Today I braved 4 hours on my feet after working 9-5 to attend what some call a concert. I call it church.
It was just…it was so…she was…someone hold me, I’ve been thoroughly rocked!
Anyone that knows me, knows that there’s nothing “religious” about me. However, this here concert was like a spiritual experience featuring Janelle Monáe, the high priestess of rocking the hell out!
People need to understand: this woman puts on a damn SHOW! She gathers her fellow residents of the Wondaland Society, and they do this thing on stage using instruments, imagination, and pure talent. Some people call it performing. I call it magical electrical voodoo.
She stood a statuesque pillar of…well…a brown porcelain doll. She’s was tiny and adorable! Yet, she is powerful with her commanding presence, instantly recognizable coiffure, and earth-shaking voice.
Like any church I’ve ever been to, there were drummers, organs (keyboards), guitar, bass, and horns. Her background singer/dancers were a throwback to 60s go-go. They were the choir in this church of Monáe.
And I was front and center. Well, front-ish. It was more like second row. Whatever. It was standing room, so you landed wherever you landed. It was good enough for me, I was close to the stage! I had to see this marvel of a woman up-close. I’d watched enough videos and performances on Youtube and listened to all of her albums front to back on continuous repeat for weeks at a time. I had to experience it all in real-time. I felt lured there by some force. I wanted to see if the rumors were true: Was the Electric Lady human, android, or patron saint?
I’m convinced she’s all three. O.O
For goodness’ sake, who dances and sings with the energy and passion that she does for 2 hours?! Two beautiful hours of foot stomping, jumping, singing church with bishop Kallindo on guitar exercising the demons! YES!
Janelle seems to conjure the spirits of all the greats dead or alive and channels them into one electrifying stream of conscious performance art. And all those that had gathered there in their frenzied support had no choice but to fall under her spell. For goodness’ sake, she convinced (without convincing) hundreds of people in the general standing room to sit on the floor without saying a word. That’s some crowd control for that ASS!
All night, I found myself dancing, singing, jumping, moving as if I no longer cared to control my own body. I totally forgot every bad thing that happened that day. I couldn’t fight the musical force.
She pulled songs from her hymn book and entertained while she healed and delivered messages from the future. When she performed songs like Dance Apocalyptic, she helped us shake off all the negativity so that we could heal all our hurts and free our inner spirits! When she sang songs like Cold War, I felt like the book of my life was being read and I was being given instructions on how to survive it:
So you think you’re alone/But being alone’s the only way to be/When you step outside/You spend life running from depravity/This is a cold war/you better know what you’re fighting for
*catches the spirit* *speaks in tongues*
Next thing you know, she’s
levitating stage diving above me, and I LIVED. I touched them hem! I am delivered!
In all seriousness, if you listen to her music, you will understand why she means so much to her supporters. She is a leader, an artist, a trend-setter, a comfort, a warrior, a movement, a fashion icon, and usher to the future with an understanding of our past and present.
Her message and the code by which she lives her life are so significant. She stands for something, many things, all of them positive and progressive.
She can bring an entire audience of people of different ages, genders, sexual orientations, races, and classes together to have a good time respectfully. But it’s even deeper than that. She has sparked a movement of empowerment for the average Jane and Joe. Her message isn’t about abusing your sexual power or greedily stacking money. It’s about respect, art, love, change, and so much more. She teaches, relates, encourages, and entertains all at the same time.
She is creative and unique enough to create her own world and invite us all in through song.
She is sexy without giving away all of her feminine secrets.
She has the confidence that society reserves for men.
She has the power that most people either don’t know they have or are afraid to use.
She has the wisdom to navigate her mission.
She is humble enough to love what she does for the art, not the fame, while using her gifts to heal.
She’s so dope that she now has her own official day in the City of Boston. October 16th, 2013 is now Janelle Monáe Day.
But really, despite what I think are super powers, she is human. A human being with a big heart. I respect her for what she is doing, and I can’t wait to see her perform live again. Someone, take me back to Wondaland!
Photos courtesy of Kevin Michael O’Connor.