Janelle Monae has spent her artistic career being inspired by the free. Monae’s creative influences stem from the greats who came before, like Prince and Bowie. Her latest video “Make Me Feel” is an honest nod to those who inspired a space for artists like Monae to be their own version of free. In this latest rendition of her craft Monae finds a new sense of vulnerability, bringing the past with her into the future.
Dirty Computer will be the first album Monae has released in five years. Slated for release April 27, 2018 by Wondaland Arts Society, Epic Records and Sony Music, it will also be her first album since Prince’s death. Prince was a mentor to Monae and was featured on her last album Electric Lady. The video “Make Me Feel” is a respectful reference to Prince’s famous video and song “Kiss.”
Throughout the video Monae ignites an exciting, courageous, and fresh statement on what the strength of a sexually liberated woman can look like. From being seen braless, with see-through pants, to crawling through legs of women in a skin tight leotard, Monae engages a body positive perspective of herself and the women around her.
The story of the video follows Monae caught up in a love triangle between a man and a woman. Utilizing this sexually fluid imagery, the song becomes an anthem for those who relate to the bi-sexual experience.
While her new representation of herself and her sexuality are genuine and inspiring, the moments that strike me the most in the video are not the tug of war between her two lovers. Instead I’m drawn to her own fierce sense of self love, an act which can, in and of itself, be an act of resistance and freedom. As an artist and activist Monae’s new video is an ode to how much one can champion in the simple act of being their own free selves.