After four years of being away from the music scene, Janelle Monáe basically comes back kicking down the proverbial door with her new album Dirty Computer. Weird, nerdy, and proud women of color rejoice everywhere! Not only did she bless us with a new album but she has accompanied it with a narrative film, akin to Beyonce’s Lemonade and Kanye West’s My Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Dirty Computer, what Janelle refers to as an “Emotion Picture”, is filled with captivating visuals, it's sonically masterful, and tells a heart aching story of a dystopia where a totalitarian regime has deemed some droids “dirty computers.” These dirty computers, those that are different, are subjected to having their memories wiped so they can be cleansed. Janelle stars as “Jane 57821”, a queer, polyamorous droid that is resisting the ominous plot to strip her of her identity are her memories, each one represented by a music video of the songs on Dirty Computer.Just when we were about to get excited about the future of robots!
There is so much in this film that we can speak on from Monáe’s incredible shedding of the veil over her personal life and sexuality, to the discussion on society’s treatment of the black queer community, to the fact that the Queen, Tessa Thompson, was one of the co-stars! But, we will leave that to the think piece people and celeb gossip bloggers. WE are here to talk about LEWKS!Dirty Computer gave us so many looks and style inspiration I almost cried. I was emotional, yall, for real. Flawless makeup. Crazy, cool fits. The infusion of futura meets natura hair styling. She looked amazing throughout every scene. Let’s get into it starting with “I Got the Juice”:
The scene starts with her and a friend driving down the interstate in a wheeless futuristic cruiser. Her hair is super afro-futura, in largely wrapped bantu knots with linked braids coming out from each side. Her makeup is incredibly colorful, a rainbow palette on her eyelids paired with a perfectly puckered red lip.
The scene switches to “Crazy, Classic, Life” and they arrive at a pool party. No water, everyone just in the pool, hanging out. Janelle’s full fit is an Afro-Punk Rock look. She dons a studded leather choker and matching leather jacket. In contrast, she wears a white, delicate tutu, which gives you juxtaposition of feminine and masculine, typical of women in the punk rock era. She accompanies it with punk rock accessories: bedazzled, fingerless gloves, rings, and some badass nail art. The last bit of contrast to this look is the afrocentric earrings. Perfection!
The next scene she wakes up on the top of a building with friends (talk about living your best life) and “Screwed” electrifies through the space. Her makeup is stunning. In a short but beautiful moment, she reminds us of why she was picked to be a Covergirl. She wears gentle, long lashes and a silver smokey eye. She has on the slightest bit of burgundy blush that looks made for her cool brown skin. It is all pulled together by another red lip. This time a deeper, more sensual shade.
Her hair is now in a simple, chic bob with a small braid and she sports a breton cap and gold chain earrings. Her full fit is 90s vintage with a few modern aspects. A white half tank and high waist jeans with a red, translucent raincoat. Translucent apparel has become pretty trendy within the last few seasons and the vintage twist she gives us here is very interesting.
The plot moves on to what seems more like a dream than a memory. In “Django Jane” we enter an underground, Black Panther-esque space with an all women militia, led by Jane. She is wearing one of her infamous styles: A SUIT! This time not in her typical black and white hue but a loud fuschia! With her white high-heeled boots she is super bossy and badass once again. There are a few afrocentric pieces to this look too. The necklace and earrings are tribal with dangling ruffles, her fingers are ringed out and she has on a Kente Kufi looking like an African Chief! I was floored! As if that wasn't enough her hair gave me so much life. Pulled to the side in a large braid that chained to another braid! Come on! Your fave could never!
Her makeup was semi-natural with a long lash and lips that matched her suit. GO OFF! Who said that Janelle looked too "manish”? Take several seats!
After this, we are whisked away to another dream-like (or maybe a fantasy) scene in “Pynk”. In this body positive, pussy positive visual I didn't know what was more attractive; Janelle, Tessa,and the beautiful Black Girl Magic Dancers or these LEWKS. So many shades of pink. She wore about five different looks in the scene so I’ll only focus on one.
The first was another vintage modern twist. She wore a black and white striped blouse with high waist shorts. She played with a little bit of color blocking wearing big, dramatic colorful earrings. Her hair was was in an updo bun with metallic stars decorated inside. She completes this look with a cute pink lip, matching eyeshadow and a simple cat eye.
The final look that I will be directing your attention to comes from my favorite song on the album! “I Like That” is filled with many cool outfits and really feels like the diary portion visually and lyrically for Monáe. The one that caught my attention the most features her with spiral curls pulled into an updo. A few of the soft curls fall to the side framing her face beautifully. Her makeup is the most natural that we have seen in the film. A nude eyeshadow and lip and soft, almost invisible blush. She looks Goddess like.
She has the ultimate “sitting in my living room but looking fabulous” fit on. A blush pink Bustier Bodysuit paired with a patterned kimono with feathered details on the sleeves and bottoms. Glamorous! Her accessories were also super glam and fitting. Rings with gigantic, bright colored jewels, pink almond-shaped nails, classic hoop earrings, and ear cuffs. I promise if I don’t have this look in my closet by the end of the month I can no longer call myself a Fashionista.
That was actually only a few highlights from the incredibleness that is Dirty Computer.I couldn't get to them all because we would have to sit here ogling Mrs. Monáe for days. Everyone who worked on this film did an amazing job and it is truly a piece of art. If you're overdue for a bit of self-care, watching Dirty Computer should be on your list.