Heart Reached.

24 May

Janelle Monae and Crunk Feminist Moya Bailey at Release Party for Suite I Metropolis

Dear Janelle Monáe,

Wow. Your album reminds me of something Mdot always says: Black girls are from the future.

I’ve been a fan since forever, like since before you and I existed in present forms. The dorm tour, Dark Tower days, a jam session at Chuck Lightning’s… for real a magical night that is the stuff of grandparent “when I was in college…” lore.

Its been amazing to see you come into yourself, like the magnificent sculpture that emerges from a lustrous wood and the work of a fine crafter. You were/are before your time.

With ArchAndroid, I’ve been transported and transformed.
What you and your wonder twin have done this year for music is like what Octavia did for Afro-futurism before she transitioned.

Prophets heralding a new world era where black women, clothes on or stripped bare are changing the game.

Having a wonder twin and twin myself, I really love that way of naming your relationship to Erykah Badu.  Where as she sometimes gives an audience a thread to hold onto in the way of a sample or familiar phrase while gently pulling us by the heart and third eye to the future, you ask that we tip on it, take a risk and jump; sink or swim, fall or fly. Well luckily I am properly prepared, newly reminded that I’m 20 feet tall and I can jump up in the air and stay there.

ArchAndroid reminds me to reach for my higher self, that my playing small does not serve the world. It reminds me why I started quirky black girls and what I want for us.

I am so grateful for your words, the precision of your art, and the divine intention that your work reveals. You are a patternmaster, catching and transforming us with every note you sing.

You reached my heart.


Moya B.

P.S. I loved your interview on 106 & Park! Also like your wonder twin, you seem to short the circuits of conspicuous consumption and groupthink. I love that you wear that tuxedo to honor your family and the girls who look up to you; A uniform for the cold war. Thanks again for reminding us to reevaluate.


9 Responses to “Heart Reached.”

  1. crunktastic May 25, 2010 at 6:42 AM #

    I really love this, Moya B. This notion that Black Girls are from the future is so powerful. I think of my experience teaching Black feminism, where there were lots of students and a colleague who tried to make it seem as though teaching unapologetically about Black women was somehow parochial, that social conditions had changed for us so much, as to render PHC’s classic out-of-date, and useless. There’s a way in which Black women are always portrayed as being behind the times, hopelessly stuck in the past, which is so ironic given that our bodies have been feared precisely because of the kinds of futures we might literally create. Anyway, my thoughts are still very inchoate on this point, so I’ll stop before I move into a full-fledged ramble. Just thank you. for this. today.

    • susiemaye May 25, 2010 at 8:30 AM #

      This is so not a ramble, Crunktastic. I see all the nonsense happening in AZ and TX with ethnic studies and the textbooks, and I’m so thankful for my fellow feminists. We know why those people are scared. Parochial my foot. We are from the future!

  2. z.bediako May 25, 2010 at 7:30 AM #

    you have a twin! me too

    • moyazb May 25, 2010 at 7:44 AM #

      not a literal twin but, we have similarities that are pretty awesomefor folks not closely bio-related 🙂

  3. mimi thi nguyen May 25, 2010 at 7:31 AM #

    I love this too.

  4. susiemaye May 25, 2010 at 8:20 AM #

    Love the picture! Love the spirit of the piece, Moya.

  5. Jovi May 25, 2010 at 9:39 AM #

    This is awesome!!!

  6. safire blew May 25, 2010 at 1:38 PM #

    i was just having a conversation with a colleague about how integral music has been to my identity formation. often when i do not have the language to express a feeling or desire, i find a singer or musician who gives me the exact line or even sound that i am looking for. i have never given jm a wholehearted listen, but after this blog, i feel i should. she sounds adept at speaking the souls of black female folks. i want to hear what she says. i suspect it’ll resonate.

  7. Gloria May 25, 2010 at 3:04 PM #

    Much like Safire Blew, I too have been formed, transformed, comforted, and healed by music throughout my life. The ArchAndroid and New Amerykah Pt. 2 mean so much for the season I’m in right now (no more rhetoric about the freedom of self-actualization, it’s time to put up or shut up!). “Oh, Maker”, “Mushrooms & Roses”, “Neon Valley Street”, “Window Seat”, and “Out My Mind, Just In Time” among others help keep me enCOURAGEd on the journey of loving (in all its forms) without fear.
    Thank you so much for this, Moya. And thank you for introducing me to JM. And thank you for QBG. And thank you for being you 🙂

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