Hanging out with Janelle Monae to talk all things tech and music to now.
Thank you so much for joining me.
Thank you for having me.
I'd love to start off by asking you, you've made comments before saying that you are half human, half Android.
Tell me a little bit about what this actually means to you.
And also, I'd love for you to explain a bit about Cindy Mayweather.
bbb Hello, I am Janelle Monae and also Cindy Mayweather.
I think that we all possess multiple identities.
I strongly believe that and the way that I am genetically coded, I've always felt like I was sent back to the present but from the future.
Just I've always felt that since I've been a little girl.
And I've always been drawn to science fiction, I've always been drawn to aliens.
I remember one of my first short stories And my grandmother was very freaked out by it.
I wrote one about photosynthesis and about a plant and aliens working together to come and take us.
She was very freaked out.
But yes, I have just felt in my code that I've been pushed back into time.
Amazing, and it's obviously no secret.
You just mentioned that science fiction is a huge influence on you throughout your life and also on your work itself.
Tell me about some of your favorite pieces that you kind of refer back to some things that you've just kind of discovered recently.
Well, Metropolis is like, the blueprint, in terms of sci-fi films, and Fritz Lang is like the godfather of science fiction So that out of that watching that silent film inspired my whole life's work, you know to date from my first EP called Metropolis to my first full length album, The Arc Android.
Then I did the Electric Lady dirty computer and some of the roles.
I even take
I make a lot of comparisons to what it means to be a minority, what it means to be othered, what it means to be an Android, it's all interconnected.
I go back to The Matrix.
I think that we all have a purpose, and we're uniquely Put here to do something and thinking about the concept of the one and being that one person who who can make that change and seeing Neo in the Matrix has inspired my whole my life's work too.
Watching that film, I feel very connected to it in a different way.
But I think it was the quote in the Fritz Lang's Film that said, the mediator between the mind and the hand has to be the heart.
I think when we're thinking about society and where we are in the world right now, those who think about classes, I mean, you think about those who are who are rich and those who are poor, there has to be some Some level of communication and compassion that we have to have somebody has to mediate.
And as an artist and as a, someone who has been in the most influential rooms and whose mother, you know, was a janitor, I also worked as a maid.
I feel very connected to bridge that gap.
And so I think that really inspired me a lot to be the heart and whatever it is that I do.
Fantastic, and you obviously mentioned about science fiction being such an integral part of everything that you're doing, but in terms of the actual technology itself, like things from science fiction, is that a big part of what you see going forward?
I wanna sort of pick your brain a little bit about, do you see gadgets as part of the tech going forward?
Or is it more about the integration with human I think we, I'm half human.
So you as a human and someone who's part droid and human, our conversation is being highlighted on through technology.
I think the more human friendly we can make things It allows us to stay connected, you know, the more open and honest and transparent we are and not like hiding behind an avatar but really connecting and sharing our stories sharing our highs or lows are in betweens.
You know, I think that allows us to stay connected, you know through gadgets through phones.
I mean one of the things I do want to.
Get rid of is that racial bias.
I think the people who are coming up with apps, and development, and developing, cuz technology is going at an exponential rate, as we all know.
And I think it's super important for those who are deeply involved in tech to think about racial bias, and how we can fight back against that.
You covered a lot of big topics in a Motion Picture, which was the accompanying film to dedi.
I wanted to sort of ask a little bit more about, obviously, there's the app, the symbolism there, but in terms of the actual technology, and is that something that you picture is a possibility in the future?
And if so, how can we kind of combat that to be a force for good rather than for the way it was used in the film My album, Dirty Computer, is a celebration of dirty computers.
Those who live outside of social norms.
Those who say, I'm gonna embrace my sexuality, my fluidity.
I'm not going to surrender to your labels.
I'm not going to conform.
You know, I love my blackness.
I love my queerness I love my android Miss.
And I picked what I was writing that project, who I was going to celebrate in.
Those are the folks that I want to celebrate, you know, I was not afraid to piss off the status quo, to face off those in the position of power who abused their power and try to oppress.
Individuality and dirty computers around the world.
I think it's about community.
And as much as it was a personal statement about myself and being a queer black woman living in America, I was able to celebrate community and let those who were like myself or who wanted to find family outside of the family that may ostracize them or kick them to the curb because they're walking in their truth.
That hey, we're here.
All we need is each other.
Let's talk a little bit about the here and now and some of the the tech and the gadgets that you love and use every day.
I know productivity tools like slack is a big one that you use.
Love slack, was just on it.
I love slack it it has changed my life.
I have multiple hats that I wear from, you know, acting to obviously performing and singing.
I'm also the head of, you know, my record label.
I have a film company, Wonderland pictures, and I have a family you know, and it's so great to like Know that when I go to this specific channel that, that is all we are talking about verses, vers, verses with email.
People were just throwing in so many different topics.
And I'm a minimalist like black and white in 1 colour.
That's it for me.
I do not like clutter and slack has helped me get rid of a lot of clutter.
Have you changed the notification sound the default one or do you like that?
I don't have notifications.
I do not have that I go in when I need because it's also, you know, with technology with social media, all of that.
It is a balance, it is a balancing act like with slack.
Let us Let me stay focused with slack.
I go in when I need to go in, like I do not need to be alerted of that because it can it can also be a little overwhelming.
But just with social media in general, I think you have to go in and give and get what you need and leave.
Because a lot of it is false.
A lot of it is artificial, a lot of people are pretending.
And sometimes you get, it's just hard to understand a person through 140 characters on Twitter, or, it's difficult.
So I wanna make sure that I'm also having human [UNKNOWN] communication as well as social media and balancing that all.
[UNKNOWN] it's been an absolute pleasure.
Thank you so much.
Thank you so much and I look forward to seeing you to the other side in the future.