In an age where pop princesses shed layers of clothing to promote records, Janelle Monae is keeping the attention on her music. The beauty covers Elle Canada and opens up to the magazine about why you won’t see her posing nearly nude anytime soon:

“When I look at myself in the mirror, I’m attractive. I really have a nice body. And I had to pick: Do I want them to focus on my body? Do I want them to focus on how curvy and really, really gorgeous my figure is? Or do I want them to look at my music? What has more value? And I made that decision. I want them to focus on the message and the music because I feel like I have a higher calling [...] You have to protect your heart and your spirit so you’re not tainted by money, greed, power, arrogance…. I don’t get off on those things.”

Monae also spoke on being shy, working as a maid and being an influence to other women via Necole Bitchie:

On Being Shy:
“I am naturally shy. That’s what people are most surprised by, because when I’m onstage there’s nothing shy. It’s all electricity. I feel fearless.”

On Her Previous Job as a Maid:
“I got this Facebook message and it really just touched my heart and reminded me where I came from and how I can never complain. I’ll show you.[...]A lot of the women I worked with had rough lives. They were recovering addicts or getting out of jail.”

On Being a Positive, Powerful Influence & Inspiration:
“I have a responsibility to my community. I have a responsibility to tell the universe a story in an unforgettable way. I really want to open doors for all those starting to have their voice…. I want to speak to my cousins who are still in Kansas and feel like they don’t have anyone; I want to speak to the young lady who is trying to understand who she is and how she’s going to follow her dreams living in a disadvantaged environment. [...] I want to present a different perspective of what it means to be a strong woman, and I just hope to be an inspiration to the next generation of girls, to help them define what makes them unique and what makes them special.”

Janelle Monae continues to inspire and stay true to herself despite the pressures of the music business.

What do you think of Janelle Monae’s interview for Elle Canada, Clutchettes?

  • heide

    Interesting contrast to the blaring pic of Beyonce for GQ posted to the front page of this site. I wish her success. She’s certainly gotten everyone’s attention and strangely it has been with her music so maybe she’s on to something. Much success Ms. Monae

  • TheMuseintheMirror

    I thank God for Janelle Monae. I definitely needed to read that today. Now that’s what I call a powerhouse woman!

    She reminds me so much of myself. You go girl, and don’t let anything stop you from being yourself. You are beautiful because of that. I got MAD respect for this woman.

  • Rosey

    I love her personality and style. However, I would like to see her in other colors than black and white and maybe a different natural hairstyle.

  • emme

    I love Janelle Monet! I love her artistry and I love how she carries herself. I love when artists have back stories because it gives you an opportunity to know who they are inside.

  • jamesfrmphilly

    i buy her songs. i like them. i don’t care what she looks like.

  • BoutThatLove

    That first quote was super amazing. I am honored to read about a black woman who is speaking up on behalf of other woman who feel the same way she does, especially in the age of slut shaming and sexual liberation. And in a time where it is more liberating and honorable for a woman to aspire to look like and be like a woman from the cover of King magazine, instead of carrying herself with respect and honor. This is sexual liberation for some woman like me, when all you see is sex and black woman using their bodies as if it is all we as black woman have to offer. She is gorgeous and I respect woman with her mindset and who show that they have something more to offer than looks. She is definitely sending a positive message that shouldn’t be ignored.

    It is amazing that she is turning the tables on an industry by not allowing them to use her body for exploitation and by sending out a message that it is okay to be a black woman or girl and still have/reach success while not allowing ourselves to be exploited in general. (By your own people and by media)

    “I have a responsibility to my community.” ”I want to present a different perspective of what it means to be a strong woman, and I just hope to be an inspiration to the next generation of girls, to help them define what makes them unique and what makes them special.” This is what I am talking about, you go Janelle. It seems to be so popular amongst black celebrities and some black people to feel that they have no responsibility to their own people. It is sad.

    Sincerely Jane is my jam too, I still bump that.

  • MommieDearest

    A breath of fresh air….

  • Hmmmmm

    Sadly, a female artist today is expected to parade around in leotards or else the main stream media doesn’t see you. Post Whitney, it’s been ass before talent with an exception made for 1 real singer and right now that is Adele. I wish her all the success in the world and hopefully she will be the one to buck the trend.

  • JadaJay

    Google her. You’ll read exactly why she always wears her “uniform” of black and white. It’s not just a fashion statement – much deeper than that.

  • __A

    Pop music is all about looks and mediocre talent. R&B cares alot about looks too, but I’m not just going to blame the industry. Beyonce likes dressing the way she does. Britney Spears and Kelly Rowland too. I see women wearing racy outfits all the time. They have nice bodies and want to show them off. When you combine many women’s willingness to flaunt it with the fact that sex and catchy beats sell more than talent this is what you get.

