If you're wondering why Janelle Monae's wardrobe almost never strays from her usual black-and-white suit jacket and saddle shoes ensemble, then the explanation is simple. "I started wearing this uniform, to be perfectly honest, because I have an amazing body," Janelle tells Elle Canada for its latest issue.
The singer appears on the magazine's cover, dressed in her signature outfit, which includes a crisp white shirt, and black tie. "When I look at myself in the mirror, I'm attractive. I really have a nice body. And I had to pick: Do I want them to focus on my body? Do I want them to focus on how curvy and really, really gorgeous my figure is? Or do I want them to look at my music?" Janelle tells Elle Canada.
In the past, the singer told reporters that her stage uniform served as a special tribute to her mom and dad, who wore uniforms when they worked as a janitor and garbage truck driver, respectively. But while that may still be true, Janelle says her reasoning goes even deeper.
The singer says she made a decision early on that she wanted people to focus on her music, "because I feel like I have a higher calling." Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, Janelle says her family didn't have much money, and she watched her older cousins get into trouble. She tells Elle Canada, that she's using her music to speak to her cousins in Kansas City. She's also reaching out to her fans and anybody else who can benefit from seeing the world through the eyes of someone who has a different outlook on what it means to be a strong woman.
"I just hope to be an inspiration to the next generation of girls, to help them define what makes them unique and what makes them special," Janelle says.
The singer is working on the follow-up to her 2010 album The ArchAndroid. The new set is titled The Electric Lady, and Janelle hopes the music will make people feel "enlightened." She says, "I want them to feel like they've been taken higher. I want them to feel loved, I want them to feel cared for."
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