Primavera Sound Barcelona
Needless to say, there have been thousands of films in the history of cinema about a woman falling in love with a robot. Remember Metropolis (2007), with that white metal cover and those lyrics that spoke of a lost robotic love. And do you remember that unforgettable scene where flesh and steel come together to dance Make Me Feel for the love of neon remixes under the Dubai sky? And all those celluloid dreams where the chip of the Minneapolis genius formerly known as Prince was inserted into an android, or when in Pynk the robot rocked a pair of vagina pants that only her or Bowie could possess. The history of cinema, told by whom? Maybe the love of cinema never prepared us for the moment when the curtain comes down, when the lights go on and the masks (or carapaces) come off. It certainly didn’t prepare us for Janelle Monáe’s latest album. Metal birds aside, now that the wool is off our eyes we can see that the films in which the Atlanta artist has starred are as much of flesh and bone as Hidden Figures and Moonlight (no small thing), and that she is no longer an android. She wants to feel, to be vulnerable and to bleed. The alter ego of Cindi Mayweather, no more. There is no artifice between you and us women that speaks of gender, race, or anything. Just flesh. Hers and ours. But don’t worry, beautiful android: we realised a while ago that you were too perfect to be a human, too real to be made of metal. Be whatever you want, Janelle. But, whatever form you choose, whatever you decide to be… would you do us the honour of being our woman?
Dirty Computer (Bad Boy Records, 2018)