Janelle Monáe Robinson, known professionally by her first two names, was born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas.

Monáe was raised in the Baptist church, where she performed in the choir,1 but she doesn’t appear to be tied down by a particular denomination anymore. Or if she is, she doesn’t let on. All the comments she makes about religion are either vague or completely inclusive.

Take, for instance, her Rolling Stone interview. When the reporter asked her if she still attended church, she responded as the character in her futuristic concept album, The ArchAndroid. She said,

I attend an Android community church in Metropolis.2

In what seems like a more straight-forward, if general response, when a fan asked her on Twitter about her religious views, she responded,

God is Love. Religiously I love all people.3

And then at another point on her Twitter feed, she tweeted this:

“Whatever faith or religion makes you a better peaceful more loving compassionate person is the one you should chose & practice.”4

So to summarize the best I can, it appears that she believes in God and thinks religion is important, but what form it takes is meaningless as long as it’s rooted in love for others. Dig it?

Walking the Political Tightrope

Janelle Monáe’s most visible political statement is her heartfelt and enthusiastic support for Barack Obama. She was very active in his 2012 campaign, speaking at rallies,5 recording videos for the campaign,6 and performing at the Democratic National Convention.7 Plus her Twitter feed was consumed with Obama tweets surrounding the election. In one, she posted a picture of the “tears of joy” she shed after his victory was announced.8

When given the opportunity, the singer was quick to spout off a list of the president’s accomplishments in his first term: stopping the war in Iraq, ending “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” passing the Lilly Ledbetter Act, doubling Pell Grants, and signing the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) into law. She said,

These are all things he said he’d do before he was elected and did them. . . . President Obama remains the candidate of hope and change, and he will continue to move our country forward, bringing even more change if reelected.9

Her crafted image also makes a political statement–whether she means it be political or not. Her uniform, as she calls it, is a 1920s throwback, androgynous pants-shirt-tie get-up with big pompadour hair. In other words, not what you would expect out of a young black female R&B artist. She says her look–and the android character on her concept album–represents the “new other.” She said,

What I want is for people who feel oppressed or feel like the ‘other’ to connect with the music and to feel like, ‘She represents who I am.’10

Very progressive indeed. I’d say we’re probably going to hear more from this unique and talented young woman. You’ll keep us updated in the comments, won’t you?

  1. Janelle Monáe Biography. Biography. []
  2. Artist of the Week: Janelle Monae. Rolling Stone. []
  3. JanelleMonae: God is Love. Religiously I … Twitter. []
  4. JanelleMonae: “Whatever faith or religion … Twitter. []
  5. Janelle Monae Gets Major Props From President Obama. Necole Bitchie. []
  6. Janelle Monáe Supports President Obama. YouTube. []
  7. Janelle Monáe Kicks Off the Democratic Convention in Charlotte, N.C. E! []
  8. Janelle Monae: Tears of joy. President Obama … Twitter. []
  9. Janelle Monae Gets Major Props From President Obama. Necole Bitchie. []
  10. Janell Monae Considers Herself Part Feminist and Says She Only Dates Androids! All Eyes On Who? []