The Electric Lady's Land
Janelle Monáe returns to check on Cindi Mayweather's ATX safehouse
By Kate X Messer, 3:15PM, Tue. Nov. 12, 2013
Attention androids and android-allies: Tonight we dance.
Tickets for the return of Janelle Monáe tonight at ACL Live are not yet sold out.
As Austin figures out that this teeny dynamo – prior OutKast singer, Diddy collaborator, with moves and grooves deigned James Brown/Prince/MJ-descended – is the powerful soul behind the big radio hit "Dance Apocalyptic" and the hotly social-media-circulated Erykah Badu duet, "Q.U.E.E.N.," tickets have been flowing steadily. But considering the underground cred she's always had here (anyone remember SXSW 2009 at Vice – whoa!), I wouldn't count on them lasting long.
Monáe's career has been a curious one, shrouded in alter-ego mystery and elaborate sci-fi story lines laid out in Suites that make up her first forays into vinyl- and CD-landia: Metropolis, Suite I (The Chase) (2007), The Archandroid (2010), and this year's The Electric Lady. And some might say that the mystery extends way beyond the multiple personalities and musical vision.
Earlier this fall, the blogosphere was lousy with aggregayted headlines such as, "Janelle Monáe addresses gay rumors," "Janelle Monáe discusses gay rumors," "Janelle Monáe on gay rumors," and the like. Well, we'd like to weigh in now to say that we never weighed in then, because it feels like a really creepy thing to poke an already proven ally about her sexual preference or identity.
Now, some of you regular "Gay Place"rs might ask, "Well, Dandy Unicorn, why does Janelle Monáe get a pass? Shouldn't she have to come out like the rest of us?" And to that I'd aim my horn and say, she's done so much for our community: Her entire body of suites is a tale about marginalized creatures and about empowering those and all creatures with the strength to be themselves – so what more does the sister need to say? Don't be tacky. Plus, if you look at all the album covers, you'll see dots that indicate each package's place in the bigger scheme. On the cover of the new album, The Electric Lady there are two new open, blank dots, meaning the rest of the story is yet to be told. Let the artist art. We have not seen/heard the last of rebel cyborg Cindi Mayweather and her Suites.
Anyway, back in 2009, prior GP co-columnist Ash Bell and I, aka The Gay Place, interviewed her and asked her about coming out in support for Atlanta Black Gay Pride prior to her SXSW visit. Her response lays it all out. (Click the link and watch the video.) Like I said, let the artist art. Her message and story are still being told.
So, if you're going tonight, look for the unicorns. We predict a lively unicorn-heavy crowd. In the meanwhile, here are a few things for you to ponder: