To have a good time Women’s History Month, Teen Vogue and Fresh U teamed as much as ask school girls to jot down letters to their heroes. Right here, Howard College scholar Alexandria Frank shares her love for Janelle Monáe.
Expensive Janelle Monáe (aka, the Electrical Girl) (aka, Cindi Mayweather) (aka, Q.U.E.E.N.),
I don’t know for those who get quite a lot of thanks letters; maybe they’re tossed in with the baggage and luggage of fan mail that you just completely deserve. This isn’t an extraordinary letter, although, or no less than I hope it isn’t. I’m writing to you to thanks for being the type of girl 10-year-old woman may make her purpose. Her hero. That’s what you had been to me, my hero, and that’s what you continue to are.
This a part of the letter is one that you could be get so much. It’s the half the place I inform you that as a younger, Black woman in a primarily white setting with solely male buddies, race and gender roles had been unusually tense ideas. See, I used to be good, and I used to be Black, however I wasn’t “boujee”, and I solely wore pants, and I used to be variety, however I used to be additionally a bully, and I used to be form of a nerd. I could not place a label on myself, however I very desperately wished to. A label would say “Hey! This is why you’re such a complex weirdo that doesn’t quite do what she’s supposed. You’re this, and that’s the problem. But don’t worry we can fix that!”
I looked for that label for years, even into center faculty.
Then I noticed you in that tuxedo with that pure hair, and, oh my gosh, all of it clicked for me. The music movies, the Afrofuturism, the lyricism, I liked all of it and noticed myself in all of it. I memorized each look and each phrase however I wished to be an Electrical Girl. Now, I’m not going to say that I crafted myself after you, however I discovered a freedom in your instance to craft a model of myself that I used to be proud to be. I didn’t wish to be categorized, I could not be as a result of I used to be shattering each expectation in the perfect methods doable.
I needed to come to phrases with my conspicuous establish as a Black particular person in a White house. It was like banging on a glass and solely being noticed however by no means listened to. No extra of that. Queens don’t sit idly whereas their persons are oppressed. Queens don’t enable themselves to be overpowered. That’s the imagery and insistence that I felt in so a lot of your songs. I’d not let myself be a puppet for my white lecturers to tote as respectable. So, I shattered my glass. Admittedly, some would possibly say I went just a little buck wild, however I don’t assume you’d. You’d see the activism and Afrocentrism I poured into every essay and venture and speech as an indication of energy. Once you return my letter, you possibly can let me know. I began a corporation devoted to cultural variety at my faculty, and I’d inform anyone that I talked to that I used to be unapologetically Black and that my life mattered. At a college of republicans, this wasn’t at all times taken sweetly, however I knew what was true.
Earlier than even that, I got here to phrases with what my mom would name my “boyish-ness.” To my mother and father, that boiled all the way down to carrying pants, hanging out with guys, and taking part in video video games. That was simply who I used to be, although. If that wasn’t fairly within the eyes of my mother and father, then…I guessed I simply wouldn’t be fairly. BUT THAT TUX. I’m going to go off for a second (for those who’ll let me) as a result of I don’t know for those who meant to ship this form of message to a younger woman once you stunted in that black-and-white, however you confirmed me how stunning any girl may very well be. You’re a CoverGirl and an artist and a trend icon and an actress and also you had me locked in. Once I regarded up issues about you on the web (as a result of that’s what children on the point of being deemed Era Z did after they had been obsessive about a celeb), I’d see headlines hyper-concerned along with your sexuality and womanhood, however all I may assume was “Who cares?” You had been the classiest girl on the earth to me, and it made me assume that I may very well be simply as cool… I’d wish to assume I made it. After just a few years, my older sister got here out to me, although she’d already been out to my mom for some time. Perhaps, my mother was simply afraid of getting two lesbian daughters, as a result of I used to be so aggressively towards commonplace gender roles, however I wasn’t fascinated with frickin’ gender roles after I was 9. I used to be making an attempt to be me, which turned out to be a reasonably superior factor to be.
So, I’m gonna lie. I’m a little bit of a weirdo. I really like stuff that’s simply wild and outlandish. And also you’ve obtained a NUMBER of songs that enable me to let that free. I imply, you got here out in a straitjacket at the Hollywood Bowl being introduced by a “mad scientist.” You set overtures on studio albums. One in every of your personas is a android. Absolutely, you don’t have any qualms with the aberrant. You’ve obtained a tune particularly, although that actually simply lights me up and that’s “Come Alive,” which might be applicable. It’s so intense and the guitars are riffing and also you’re screaming, and I’d simply be slamming my dashboard with my fist alongside to the beat. Perhaps it’s blasphemy to say that you’re to me quite a lot of who Prince (relaxation his stunning, stunning soul) was to my people’ era. Y’all smashed quite a lot of what it meant to be a Black artist and also you helped me to see quite a lot of what it’s to be a carefree Black woman. Screaming and dancing and managing to be clear, dirty, slick, and tough all on the similar time. Like, shoot! For those who’ve graced me with something, it’s that mentality of with the ability to let go, no matter what all people says I must be doing.
I’m right here to bop or die, and nobody’s gonna cease me.
Thanks for paving the best way for that.
One other Electrical Girl