Janelle Monáe is an incredible singer, actress and advocate for women and body positivity. Lately, she appears to be much more comfortable with showing skin—a transition from the black and white professional attire that’s typically associated with her image.
While discussing her forthcoming animation film Ugly Dolls, Monáe told ESSENCE that although it appears to people as if her image has shifted, the message around body positivity has always been the same.
“I’ve always been clear that it’s important for me to remind myself and remind others that I have agency over my body. I get to decide when, where, how, and not live by anybody else’s interpretation of what they thought I was. The message has always been very clear,” she said recently in Los Angeles.
Whether it’s sexuality, fashion or music, Monáe continues to dismiss society’s ideals around women and encourages others to do the same.
“There’s always this constant idea of what’s ladylike and what a woman should do. Let’s stop listening to what people tell us we should do and just do what’s in our hearts and what’s in our spirit.”
Her upcoming animation film, Ugly Dolls follows a concept that directly aligns with her Grammy Award-nominated Dirty Computers album, released last year. It’s an idea that’s centered around the people who don’t belong–the ugly dolls.
“This is a message that you can never get tired of hearing–protecting the weirdos, protecting the outcasts, protecting those marginalized communities and [those] whose voices are marginalized.”
Monáe continued, “The ugly dolls are breaking down the patriarchy. They are breaking down those who abuse power and I think it speaks to our times right now.”
Ugly Dolls hits theaters on May 3.