5 of Janelle Monáe’s most visually stunning and meaningful music videos


A deep dive into the crazy-stunning music videos of innovative singer and self-confessed android Janelle Monáe.

Never has a pair of pants served as a better CliffNote to a musicians video discography.

In her latest video “PYNK “, singer Janelle Monáe dons a pair of blooming pink-hued pants –universally, perhaps controversially, “the vagina pants”. A closer look at her chorus line of similarly dressed women reveals that their pants are all slightly different size, color, and texture. Two aren’t wearing them at all. All together, it speaks volumes as to who this visionary is and the stories she tells in her visually stunning videos.

So let’s deep dive into a few of Janelle Monáe’s most creative emotive pictures. Each solidify her as a proud Black feminist who celebrates the differences that make life (and her videos) a Tumblr dream of colorful aesthetics,


Although the so-called vagina pants and a closeup of hair peeking out of tighty-whities stole the show for many, “PYNK” has a meaning much deeper than the hue. Monáe explained to MTV:

"PYNK is a song that is near and dear to my heart and close to my heart. There’s a lot of symbolism in it. There’s lot of mysticism in and my love for us, for black girl magic, and for those who are often times marginalized. It’s very celebratory for us."

The color pink may be synonymous with women and even prettiness. Yet, Monáe reminds us with a wink that no matter the color we are on the outside, pink is the dominant color inside our body, our skin, brain, and anatomy.

“Make Me Feel”

When asked about her sexuality, Monáe is delightfully vague and deflective. She once claimed to only date androids. But when her neon-drenched video for “Make Me Feel” debuted, many took it as an ’80s-esque coming out party with a nod to Robert Palmer. The video features a technicolor love triangle in which Monáe walks into a club with American actress Tessa Thompson (Westworld, Thor: Ragnarok) only to find herself also attracted to a man she meets at the bar. Fans had long speculated that she and Thompson, often in her videos, were or are involved. Anyone who thinks the video’s crisis of attraction is her bisexual anthem needs to catch Monáe dancing behind a line of women in a rainbow multicolor tights at 3:22. There stands our protagonist, middle fingers up to no one in particular.

Monáe explains:

"It’s a celebratory song. hope that comes across. That people feel more free, no matter where they are in their lives, that they feel celebrated. Because I’m about women’s empowerment. I’m about agency. I’m about being in control of your narrative and your body. That was personal for me to even talk about: to let people know you don’t own or control me and you will not use my image to defame or denounce other women."

Don’t let the background actors with Flock of Seagulls haircuts or rhinestone masks distract you. This music video is a creative way of saying live your best life according to your truth, not anyone else’s.

Q.U.E.E.N. featuring Eriykah Badu

“Q.U.E.E.N.” is heaving with one of Monáe’s favorite, aesthetics — stark and striped black and white. Interestingly, the Kansas City singer’s admits that her music lives in between colors — the grey areas of society. Fittingly, her futuristic video featuring resurging ’90s icon Eriykah Badu is for all the people who are unjustly overlooked and judged for not fitting a box.

According to an interview with Fuse, the key to deciphering the video is in the acronym.

"It’s for those who are marginalized. The ‘Q’ represents the queer community, the ‘U’ for the untouchables, the ‘E’ for emigrants, the second ‘E’ for the excommunicated and the ‘N’ for those labeled as negroid. I wanted to create something for people who feel like they want to give up because they’re not accepted by society."

In the video, Monáe is a rebel from the past, suspended in time and imprisoned in a museum when two women free her with music. She repeatedly asks the listener if she’s freak or uncomfortably different for them. Spoiler: she is, and its kind of because she’s a proud, brilliant so-called freak.

“Django Jane”

Clad in a crown, the regal Grammy-nominee and genre-Renaissance woman tries her hand at rap in “Django Jane.” She pushes back at those who try to tell her who she is. She elaborated:

"[Django Jane] is a response to me feeling the sting of the threats being made to my rights as a woman, as a black woman, as a sexually liberated woman, even just as a daughter with parents who have been oppressed for many decades. Black women and those who have been the ‘other’, and the marginalized in society – that’s who I wanted to support, and that was more important than my discomfort about speaking out."

True to her confident defiance, she’s not imitating anyone in her rhyme and flow. She invites us to her palace where she rules as the self-baptized GOAT, talks Black Girl Magic and calls out anyone who gets in the way of the liberated fem future she fights for.

“Cold War”

Don’t let the Sinead O’ Connor-level of camera closeness fool you. Monáe’s beautiful and emotive face may be front and center in the video for Cold War, but the video is all about you, as she explained in one radio interview:

"‘Cold War’ is just a lot of questions that we have to ask ourselves. When I was writing the song, this one dealt with a lot of questions that I had to ask myself. What is my purpose? Why am I doing all this? Why am I questioning myself? Why am I made to believe there is something wrong with me?"

As the writer, you can still feel and even see the personal side of the song when Monáe spontaneously begins to cry. Her vulnerability only reinforces how universal the song is, because don’t we all know that feeling?

Next: 5 women who should lead the next superhero movie

This week, Monáe dropped another her new single “I Like That.” If her previous videos are anything to go by, we’re ready to cry, scream, and dance with her (possible all at once) in the next one.