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Janelle Monae Performance: Classically Avant Garde (+vids!)

July 27, 2010

This past Sunday I had the extreme pleasure of attending Janelle Monae’s performance at San Francisco’s All Shook Down festival.  I’m a little at a loss for what to say about the performance because it was so dang awesome.  Wallowing in talent and catapulting style, grace, and funky beats in the universe, this phenom has and will to continue to take the music world by storm!

Her style is reminiscent of a robotic James Brown with modern swagger living in the Victorian era.  In other words, this quickly rising star is on a level of her own.  The program for the show even said  that “Monáe has been labeled the Lady Gaga of R&B — a comparison that should flatter Gaga.”

Janelle’s utterly unique style of dress, song, and dance was topped of by her signature pompadour that seemed to defy gravity.  That is, around the third song when things were really getting live on stage.

Can bobby pins withstand the forces of inspired genius in midflight? Obviously not, and why should they?  I personally loved seeing this fallen lock of humanity on Ms. Monae the Archandroid.

I’ve often wondered how Janelle’s routine and styling process and think I finally figured most of it out.     After reading a write-up of the aforementioned bobby pin malfunction, in which the writer refers to the fallen lock as a “braid” (which, I am sorry, it is just soooo obviously not), I can see that the pattern of the loose piece had retained some of the shape of a braid out.  So that’s mystery one solved: she uses what appears to be thick braids to stretch her hair before doing a french twist in the back and then up, up, up and away into a pompadour in the front using a lattice work of stretched hair and strategically placed pins.  In any case, loose pieces and all, this style is equally as avant-garde as it is classic.

I also took a couple of videos from the show that I wanted to share with you.  Please keep an eye out for:

  • A rowdy reveller
  • The guitarist’s hair
  • A bunch of other natural heads bopping around in the foreground

Speaking of the other natural heads. I made the observation during the show that Janelle Monae is a natural hair magnet!  Every where I turned, I was presented with an eye-full of natural hair!  I even stopped a few to chat it up and invite them along to the meet up coming up this Saturday in San Francisco.

Whippa + her fierce fro & friends

Siaira + Ain

If you have not yet done so, get on the interweb and check out Janelle Monae’s new album, The ArchAndroid.  And if you see her rolling through your city, make sure to get to a show– you will not regret it!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 27, 2010 1:05 pm

    Anytime this woman is in NYC. I am there! Yup, The pompadour def looks like a chunky braid out.

  2. July 27, 2010 1:42 pm

    Indeed she is like the female version of James Brown. Janelle keeps good music alive, I love this woman. I was right in front of her at All Shook Down, I’ll be posting photos later on today.
    I can’t wait for her return to SF.

  3. Diane permalink
    July 29, 2010 7:41 am

    Zomg! I love her. You know, I’ve never thought about how she got her hair that way. Now I know; you have a trained eye. 🙂 Great pics and videos – I burst out laughing at the guy in the second one. Securr-ity! Lol, he couldn’t help himself. The first vid? Did you hear somebody say, you betta sang girl! Because um, if I were there, that would have been me. lol. I was lucky enough to see her several months ago at a small venue in my city. She’s amazing. Oh, and this might be funny: my dad loves her as well, and he calls her guitarist (whose name is Kellindo) Andre 2000.

  4. August 9, 2010 9:02 am

    She is too cute. Love the pix.

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