Janelle Monae: “Come In Peace, But Mean Business”


Anyone who isn’t a fan of Janelle Monae as a person and an artist is seriously doing themselves a disservice! This baby-faced beauty is one of the faces of Covergirl’s “Girls Can” campaign, alongside Queen Latifah, Pink, Katy Perry, Ellen Degeneres and more.

She is never short of an inspirational quote or two when it comes to women and inspiring her female fans, but this ain’t just a gimmick for Janelle. She loves being an advocate for individuality and not following the crowd, which is one of the reasons we have a huge girl crush on her.

The ‘Q.U.E.E.N’ singer took time out of her busy schedule before performing at the Essence Music festival in New Orleans on July 4th to chat with Huffpost Live about her message.

Speaking about her usual costume of black and white tuxedos, she couldn’t care less if people make fun of her, coz she ain’t about to take her clothes off to please anyone.

“When I started wearing tuxedos, people assumed that I was gay,” she says. “I think that’s ridiculous. We come in so many different packages as a woman. There’s no one way to communicate strength. There’s power in wearing dresses and there’s power in wearing pants. It’s important to be unique, even if it makes others uncomfortable.”

As for being a Covergirl alongside some female pioneers in the entertainment industry (Queen Latifah as a rapper and Ellen Degeneres as a comedian), Janelle says she jumped at the opportunity when asked.

“When they said they wanted to work with me and have a strong woman of color and artist a part of their roster, I was just extremely honored…I’m just honored to help them continue the message of diversity and that ever girl is truly a Covergirl no matter what you look like,” she said to host Marc Lamont Hill.

Janelle is a big believer in Covergirl’s attempt to show girls out in the world that it’s ok to be who you are and to celebrate diversity. This goes a long way to empowering young women especially. The fact that the beauty brand didn’t make her change her appearance for the campaign speaks volumes to their cause, she says.

“Covergirl is representing the real world…because again women all over the world should be promoted, this is a melting pot and this is not just about women of color, this is about short, heavy, skinny, we all have different sizes and shapes…we have so many different things changing [in the world] and to me women should remain at the forefront of this movement.”

In case you weren’t already familiar, Janelle Monae wears suits not just to be different to all the other female artists out there, but to honor her parents. She has said in the past that her parents were cleaners, and wearing a suit is in honor of the uniforms they wore everyday, and a reminder to herself that she “has work to do”. We love that!


At first Janelle was surprised Covergirl would even consider her as a celebrity spokesperson for the brand, but then she realized her messages in her music and what she represents has always been about strong women who redefine what it means to be feminine.

Huffpost Live played a video question from a young female viewer who asked how girls can speak up for what they believe in in spite of the influence of older generations who may not agree with what they are doing. The question is one that couldn’t be more timely, especially when women around the world in certain countries want to break away from tradition and stereotype yet come up against so many barriers culturally.

“You have to come in peace, but mean business,” says Janelle.

“I think women and girls have a unique position…of being compassionate, being vulnerable and at the same time being very strong. If you also can rally around getting a movement, more girls who share your same sentiments. Find a community of women, talk to girls and really figure out how you can get a movement started.”

“Don’t be afraid to speak up for those who are being discriminated against. Remember you are not alone, there are so many girls around the world who also want equal rights and who think that women should have a stronger voice in this world.”

Check out the full interview below, and use her powerful words as a way to help you find your “superpower”, as Janelle likes to call them, in life.





  1. Pingback: The Pristine Balance: The Role of Wonder Woman in the DC Trinity | thenerdsofcolor

  2. Pingback: This Is For My Girls: Michelle Obama Joins Missy Elliott & Kelly Clarkson For A Song About Girl Power | genderequalityinthemusicindustry

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.