We’ve come to know Janelle Monáe as the suit-clad, bouffant-adorned musician tip-tapping on the “Tightrope,” but 2016 introduced Monáe’s thespian chops. She appeared in two critically-acclaimed films, Moonlight and Hidden Figures: “They are important to humanity, being [at the Oscars] because of those two projects meant the world,” she told the Cut.
Recently Monáe spoke with the Cut about what is was like representing these two different yet equally important films at the Oscars. She also mulled over the significance of marrying style and political statements organically, and why acting in service of others makes her feel the most beautiful.
You wore this ethereal headband at the Oscars and a glittery black-and-metallic gown. What was the thought process in constructing this look?
I knew that I wanted to make a statement; I wasn’t trying to have anything less than dramatic but I wanted to feel in my element.Timeless. I wanted to feel in the past and in the future. When my stylist and I were talking through the look, there was an Elie Saab couture dress that gave me everything I wanted. It was enchanting and I just felt like a space queen. When you deal with Hidden Figures and Moonlight, things in space and things that I’ve loved my entire career and have been obsessed since I was a little girl — that was the inspiration.
You’ve been vocal about how your choice of dress is a political statement. Does this sentiment extend to your beauty choices?
I’m an organic person. If creativity and politics meet, they meet; I don’t try and force it as an artistic statement. It has to make sense to me, and when those moments happen, that’s when the inspiration, the messaging, and the creativity can co-exist.