied with a stylish bow tie, tappable patent leather oxfords that keep up with her smooth and energetic dance moves and a signature pompadour retro updo that completest the Janelle Monáe the world knows and admires.
In August 2012, Monáe was chosen to be one of the faces of Covergirl Cosmetics, allowing her to join the ranks of Queen Latifah, Sofia Vergara and Drew Barrymore. Her style campaigns are modeled after her own personal style of retro, bold and fun. However, being a Cover girl is more than just a job to Monáe, it’s a mission.
“I have people to uplift, I have people to inspire,” she said in the conclusion of her BET speech, “Today I wear my uniform proudly, as a Covergirl. I want to be clear young girls, I didn’t have to change who I was to become a Covergirl.”
If there’s one sure thing about Janelle Monáe it’s this: she’s never pretended to be anything more than who she is. She’s talented, beautiful, bold, stylish and an inspiration to women of any age. Those attributes are not only what make her into being an “easy breezy beautiful Covergirl,” but are also the reasons as to why the world can’t seem to get enough of her.
Some may say that Janelle Monáe is not a real-life Cinderella. She’s not a damsel in distress, she’s the hero. She’s a driven career woman and a gifted singer/songwriter. Janelle Monáe has certainly made sure that whether she’s high or low, this Electric Lady is remarkable in every way.