Janelle Monae has spent the run-up to the release of her upcoming third album, Dirty Computer, presenting show-stopping visuals paired with her singles "Django Jane," "Make Me Feel," and "PYNK." It makes sense that these videos would be as creatively defined as they are, primarily because it's Janelle Monae we're talking about, but also because she had some synergistic creative experiences in the studio during the making of the album.
All it took was a few visits from the cast of Black Panther, who hung out at Monae's Wondaland Arts Society studio in Atlanta as she recorded the music — at the same time as they filmed the movie.
"When they were filming it, they would come over to my studio/arts collective, Wondaland, and we would cook, we would jam, and they actually heard songs from Dirty Computer before anybody did," Monae told MTV News recently.
"So at the same time as you have Black Panther being filmed, I'm making this album, and we're just kind of inspiring each other, from Daniel [Kaluuya] to Lupita [Nyong'o] to Chadwick [Boseman], everybody coming over, giving me such a positive response. It made me feel like, 'I'm such a fan of you guys, I'm so excited for Black Panther.'"
Monae also spoke highly about the film's director, Ryan Coogler, especially about the lens of Afrofuturism through which the story of King T'challa was told.
"Ryan Coogler is a hero, and I think what it says is that we have to tell our stories," Monae said. "We see ourselves in the future. I'm able to see me, all of us who are black, especially living in America, around the world. It's a global film. We're able to see ourselves and know that people want to hear our stories. They want to know what's in our heads and our imagination. We get to be as magical, as presidential, as king-like, as queen-like as we want to be, and I think that's the great thing."
"It made me go, I, too, can speak through Afrofuturism, like I have in the past," Monae said, "and I have a voice, and I have something to say, and it's up to me to get it done." Check out her full praise of Black Panther in the video above.