Janelle MonŠe Robinson, also known as Janelle MonŠe, was born on December 1, 1985 in Kansas City, Kansas. As a child, she had always dreamed of being a performer on the stage. She left Kansas for New York to study theatre at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. At first, MonŠe aimed to become a performer on Broadway, but she changed her mind and went to music instead. She felt that music has the power to change the world. Later on, MonŠe moved to Atlanta, GA, where she met Big Boi from Outkast and founded the Wondaland Arts Society. Big Boi introduced MonŠe to Sean "P Diddy" Combs which led her to be signed to Bad Boy Records in 2006.With a few exceptions, MonŠe's songs tell the story of the futuristic dystopia of Metropolis and Cindi Mayweather, a popular musician android and prototype for the equally popular, mass-produced Alpha Platinum 3000 droid model. Cindi falls in love with a human named Anthony Greendown and finds a bounty placed on her head as a result.Discography:
The Auditionnote A self-published release from back before MonŠe founded the Wondaland Arts Society. It has not been re-released under her label.
Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase) (2008)
The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III) (2010)
The Electric Lady (Suites IV & V) (September 2013)
"Many Moons" (2008)
"Cold War" (2010)
"Dance Apocalyptic" (2013)
"PrimeTime" (featuring Miguel) (2013)
The tropes that apply to Janelle MonŠe:
Agony of the Feet: "57821" describes Anthony looking for Cindi until "his feet became bloody and tired".
All Part of the Show: The only people that suspect something is wrong when Cindi has a seizure in the "Many Moons" video are Lady Maestra and 6ix Savage.
Alter Ego Acting: Janelle MonŠe's character, Cindi Mayweather, not to mention her many sisters and various other characters she plays in videos.
Ambiguously Gay: MonŠe's sexuality has been speculated upon, due in part to her Bifauxnen fashion sense. She has stated that she will publicly state her sexuality "in due time", for the moment offering that she "only dates androids"...where "android" stands in for the various oppressed minorities like queer and black people.
Ambiguously Human: Cindi Mayweather. She is very human-like, despite being an android.
Arc Number: 57821, which is Cindi's serial number. It also appears as MonŠe patient number at the Palace of the Dogs Asylum in the "Tightrope" video, and is used as the title of a song on The ArchAndroid.
Ascended Fangirl: The Electric Lady sees her performing alongside some of her influences, including Erykah Badu and Prince.
Ax-Crazy: Her song "Come Alive" plays this trope straight.
Badass Cape: Appears frequently in her live performances.
Cozy Catastrophe: "Dance Apocalyptic" encourages the listener to "dance until the end", "laugh at the zombie in the front yard", etc.
Creator Backlash: She very much dislikes the fact that old photos of her are circulating. She finds the many colors she once wore too messy and confused, and doesn't want to be associated with them in order to maintain her aesthetic.
Fantastic Arousal: "Wondaland" has the lines "I'm so inspired / You touched my wires".
Fantastic Racism: Against perfectly sapient androids. "Metropolis" implies that they are also confined to a "wired side" of town, which other songs imply is underground.
Faux Affably Evil: The announcer in "March of the Wolfmasters" is gushingly cheerful about the bounty on Cindi's head and the fact that it's only redeemable if you kill her with "chainsaws and electro-daggers" and rip out her soul to boot.
Rags to Riches: This is noteworthy as Janelle Monae makes a point to use this part of her story to inspire both her fans and her aesthetic: her mother was a janitor, her father was a garbage truck driver who struggled with drug addiction, and to go to Conservatory she spent time working with her mother. While producing The Audition, she was working at Office Depot, and incidentally, got fired for messaging fans on store computers.
Robo Family: The prerelease for The Electric Lady reveals that Cindi has five sisters, all of them Alpha Platinum 3000s. Exactly what "sister" means when the AP3000 is a mass production model has yet to be revealed.
Star-Crossed Lovers: Cindi and Anthony; in Metropolis, an android who falls in love with a human faces the death penalty, whether they act on their feelings or not. It's implied that Anthony is being hunted down as well. This trope is lampshaded in "March of the Wolfmasters", where Cindi is introduced as "a new star-crossed winner in our Heartbreak Sweepstakes."
The Stoic: She certainly comes across as so in interviews, but during performances she is far more upbeat, and has at least twice been moved to tears on camera.
Time Police: The conceit for the "Q.U.E.E.N." video is that MonŠe has been arrested by the Time Council and placed in a museum full of time-frozen musical revolutionaries, but is freed by some young freedom fighters.
Trilogy Creep: The covers of The Chase and The ArchAndroid imply that the Metropolis saga was planned to be four suites long. However, The Electric Lady is comprised of suites IV and V, and its album cover implies that the story will now reach at least seven suites.
Viral Marketing: Videos have been released daily up to the release of the Electric Lady on Janelle Monae's YouTube channel in order to hype the album. They evoke Cindi Mayweather's escape and growing support for her freedom movement. Along with the videos, the Electric Pirate Radio, which appears in the Electric Lady interludes, is set to air on this website.
Voice of the Legion: The voice of the announcer in "March of the Wolfmasters" is occasionally overlaid with a deep, robotic voice, lending her this effect. It's also present in the "I love you, and I won't take no for an answer" line in "Violet Stars Happy Hunting!".
White Mask of Doom: The Punk Prophets. Deep Cotton wear plague doctor masks while the rest of the prophets wear lantern-jawed masks.
The Wonka: Certainly an eccentric whimsical character, and yet with a stern authoritative demeanor that gives her an appearance of magic power. While producing The Audition, she ran amok on AUC, performing for students and rallying them around certain messages, for example that college was a waste of money and they should look for what truly made them passionate.
Wretched Hive: Metropolis seems to be one, based on all the crimelords present at the robot auction shown in the "Many Moons" video.