Model wearing a gown by Lucile Manguin for L’Officiel, 1959. Photo by Philippe Pottier.
After posting the song “Q.U.E.E.N.” by Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu, and posting a video teaser, I couldn’t wait for the actual video to be released. These two amazing Black women are among my favorite artists. I’ve loved Erykah Badu since hearing “On & On” on an episode of New York Undercover in 1997. She had me at hello. I saw her in concert in South Florida in 2008; the best concert of my life. I’ve loved Janelle Monae since a friend sent me her “Tightrope” video a few years ago. I’m enthralled with her intelligence, talent, style, fashion and beauty.
The video for “Q.U.E.E.N.” is exquisite. Creative. Amazing visuals. Love the style and the fashion. Incredibly beautiful. I love the limited palette; the black, white, red, shades of grey and gold enthralls.
What really moves me is the combination of the visuals with the powerful lyrics. It’s everything. Some of my favorite lines include:
They call us dirty ‘cuz we break all your rules down…
This specifically makes me think of Black women rejecting controlling images (i.e. Jezebel, Sapphire, mammy) and embracing our full capacity to be dynamic, nuanced individuals, without boundaries and rules meant to control us.
Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I will love who I am.
Obvious as to why I would love this line. I also love Erykah’s line…
Here comes the freedom song, too strong we moving on…
And of course, there’s Janelle’s rap at the end, which I love. My favorite part of it:
Are we a lost generation of our people? Add us to equations but they’ll never make us equal. She who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel. So why ain’t the stealing of my rights made illegal? They keep us underground working hard for the greedy, but when it’s time pay they turn around and call us needy. My crown too heavy like the Queen Nefertiti. Gimme back my pyramid, I’m trying to free Kansas City. Mixing masterminds like your name Bernie Grundman. Well I’m gonna keep leading like a young Harriet Tubman. You can take my wings but I’m still goin’ fly. And even when you edit me the booty don’t lie.
The line “she who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel” plays in my head over and over and over. So empowering.
I love this song. <3
Mia Wasikowska for Miu Miu Spring 2012 Campaign by David Sims