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The Androgynous - A New Kind of Pop Diva

Janelle Monae

Janelle Monae, part of the Wondaland Arts Society collective based in Atlanta, told LA Times Pop Music Critic in a review released today:

"It's time to redefine what sexy can be, and what a woman can wear, how she wears her hair, what shoes she chooses. I'm about uniting and helping people become comfortable with who they are. Because there are young girls out there right now going through identity crises."

Monae's trademark look is surely distinct.  The pompadour, and a large one at that, is her signature hairstyle and unlike her fellow pop divas, she is far from exposed.  The comfort and confidence with which she wears her well tailored jacket and pant suits, with matching bow ties, have garnered comparisons to Katherine Hepburn.

The group, with Monae capturing a large portion of the spotlight, describes their music as a blend of Harlem Renaissance, Motown and Black Arts Movement.

"I respect what they are doing and just want the world to see it. She doesn't conform to any particular genre, and that's what I love about her," says Sean Puffy Combs, who signed Monae to his Bad Boy label.

She is just starting to gain popular recognition, and at this point, she holds firm to her desire to stick to her androgynous image, in part, to keep her musical talent at the forefront.

Watch her video for the song "Tightrope" below. Do you see a difference not just in style and dress, but also in what she expresses with her movement and dance compared to other pop divas such as Beyonce?


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