Monday Mixer: Janelle Monáe sings ‘Beat It,’ Misty Copeland takes on Trump

Janelle Monae paid a visit to Conan O’Brien last week.
Janelle Monae paid a visit to Conan O’Brien last week.

Actress and singer Janelle Monáe of KCK stopped by TBS’ “Conan” last week to tell the host about the time she belted out Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” in the middle of church.

Monáe also compared pompadour hairdos and ran her fingers through O’Brien’s hair. satirized it as the most egregious attempt to normalize someone’s hair since Jimmy Fallon mussed up then-candidate Donald Trump’s ’do.

Meanwhile, Monáe and Grimes’ freaky awesome “Venus Fly” video is finally available for all to see on YouTube. It previously was available only on Tidal. See it below.

▪ Kansas City native Misty Copeland hasn’t shied away from her status as a role model before or since she became the first black female principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre.

So, as NBC News notes, it’s no real surprise that she joined actor Dwayne Johnson and NBA superstar Steph Curry in disagreeing with the pro-Trump statements made by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank.

Copeland took to Instagram to voice her concern about Plank’s comments.

“I have always appreciated the great support and platform that Under Armour has given me to represent my community, gender, and career on the world stage,” Copeland said. “However, I strongly disagree with Kevin Plank’s recent comments in support of Trump as recently reported. Those of you who have supported and followed my career know that the one topic I’ve never backed away from speaking openly about is the importance of diversity and inclusion.”

You can read her full comments below.

▪ KC native Stephen McKinley Henderson joined Monae as two of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Virtuoso Award winners earlier this month.

The award goes to actors giving breakthrough performances in the last year.

Monae starred in “Hidden Figures” and “Moonlight,” and Henderson is a big part of “Fences” and a small part of “Manchester by the Sea.” All four films are up for best picture this year.

Also recognized: Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Ruth Negga, Dev Patel, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Simon Helberg.

▪ Last year around springtime, it was announced that KC’s Paul Rudd would play the lead in the film adaptation of Nicholas Dawidoff’s “The Catcher Was a Spy,” based on the life story of Moe Berg, a journeyman baseball player and a spy for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA). In recent weeks, that project has picked up several co-stars, including Guy Pearce, Paul Giamatti and Jeff Daniels. Filming was scheduled to begin Feb. 13. No release date has been set.

▪ Jason Sudeikis’ fiancee, Olivia Wilde, debuted her new mostly blond locks on Instagram last week.

“When you roll up to the party with your new look and it turns out you just single white femaled your friend you haven’t seen in a year,” she wrote.

Her friend? Kate Mara, who sported the same look at a Tiffany event last week.

▪ KC’s Katherine McNamara tells that her fantasy show “Shadowhunters” on Freeform is now more closely connected to the real world than ever.

“It’s the fact that there are so many rigid rules and so many divisions in our world that are merely there because of archaic beliefs,” she said. “It’s the same in the Shadow World. There’s certain prejudices, certain stigmatisms, and certain things that prevent people from uniting and prevent different people and different beings from working together in this world. Because of tradition and because of the way they were raised, older generations sometimes are less willing to be flexible within those.”

Read the full interview here.

▪ KC’s Rob Riggle emceed the Giving Back Fund’s 8th Annual Big Game Big Give poker tournament on Super Bowl weekend. Among the participants: Josh Brolin, David Schwimmer, Michael Phelps and Common. Riggle’s involvement scored Big Slick and Children’s Mercy Hospital $25,000.

Gig guide

▪ This is one of the biggest music weeks of the year in Kansas City, as the Folk Alliance International Conference comes to the Westin Crown Center beginning on Wednesday. The conference runs through Sunday. More info can be found at

▪ Sting performs Thursday at the Uptown Theater. The show is officially sold out, but some tickets are available through ticket resellers. More info about the show at

▪ Jazz keyboardist, composer and bandleader Robert Glasper performs Saturday at the Folly. Tickets are $20-$50 through

▪ Singer/songwriter Tift Merritt performs Sunday at Knuckleheads. Tickets are $17.50 through

Stuff to do

▪ Comedian Bill Engvall performs Friday at the Kauffman Center. Tickets are $39-$69 at

▪ Arenacross comes to Sprint Center Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $15-$50 through

▪ Discover the Dinosaurs comes to Bartle Hall Saturday through Monday. Tickets are $18-$54 through

New this week

▪ Books: George Saunders, “Lincoln in the Bardo”; Hester Young, “The Shimmering Road.” More here.

▪ Music: Eisley, “I’m Only Dreaming”; Ryan Adams, “Prisoner”; Son Volt, “Notes of Blue”; Strand of Oaks, “Hard Love.” More here.

▪ Movies: “Fist Fight”; “A Cure for Wellness”; “Toni Erdmann”; “Neruda”; “The Great Wall.”

▪ Video: “Arrival”; “The Edge of Seventeen”; “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.” More here.