5 Janelle Monáe Music Videos that Say Fuck You to the Patriarchy

In a world of pussy grabbing presidents and an increasing number of hollywood sexual harassment cases, it’s always refreshing to take time out and enjoy women’s empowerment celebrated through music. Janelle Monáe’s latest music video release is the vagina celebration anthem we’ve all been waiting for. Vagina shaped trousers? Check. “I grab back” slogan underwear? Check. A troupe of kickass women celebrating womanhood in all its forms? Check. What else could you want? This track got me feeling like I could take on the world, defeat nonsense male behaviour, all while wearing vagina trousers as a “fuck you” to all the pussy grabbing men out there. This isn’t Monáe’s only affirmation song, her music is marked by protest, black feminist ideologies and women’s empowerment. Her music video concepts reinforce that we can break down racism and the patriarchy while being badass women making a mark in the world. Check out 5 of her music videos which do just that!  

1. PYNK, 2018

Pynk, like the lips around you... maybe
Pynk, like the skin that’s under... baby
Pynk, where it’s deepest inside... crazy
Pynk beyond forest and thighs
Pynk, like the secrets you hide... maybe
Pynk, like the lid of your eye... baby
Pynk is where all of it starts... crazy
Pynk, like the holes of your heart.

The Rolling Stones writes: ‘Monáe described the “Pynk” as “a celebration of creation, self love, sexuality and pussy power”. She said that pink unites all of humanity because it’s the colour “found in the deepest and darkest nooks and crannies of humans everywhere”. This women-only music video celebrates women’s empowerment and strength in a fun way.

2. Q.U.E.E.N. feat. Erykah Badu, 2013

Even if it makes others uncomfortable
I wanna love who I am
Even if it makes other uncomfortable
I will love who I am

The title “Q.U.E.E.N” stands for a lot more than just a powerful woman ruler. Monáe explains, “Q.U.E.E.N. is definitely an 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”.

3. Electric Lady, 2014

She’ll walk in any room, have you raising up your antennas
She can fly you straight to the moon or to the ghettos
Wearing tennis shoes or in flats or in stilettos
Illuminating all that she touches, eye on the sparrow
A modern day Joan of her Arc or Mia Farrow
Classy, sassy, put you in a razzle-dazzy
Her magnetic energy will have you coming home like Lassie.

Monae writes: “What I wanted to do was create an album that deals with this concept of the Electric Lady and a world where these electric ladies were realizing their super powers and doing self-realization into self-actualization and nurturing the community through their gifts and their unique perspectives on life. That was the thing it really center around, this whole concept of the Electric Lady."

4. Django Jane, 2018

And we gon’ start a motherfuckin’ pussy riot
Or we gon’ have to put ‘em on a pussy diet.
Black girl magic, y’all can’t stand it
Y’all can’t ban it, made out like a bandit
They been trying hard just to make us all vanish
I suggest they put a flag on a whole ‘nother planet.
Let the vagina have a monologue
Mansplaining, I fold ‘em like origami

About the track, Monáe explains that 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 marginalised in society – that’s who I wanted to support, and that was more important than my discomfort about speaking out.”

5. Hell You Talbot, Janelle Monáe and Wondaland Records, 2015

Sandra Bland, say her name
Sandra Bland, say her name
Sandra Bland say her name
Sandra Bland, won’t you say her name?

This track by Monáe in collaboration with her Wondaland Records Collective is a six and a half minute protest song. It’s a simple concept. Katie Presley writes: “The lyrics are the chanted names of black Americans killed by police and vigilantes, followed by the phrase "say his name" or "say her name." The chorus is an anthemic, gospel-leaning repetition of the song's title.”

A Must-Listen: Locked Inside

Even though this song doesn’t have an official music video, it’s a must listen. Monáe’s ‘Locked Inside’ anthem from her 2012 album the ArchAndroid challenges the social injustices and corruption in the world.

The opening line just captures the spirit of the song:

I’m locked inside
A land called foolish pride
Where the man is always right
He hates to talk but loves to fight
Is that all right?


Article by Chanju Mwanza