With Diddy standing next to Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show to announce Janelle Monáe's now infamous performance and some great first week sales, the Bespoken Suited ArchAndroid That Could is tipping closer and closer to the mainstream with each passing day. But is that enough for her to transcend the narrow classifications embedded in mainstream music markets? A thoughtful article on The Root uses Monáe to explore the ways in which antiquated ideas of "race music" aren't as dead as you'd think. This notion was never lost on us here at SoulBounce. But maybe you fellow Bouncers can answer some questions that the article raised for me.
Why is mainstreaming still considered an ideal endgame?
Isn't incorporating Debussy ("Say You'll Go"), and utilizing orchestral arrangements without straight sampling them extremely conventional to the point of actually becoming radical?
Isn't it kind of shocking that her being fully clothed, not singing solely about/to men will probably cap her record sales more than the fact that she's not making stereotypically urban music? (No really. Think about it.)
Shouldn't her ability to blend styles and move fluidly between genres, disregarding the limitations thrust upon her, precisely what makes her music unequivocally Black, be lauded instead of deconstructed to fit into the same old paradigms that hold us all back?