MUSIC VIDEO: Tessa Thompson Makes Janelle Monáe (and Us) Feel Pretty F*cking Queer Today

Watch Janelle Monáe recreate classic Black Girl Magic vibes of 1980s “Control” era Janet Jackson from the very first beat drop, as she steps into her glory to become this generation’s living embodiment of Prince.

This is pure, unadulterated black bisexual happiness. It’s gonna make you smile. Here, have some joy with your day.

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 478 articles for us.


  1. Listen, I love this song and the video…and I love her and Tessa together…but “Django Jane,” though?!

    We gon’ start a muthafuckin’ pussy riot or we gon’ have to put them on a pussy diet

    Highly Melanated. Arch-Android Orchestrated.

    Let the vagina have a monologue


  2. Having thought about this video a lot in bed last night :coff: I think what it needs is a fanfic, where Tess, Janelle and “bandana boy” as I have christened him in my head, go off to have a threesome. But the ladies get so into each other, they kinda forget he’s there, so after a while, he gets bored and leaves. Then Tessa (or Janelle) notices he’s not there and asks Janelle (or Tessa) where he went and she shrugs, bored and so they go back to making out again.

    But it’s all OK, because bandana boy has found a leather guy, who will spank him and let BB call him “Daddy”.

    So theyalllivehappilyeveraftertheend!

  3. I already commented but after watching this last night I couldn’t sleep for hours because I was so restless, like, ‘how do I continue going about my life if my life is not EXACTLY like this music video??’

    I’ve been trying to think about what exactly makes it so great and I think the main thing is it just feels so queer – obviously it is explicitly about Janelle’s bisexuality, which is wonderful, but all the other components of the video contribute to its queerness also: it feels like an LGBT space populated with LGBT people, Janelle’s physicality and choreography feels androgynous and plays with gender presentation, the same can be said for all three of the MCs (Janelle, Tessa & the guy) when they are together, their dancing all feels completely instinctive, raw, and unconcerned with coming off as traditionally sexy (though of course the effect *is* sexy as hell), the use of the bisexual flag colours in the lighting, and ultimately the overall feeling that Janelle and Tessa, and to a slightly lesser extent the guy and the other club-goers, are operating completely outside of societal norms of heterosexism, the video as a whole just feels like it’s existing in a space outside of that rather than interacting with it in any way.

    The bizarre thing is I’ve seen a number of men make comments that they think Janelle is performing for the male gaze in this video (with the veneer that they care about feminism but clearly coming from an actual place of sexism and biphobia, consciously or otherwise). It makes me realise that men for the life of them cannot discern the expression of female sexuality and the display of female bodies from performance for men. It’s so clear to me (and it seems to other gay/bi women) that this video *hasn’t* been made with men or straight people in mind, it feels so authentic, and yet these men are just seeing ‘she’s being overtly sexual and is wearing less clothes than normal’ and assuming that that has something to do with them.

    • 100%. Anyone who thinks this clip is just about the male gaze has no frigging idea.

      I have to admit that my eyes bugged right out of head seeing Janelle doing overtly sexay at first, but there is such a sense of her absolutely celebrating and *revelling* in the sexytimes. She’s not an object, but THE subject.

  4. My ability to word is bi-bi-bi gone, but did anybody else see the backup dancers in the room where first meet blonde Id Janelle and think Grace Jones?

    Cause that hat matching with the body suit and gloves.

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