When Janelle Monáe rose to popularity a few years ago, her presence was a breath of fresh air. In a dire music world, where black female singers are being forced to look one way and sing about nothing, Monáe‘s sharp suits (a uniform she wears to pay homage to working class folks) and infectious pop tunes, mixed with a bit of jazz/funk/hip hop, dipped in political awareness, and sprinkled with android love…it was like yes. FINALLY!
This year, it is FKA Twigs breaking the current rut of black female music. Twigs is actually English (overseas black singers are KILLING it these days), but has started to get some shine in the states.
“Tahliah Barnett was born in Gloucestershire. Her father is Jamaican, and her mother, who used to be a dancer and a gymnast, is part English and Spanish. Barnett was raised by her mother and stepfather. She did not meet her father, a jazz dancer, until she was 18. She grew up in a rural part of Gloucestershire, and she has described the county as “kind of in the middle of nowhere.” She attended St. Edward’s School, Cheltenham, a Catholic school where she was the only mixed-race girl.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FKA_twigs
I first became aware of FKA Twigs this past summer. A blog I like to visit, posted the video for her song “Two Weeks.” She had me at “I know it hurts…” The song is sexy as hell.
Once I got a little extra change in my pocket, I bought her new album: LP1. Which is saying a lot for me. These days a singer has really got to peak my interest for me to buy their whole album, and not just purchase singles. Honestly, the album is pretty good. While none of the songs are as addictive as “Two Weeks” (to me anyway. i can play that cut over and over again). There are some hot tunes on the album. My other favorites are “Hours,” “Pendulum,” “Give Up,” and “Kicks.” I feel like I need a couple of whiskey sours to enjoy “Preface,” and “Lights On.” However, I still try to listen to them. You do need patience to get into Twig’s music.
Recently, Twigs has been in the news. Not for her music, but because America has welcomed her with a good old-fashioned slice of American
apple pie racism.
“Robert Pattinson’s new girlfriend FKA Twigs has been the target of a barrage of online racist abuse since her relationship with the former Twilight star become public — and she’s decided enough is enough. Speaking out via her Twitter account on Sunday, September 28, the half-Jamaican, half-Spanish singer slammed the Internet trolls who have been leaving her racist messages, and proved she wouldn’t be bullied. “I am genuinely shocked and disgusted at the amount of racism that has been infecting my account the past week,” the 26-year-old singer, real name Tahliah Debrett Barnett, wrote. “Racism is unacceptable in the real world and it’s unacceptable online.” http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/robert-pattinsons-girlfriend-fka-twigs-suffers-racist-abuse-online-2014299
When I first heard about this, I didn’t even know who the hell Robert Pattinson was. Once I found out he was that funny looking guy from the Twilight movies (which I have NEVER seen. thank goodness), I had to crack up. White girls tripping over that? Pattinson really does look like a vampire to me.
I’m glad Twigs spoke up for herself, though. Although it would be better if Pattinson would speak out for her. He has a duty if he has decided to be in a relationship with a woman of color. He needs to put his people in check.
In any case, FKA Twigs is da bomb. She is giving us genuine black female musicianship (she is also a highly skilled dancer, check out her moves in the “Two Weeks” video), desire/sexuality, and a longing that we haven’t heard in a minute.
Keep brushing those shoulders off, girlfriend.
Not really, but Monáe will be making an appearance on ‘Sesame Street’ and I can’t wait! I ain’t shamed. I still love me some ‘Sesame Street.’ It’s the rare show you can still appreciate, even as an adult:
Also, who can forget the shout out ‘Sesame Street’ gave to little black girls with natural hair. Go head ‘Sesame Street!’ 😉
How fitting I write about Janelle Monáe on Halloween. A couple of nights ago, I attended her concert. I am still trying to process it. As a friend posted on Facebook, “it was like having a bizarre dream.” Monáe rocked the stage. She brought energy and personality to her set. She’s a unique/confusing (in a good way) talent in the current bland entertainment industry. I’m not that impressed with the Miley Cyruses of the music world. Hell, I grew up with Madonna. The queen of shock and controversy. No one will ever top Madonna in skin and sin 😉
So, Monáe is a breath of fresh air. I actually feel stimulated/curious about what she’s going to do next. She keeps you on your toes. As she said at her concert, “are y’all excited for Halloween? we’ll see if I let you out–you’re in my house now!” *Gulp*
It was an amazing show. She performed songs from her new album “The Electric Lady.” A solid album from beginning to end. My favorite jams are: Givin Em What They Love (feat. Prince), Q.U.E.E.N (feat. Erykah Badu), Electric Lady (feat. Solange), It’s Code, Can’t Live Without Your Love, and What An Experience.
Monáe’s opening act was da bomb too (yep, breaking out my 90’s slang). Roman GianArthur represents the soul that’s missing from current r&b music.He did impressive covers of Lauryn Hill’s “The Sweetest Thing” and Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady.” He is a very talented young man. I hope to hear more from him.
So, if Ms. Monáe comes to your city. Get those tickets. It will be a concert you will never forget…