    Taylor Swift dresses pretty modestly. It is cute. She doesn’t wear tuxedos and she gets a lot of attention. She is pretty, but I never really read comments from people who think she’s “hot” like Beyonce or Rihanna or Britney Spears. Does being sexy get people to pay more attention to you? Definitely (compare Katy Perry to Swift), but female singers could dress pretty rather than sexy and still get that attention. Many of them parade around in leotards because they want to be sexy and parade around in leotards.

    I like Janelle’s music and style. I don’t think that she should change. It’s her style. I’m just saying that I don’t think women have to be (or that the industry forces them to be) sex kittens to get attention. Maybe you just won’t be as big as Katy Perry or Beyonce. Maybe people expect you to have pipes like Adele or Janelle or play guitar and write your songs like Swift. If you’re not sexy, you have to have a lot of talent (Adele) and a great and interesting alternative to the overly sexy look (Adele is retro, Janelle with her tuxedos, Swift with her girl next door look). You just have to decide to stick with your own style and trust that it will work out rather than swim in a sea of Cassies trying to be a Rihanna.

  • Anthony

    Talent is a great equalizer. True talent can give an artist a long career. It might not get as huge as someone peddling booty, but it can be much longer and sustaining. Two of my favorites, Esperanza Spalding and MeShell N’degeocello are heavy duty musicians who literally do not have to open their mouths to make an impact.

  • Rosey

    I’d read that. I’m not saying I like her any less for keeping the black and white. That’s just my opinion.

  • Deb
  • Cybertronic Purgatory

    i heart you Janelle, so happy to see you continue to be successful and spread your positive and inspiring message.

    - from another alien from outerspace

  • binks

    Boom! If you are ttuly talented and comfortable with your level of talent you don’t have to sell your body or “commeralize” sex appeal

  • M.Shell

    After reading this I have even more love and respect for this woman. You go Janelle!!

  • mikey kun

    sigh I wish more of out star of today were like this, talented and humble

  • Anthony

    To be honest, the look Janelle Monae has will get her more attention than showing her body because the body exposing seems to work best for the light skinned, long haired types like Beyonce and Rhianna anyway.

  • Child, Please

    I love that mainstream came to her. She didn’t have to do any antics for people to recognize her. It was a slow process, but she’s getting the recognition and endorsments all for being her! Good job, girl!

  • Anthony

    Those closeups show just how pretty her face is. I also think she is right: she does have have quite a nice figure too.

    I wonder if she and Bruno Mars have ever toured together? If it ever happened, too bad James Brown is not around to see it!

  • Chillyroad

    It’s not much of a contrast at all and when pressed I’m certain Monae wouldn’t think so either. Beyounce doesn’t just show up and get paid to look pretty and sexy. We all know and heard of how hard she works all year round. Now that she is a wife and mother she is probably working even harder. Why can’t we love and respect both women? Beyounce beauty and sex appeal is a bonus. Underneath it all is still a woman who will work herself to the bone. Why cause a division?

  • Chillyroad

    I don’t know why it has to be either or. We can support any artist based on talent even the ones who use their sex appeal. Josephine Baker was shaking ass long before any of these stars and she is considered a revolutionary.

    I think too many black women have a neurotic sense of sexuality. You’re either hyper sexual or asexual. There is a middle ground.

  • Nubiahbella

    To a certain extend I agree with this comment, singers who do not look like a certain type are not expected to be showing off the looks, although she absolutely stunning with a body to boot!

  • ruggie

    Glad to see Janelle be recognized for who she is. She’s a bright spot in the music industry!

  • Anthony

    This is funny, the threads featuring the skin baring shots of Beyonce have blown up yet I get negative feedback because I said fair skinned entertainers get the most attention for baring their bodies.

    For that matter, check out the thread on skin lightening in Africa.

  • thinkpink

    They did a tour together two summers ago

  • A grey area

    Just a question, I never hear folks complaining about Lisa Raye’s choice to always where white. Besides do u plan on purchsing Janelle’s clothes for her. She is a grown a$$ woman and a uniqe individual choosing to wear and create her own style. However u too are free to express yourself, so my point is… my point…;

  • Orange Starr Happy Hunting

    I noticed your screen name before, as mine is a take from “Violet Stars Happy Hunting:”.
    Janelle is a true inspiration and I have nothing but love and respect for her artistry, just brilliance all the way around. Can’t wait for the new material.

  • Cocochanel31

    While I’m not a huge fan of her music ..what little bit I’ve heard, I commend her for keeping her clothes on and the focus on what it should be: her sound. She’s a gorgeous girl, would love to see her in something besides the signature black and white suits. She can still be totally covered and demure in other outfits. All in all, I can dig what she said in this interview. Takes courage to stand alone in the industry and not sell your soul.

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  • A grey area

    “wear” not where

  • jamesfrmphilly

    FWIW – us dirty olde men can see a nice body whether it’s covered or not…

  • TheMuseintheMirror

    Hence, Why Serena gets no love for her banging body. I agree.

  • Medusa

    “When I look at myself in the mirror, I’m attractive. I really have a nice body. And I had to pick: Do I want them to focus on my body? Do I want them to focus on how curvy and really, really gorgeous my figure is?”

    Yup, she’s humble all right!

  • Anthony

    Yes, Serena gets a whole lot us lust but not the sort of adoration that some the fairer sisters get.

    As for Janelle, I think her look is distinctive. The same cannot be said for a nice pair of breasts and buns since millions of women can claim comparable assets.

  • GirlSixx

    Wowww!!!. Really ??!!! *smh*

  • GirlSixx

    I disagree. Serena is constantly mentioned in songs by rappers talking about her body, besides she’s an athlete not an entertainer (singer) so we only get to see her body on display during competition.

  • GeekMommaRants

    Love this one! Songwriter, musician, singer performer. Janelle Monae has it all!

  • sheree

    I was thinking the same! She looks great too.

  • Eileen Castine

    I love her, was a fan first time I heard her music, this makes me admire her more

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  • Lily

    Love her music and style! I got to saw her live and up close at one concert and she’s like a 100x more prettier than any photos I’ve seen of her. I think she chooses those outfits so she can be taken seriously and it works.

    There are pics of her without those outfits and hair, she looks just as glamorous.

  • Lily

    That’s called self confidence! Some women look in the mirror and see beauty and others see ugliness.

    When was looking at the mirror and thinking you look attractive not a normal thing? I do it sometimes. If I feel good, I think of myself as attractive.

    I think it’s empowering to see that a black woman sees herself as beautiful instead of nitpicking herself.

  • Anthony

    I bet that was a great show and Monae and Mars kept the hairdressers busy!

  • pinklipstick227

    I love her music but irony is that not many people are interested in seeing her “curvy” body. I appreciate what she is saying but truly curvy women can’t hide their bodies–even under a tuxedo. Any woman with large hips, buttocks, or breasts can attest to this. You cannot hide what isn’t there in the first place.

    I don’t think that there is anything wrong with her body, but she is shaped more like a ruler than an hourglass.

  • AM

    Talent doesn’t need to shed clothes to make hits and be recognized. Good for you Janelle. I’ve loved you since your days of being virtually unknown.

  • YR

    I had the pleasure of seeing Janelle Monae’s perform last year. I was absolutely amazed. I’ve always been fond of her, but now she is one of my top three.

    Also, I hope she will keep embracing her uniqueness. It adds even more to her beauty.

  • YR

    @ James

    Amen to that! ha-ha..old men see everything!

  • Cecily Bumbray (@CecilyAlexa)

    Love her! An inspiration!

  • cb

    @Chillyroad PLEASE Queen Bey and Ms. Monea are so different it’s STARTLING

  • Amber
  • Rosey

    I don’t follow Lisa Raye and I’m not losing any sleep over Janelle’s black and white clothes.

    It really isn’t that deep but thanks for your feedback.

  • Medusa

    @ Lily- I think you can be confident and know you’re beautiful without saying “I have a really, really gorgeous figure.” We can see it, you don’t need to talk about it. I remember when I was in college watching an interview where Usher said “I have a very nice physique” blah blah and I also thought “are you being serious? Is that something that someone has to say in public?” I think it’s great to be confident and know you’re beautiful but talking about how gorgeous your body is isn’t exactly what I think of when I think of confidence. That’s conceit.

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  • jamesfrmphilly

    fruits, nuts,grains and vegetables…..

  • Echi

    When I opened up this link, to the left of Janelle was the thumbnail for the article about Beyonce’s GQ cover. While I have much love and respect for Beyonce’s hustle, I find Janelle Monae the more inspiring celebrity.

  • chanela17

    we need more women like janelle monae around to show that you don’t have to be half naked on the cover of a magazine to be successful and beautiful. there are young ladies trying to break out into modeling,acting,and singing and they think that getting naked is the only way to make it! i don’t blame them. pretty much every female artist in america doubles as a stripper when their voice should be the most important thing as a singer.

    plus beyonce is claiming to be a feminist while posing like that in a magazine? she just reinforced the thinking that women should only be seen as a piece of meat for men. that is not empowering, that is falling into their trap.

  • M

    Just had to add that I think Janelle and Adele are very sexy, and that you don’t have to show a ton of skin to be sexy!! I think their look is much hotter than the magazine cover girls, but then, I’m a straight woman…

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