By Laurean Robinson, MA
April 28, 2018 8:45 AM EST
In the same week that brought the viral tsunami of that was Beychella, the renamed phenomenon assigned by Black Twitter/Instagram for the Beyonce monsoon of raw power and Black excellence which erupted through every laptop screen and Smart TV from the California music festival Coachella, the First Lady of Wondaland Records Miss Janelle Monae releases her latest album Dirty Computer with equally tech-friendly stimuli.
If you are like me, you are regularly scrolling through your Instagram feed for interesting quotes, news or just hilarious gif-worthy material.
This week, there was an internal ad from The Electric Lady herself to sign up for access to her new website. There you become fully immersed inside the world of Dirty Computer, a hybrid cross-section of science fiction innovation and spiritual awakening with a full feature film entitled “Emotion Picture” which featured all of the songs’ music videos from the album.
Taking a page from Beyonce’s Lemonade PR manual, Miss Monae released the full feature of music videos before her album to flesh out the album’s concept on a visual medium. From the Coachella-like desert of “Pynk” to the purple-tinged nightclub of “Make Me Feel,” any visitor of Dirty Computer learns about the colorful tapestry of womanist strength of self that the album will present.
And Friday at midnight, not only was the album available, those same music videos from Monae’s website were broadcasted on Black Entertainment Television, its affiliate BETHerTV and Music Television (MTV).
The 14-track album opens with its titular track with Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame, a somber confession of having a low self-esteem yet still wanting love.
It is quickly followed by the upbeat rock-influenced “Crazy, Classic, Life” which acts as the antidote for the female persona from the first song. Here, mantras such as “I’m not American’s nightmare. I’m the American dream” begins to fortify the broken and marginalized so they can be welcomed back into the fold of America (even if our current administration for the United States doesn’t).
The song also empowers feminist sexuality without fearing stigma which is repeated in the Zoe Kravitz duet “Screwed’’ and truth-telling anthem “Pynk” featuring Wondaland Records artist Grimes.
“Django Jane” is the album’s declaration and origin story freestyle track that sets the agenda for every listener – honoring your truth to power, loving yourself and embrace being “highly melanated” (being unabashedly brown).
The high-tech theme continues with the cheeky “Take A Byte” where the term is subverted to reveal an empowered manifesto for the sexually liberated that embraces a truthful love.
The album then transitions into “Stevie’s Dream” which is a simple guitar interlude that layers profound reflections from the legendary Stevie Wonder.
Taking a trip through the world of Dirty Computer is definitely a requirement for any fan of the powerful #BlackGirlMagic revolution we all are witnessing within American culture.
This revolution has brought us Lena Waithe’s The Chi and Emmy-winning Masters of None, Ava DuVernay with ARRAY, Shonda Rhimes with Shondaland, Issa Rae with Issa Rae Productions, Beyonce Knowles – Carter with Parkwood Entertainment, and the revival of such living legends as Miss Janet Jackson and Ms. Lauryn Hill.
With such a force in film, television, music and culture, there is no stopping the tidal wave of truth-telling narratives that speak for the marginalized brown and black women of all ethnicities, denominations and sexual orientations.