Bridge Artist of the Week: Janelle Monae
Our next Bridge Artist of the Week is, in our opinion, one of the most essential artists in music today. She also hails from Kansas City, Kansas.
She's a true innovator in every sense of the word — a musical shapeshifter and an artistic visionary who flips the script on existing social structures through an Afrofuturistic lens. For her first two albums, Monáe assumed the alter ego of Cindi Mayweather, a time-traveling android messiah. Her 2018 album and accompanying [e]motion picture, "Dirty Computer," brought Monáe to the forefront, as she touched on themes of identity, feminism, racism, liberation and love. "Dirty Computer" has become the most celebrated work of her career so far. Nominated for the Grammys' biggest honor, it also topped Best Album of the Year lists from NPR, The New York Times, The Associated Press, as well as several of us here at The Bridge.
In addition to her flourishing career as a singer, rapper, songwriter and producer, Monáe is an actress who appeared in the Academy Awards 2017 Best Picture winner "Moonlight" and is starring in the upcoming horror film "Antebellum." She's also the head of the Wondaland Arts Society, an enterprise based in Atlanta that houses a record label, studios and film production company. Through all her work, she embodies a spirit of community and empowerment, amplifying the voices of marginalized populations — a fact we highlighted in our 2018 Turning The Tables KC series about women and gender disparity in music.
Tune in all week to jam out with a Janelle Monáe track in every shift! And while you're here, check out this informative interview Jon Hart did with her in 2013 about her career and Kansas City roots — shortly after the release of her second album, "The Electric Lady":