When Janelle Monae burst on the scene with her adorable, petite, frame and androgynous wardrobe she was like a raisin in a bowl of milk – she stood out. She was bold and different and spunky and badass and I adored her. The black and white uniform that quickly became her signature was very different for an emerging artist, but I figured it was a way to set herself apart from the crowd. In my mind I thought she would grow tired of it in a year or so, sort of like Badu and her colossal head wraps, and another layer of Janelle would be revealed. In 2012 when she gave her acceptance speech at Black Girls Rock she not only killed the red carpet in a classy but sassy little tailored tux, but in an impassioned speech she explained why she chooses to wear black and white in honor of her parents and the sacrifices they made for her to be successful. In that moment I realized that we were seeing another layer of Janelle Monae. Over the last three years since that appearance Ms. Monae has not only continued to make a name for herself as a dynamic singer and performer, but she has also emerged as an advocate for the growing Movement for Black Lives (check out her song ‘Hell You Talmbout’) as well as a regular fashion plate. If you don’t follow JM’s career closely you might have missed her at *this* year’s Black Girl’s Rock awards where she slayed the scene in a fabulous Tibi (I think) A-Line Skirt and cropped top draped in an asian print jacket (see below). But you would have to have crawled under a very unfashionable rock to have missed her jaunt through Paris Fashion Week this year because it was made of some pretty epic stuff.
This week I’m tipping my hat to Ms. Janelle Monae – forever the purveyor of all things funky in black and white.
In Tadashi Shoji, at the MET Gala, 2014
In H&M (specially designed), at the MET Gala, 2015
In Akris, at the Akris show, Paris Fashion Week 2015