The My-Stery: Janelle Monae and the Struggle for Black Complexity in Mainstream Media

Interesting analysis.

Aker: Futuristically Ancient

“Narrow views of Blackness lead to a sometimes stalled consumption of challenging art and media.” – Dara M. Wilson
While reading the Pitchfork feature on Janelle Monae, some of the issues concerning her art process and the reception of her art reminded me of the balancing act between black intellectuality and black physicality and the mainstream media tendency to lean towards more of the latter or other forms of stereotypical blackness.
Mainstream audiences have been trained to go and appropriate to the most accessible forms of black cultures that tend to fulfill stereotypes of black cultures (ex. Miley Cyrus and twerking, Madonna and vogue). Mainstream audiences do that in general, not giving as much attention to the more inaccessible/harder to decipher parts of cultures or to more than one part of them at a time.
I see Monae as part of the lineage of black artists who want to challenge…

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