Janelle Monae's "Dirty Computer" - A Spectrum of Empowerment & Feminism

A few weeks ago, singer and activist, Janelle Monae released her album “Dirty Computer.” We have all seen Monae’s work recently in both the civil and women’s rights movement, is an active figure in the #metoo movement and recently came out as pansexual. I knew without a doubt that her album would be dripping with feminist aphorisms, pro-Black lyrics, and empowering mantra. What I didn’t expect was for her album to be so diverse musically, no song like the other and calling the album unique is an understatement.

Beginning with the song “Dirty Computer,” Janelle sheds light on how women can lose themselves when in love, and the album flows through the different emotions us women go through while navigating through a man’s world. However, the album is not to be taken as the simple laments of a heartbroken woman. No- this album is empowering from beginning to end, with songs like “Pynk” and lyrics like “if you try to grab my pussy, this pussy grabs you back” reminiscent of President Trump’s sexist comments and the #metoo movement, where women are protesting sexual harassment.

Of course, Janelle Monae had to speak on the current social climate of the United States. In songs “Americans,” “Django Jane,” and “Crazy Classic, Life,” she details the plight of Black men, women, and families and how social injustices affect the lives of these individuals. In Django Jane, she identifies herself as a vigilante, using her large platform to spread the message of a need for change and at the same time tells people of color to take pride in themselves, referring to them as the “highly melanated.” With an increasing amount of celebrities choosing to advocate for those with less of a platform like Childish Gambino, Janelle Monae is contributing to a more beneficial form of entertainment; entertainment that’s used to uplift and empower.

“Dirty Computer” isn’t just for women or people of color. Its wide array of musical styles ensures that just about anyone can find a song that they’ll like. From rap to an acoustic ballad, Janelle Monae shows her ability to adapt in her music and doesn’t limit herself to what’s trending or one specific genre. Her music is fluid and comparable to her recent coming out as a pansexual, someone who considers themselves fluid when it comes to who they’re attracted to.

If you haven’t already listened to “Dirty Computer,” head over to your favorite streaming service and give it a listen. The musical variety, feminist messages, and social declarations make this album one of a kind yet a significant contribution toward the various movements that are going on today.

Louis Elton