Janelle Monáe is one of our most talked about entertainers these days.
The singer has kicked off the first half of 2018 with an incredible album, Dirty Computer, which features stunning visuals. And, the singer is creating awareness and representation after coming out as pansexual in a recent Rolling Stone interview. Merriam-Webster even announced that the term had become one of its most searched words.
Still, despite the singer’s success, there is one thing—one person—she misses.
Sitting down with the hosts of ESSENCE’s Yes, Girl!, the singer opened up about working with Prince and the impact the legendary singer had on her.
“There is not a moment or a day that goes by that I don’t miss Prince,” Monáe told hosts Cori Murray, Charli Penn, and Yolanda Sangweni. “Growing up, I had a deep love and respect for Prince as an artist.”
Monáe added that she used to be “be terrified of Prince,” before beginning to understand and appreciate the artist. “I would watch his videos and his eyes and I would just be like, ‘Who is that spirit?’ I had never seen a black man perform or express himself in the way that Prince did. He didn’t allow people to put him in a box or try to force him to be more masculine or more feminine. You knew that he was like, ‘I’m a free ass mothafucka.’ And he showed that.”
The singer was fortunate enough to meet the icon and jam with him before his passing, calling the Prince “a gift.”
“We had so many memories,” Monáe told Yes, Girl! “It was really difficult because I saw him at his last performance in Atlanta. He did the Piano & A Mic Tour and I did get the opportunity to hug him and tell him I loved him. And I just made sure that every time I saw him he knew how appreciative I was of his very existence. It meant a lot. Not to me, just as an artist, but as a human being. He gave so much he never wanted people to know. There are things he’s done for me, for artists, that he just never wanted to be in the press. And I hope to be more like him in my philanthropy of my time. He’s a gift that keeps on giving.”