Janelle Monae‘s signature style usually consists of monochrome buttoned-up shirts and tuxedo suits, which she says serves as an intentional fashion statement against the sexualization of female musicians.
“There were no women who performed fully clothed — still to this day there aren’t,” she says in the new issue of Marie Claire. “To me, that was a problem, to say, ‘If you want to be in the music industry, you need to be able to sell sex’…I want to be in control of my body. I don’t ever want a man or woman to tell me to dress that way. I think it’s up to me.”
So how does she decide on her outfits? Janelle says she doesn’t like to stress about or over-think her attire.
“If I have to think about my outfit longer than, like, two minutes, I’ve wasted time. Who wants to think about, ‘What am I going to wear at this performance?’ I need to be focused on creating, changing the world,” she says.
Monae, who delivered an electric performance during the NBA All-Star Game last weekend, credits her great-grandmother for developing her style.
“The only training I had was calling ‘living-room training,'” Monae recalls of her time with her great-grandmother. “She would play these scary chords on the organ, and I would just sing and make up church songs.”
Janelle is scheduled to play a string of concerts in the U.K., beginning in Manchester, England on May 7.
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