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Janelle Monáe’s new videos touch on Prince, bisexuality, feminism and fans can’t deal

Kansas City native Janelle Monáe dropped two new music videos on Thursday — “Make Me Feel” and “Django Jane.” And what’s that? Oh yeah, she included a shout-out to Kansas City.
Kansas City native Janelle Monáe dropped two new music videos on Thursday — “Make Me Feel” and “Django Jane.” And what’s that? Oh yeah, she included a shout-out to Kansas City. Screengrab

This is one of those days we think Janelle Monáe fans live for.

But we can’t verify that because we can’t find any of them — they’re all hiding out watching the two new music videos the KCK native dropped Thursday — “Make Me Feel” and “Django Jane.”

Both singles appear on her new album, “Dirty Computer,” coming out April 27. It will be her first in five years.

 

#DirtyComputer

A post shared by Janelle Monáe (@janellemonae) on

Let’s just say music critics and social media users are in a race to use all the best, most clever words in the dictionary to describe the videos, which MTV astutely points out sound nothing alike.

Here’s one word: Prince.

“To paraphrase one of them, they make us feel so effing good,” gushes Slate, who, like everyone else with ears can hear (and feel) the late singer’s influence in “Make Me Feel.”

Slate flat-out names Monáe Prince’s “natural successor.”

The song “answers the question ‘What would Beyoncé’s ‘Blow’ music video look like if it were directed by Prince?’” declares GQ.

“Not only does the accompanying music video show off Monáe’s androgynous style and unbelievably smooth moves, it also quickly turns into a bisexual anthem as Monáe bounces back and forth between male and female love interests, the latter of whom is played by Tessa Thompson.”

And, about all those why-you-keep-askin’ questions about Monáe’s sexuality?

Just hush and watch the video.

“You may not have known you’ve been asking that question all your life, but you have,” writes GQ.

“What it looks like is Monáe and Tessa Thompson hanging out, wearing a lot of colors and sequins, making eyes at every woman they see, with backup dancers dressed like Grace Jones.”

The anthemic “Django Jane” is heavier than the danceable “Make Me Feel,” offering allusions, as Twitter has noticed, to her acting work in the Oscar-winning “Moonlight” and “Hidden Figures,” as she raps “backed by dancers giving a Rhythm Nation vibe,” notes Elle.

Here, she mentions Kansas City, too.

“A-Town, made it out there. Straight out Kansas City, yeah, we made it out there. Celebrated, graduated, made it pass/fail. Sassy, classy, Kool-Aid with the kale. Momma was a G, she was cleaning hotels. Poppa was a driver, I was working retail.”

The Guardian, in an interview with Monáe posted on Thursday, describes “Django Jane” as one of her most political songs to date, a “rallying cry, a rebellious protest anthem for women in general.”

It smacks mansplaining up the side of its Cro-Magnon head with lyrics like this one: “Hit the mute button, let the vagina have a monologue.”

The song, she told the Guardian, is “a response to me feeling the sting of the threats being made to my rights as a woman, as a black woman, as a sexually liberated woman, even just as a daughter with parents who have been oppressed for many decades.

“Black women and those who have been the ‘other,’ and the marginalized in society — that’s who I wanted to support, and that was more important than my discomfort about speaking out.”

MTV notes that “Django Jane” is “laser-focused on her ambition with one liners for days.”

See if you can hear them.

Earlier this week, Monáe was also featured in a W magazine photo shoot directed by Jordan Peele. The piece, called “Noir Town,” was an homage to Alfred Hitchock films, with Monáe into the lead role.

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