Janelle Monae set the internet ablaze with the release of some sexy visuals for her upcoming album The Age of Pleasure, which is set to come June 9.
The new song and video — a trippy tribute to intimacy — contains blurred nudity and steamy scenes of Monae interacting with beautiful women in a variety of scenarios.
This is a bit of a departure for the normally buttoned-up artist, and inspired much chatter on social media and off.
“Janelle Monae has taken it all from me today, and I don’t even want it back,” said media personality Van Lathan Jr. via a May 11 Twitter post—his sentiments echoing many others. And while the ravenous response to the beauty is understandable, Monae is way more than just a gorgeous face. She’s a boss. Here’s what we mean.
She launched her own record label in 2015
Wondaland is “a joint dream in which a group of artists set out to swim towards a boat all together—and in some ways, I’m a lifeguard,” said a then 29-year-old Monáe, at the time of the label’s launch in 2015.
Five years after her 2010 musical debut, Monae teamed with Epic Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, to help platform artists and their projects like Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, Deep Cotton, and St. Beauty.
“The collective talent of the Wondaland artists is awe-inspiring,” said LA Reid, Chairman and CEO, Epic Records in a news release. “I haven’t personally witnessed a collective that sounds and looks this special in quite a while. I’ve been a longtime supporter and friend of Janelle and it is an honor to now work with her as a visionary businesswoman who brings an all-star group of talented performers to the table.”
She owns a production company
Launched in 2018, Wondaland Productions landed a first-look deal with Universal Pictures in 2021, an incredible feat for the then 32-year-old Monae.
According to a report by Deadline, Wondaland Pictures focused on bringing groundbreaking artists and perspectives from marginalized communities to the screen. Donna Langley, Chairman of Universal Pictures, said that “There is an exciting, artistic revolution taking place in our industry, and Janelle and the talented team at Wondaland are at the forefront.” Langley adds, “Their forward-thinking, inclusive approach to content and storytelling make them a perfect fit for our studio.”
She has secured a slew of endorsement deals
Monae’s name, image and likeness has been used to amplify brands like Belvedere Vodka, Morgan Stanley, Martell Cognac and the iconic Covergirl Cosmetics.
She is incredibly practical
Monae actually runs her companies, and digs her heels into everything it has going on.
“Slack!” she answered in response to a question about how she organizes her life. “Email used to stress me out. Now I can organize every conversation, and I go into the channel when I need to—I don’t check it every hour. Like, when I get up, the first thing I do is not look at my phone. The first thing I do is I take at least 10 deep breaths.” She demonstrates, seemingly shifting her mind from the cacophonous, dimly lit restaurant, where she’s occupying a prime corner table, to a mellower internal place: “Inhale . . . exhale; inhale . . . exhale. That really calms you down.”