Songwriter and actress Janelle Monáe recently released the third song in her new album “Dirty Computer.”
The song, called “PYNK,” puts Monáe’s fan base in a craze with her music video’s ingenious symbolism.
— Lena March (@MarchLena) April 10, 2018
Absolutely loving what Janelle Monáe is doing to recalibrate the sexual politics of modern pop. There's at once ten years and an entire generation separating this from 'I Kissed a Girl'. https://t.co/gE10IB13ak
— Guy Lodge (@GuyLodge) April 10, 2018
#pynk is what happens when Black Artists are allowed to be groundbreaking, out-of-the-box, unconventional and expressive, with the same creative liberties & risk-taking attitude their white counterparts are permitted.@JanelleMonae is going to save us all, I swear to god. pic.twitter.com/Poqm4s0XoT
— Kosoko Jackson (@KosokoJackson) April 11, 2018
Monáe is taking the expressions of femininity and sexuality to all new levels in this album.
This is clearly seen from her line “let the vagina have a monologue” in “Django Jane,” to the intimate scenes with bisexual themes in “Make Me Feel.” The admiration is even more evident with the “pussy pants”–definitely more than a metaphor–and other labia-shaped flowers and fruits in “PYNK.” Monáe is painting a very clear picture of the female sex and its many attributes.
While the premise of “PYNK” seems simple enough as a mesmerizing wonderland of popping bubblegum, snapping manicured fingers and poolside antics in heels, a closer look reveals much more.
Outside the themes of pink and summer fun among girls, one can discern many more underlying motifs.
In “Django Jane,” Monáe foreshadowed “PYNK” with the line “paint the city pink.” The artist gives a whole new set of meanings to the color stereotypical of the female gender in this newer song. The lyrics hint at many parts of the female body associated with the color pink. Specifically, the eyelids, lips and the part most essential to life– the vagina.
As Monáe says in the video description:
‘Pynk’ is a brash celebration of creation. self love. sexuality. and pussy power! Pynk is the color that unites us all, for pink is the color found in the deepest and darkest nooks and crannies of humans everywhere…
Historically, the vagina has always been seen as explicit in media, but Monáe’s artsy, soulful rendition of this both objectified and censored sex organ is changing the game in terms of what society considers worthy of acknowledgment and exhibition.
Men, on the contrary, have typically seen their bodies more widely accepted in society.
In her lyric “‘Cause boy it’s cool if you got blue, we got the pink,” Monáe shifts the narrative of male dominance. She confidently and pridefully displays femininity and all of its aspects that have been considered indecent. Especially, eroticism and genitalia.
Monáe and Tessa Thompson, who also starred in the video, have explicitly recognized that not all women have vaginas.
They do this by displaying innuendos; you’ll notice there’s the baseball bat between one girl’s legs and two girls in the opening scene not wearing the vagina pants. Although Monáe chooses to celebrate the female form, she also focuses on equal representation. She shows love and support for transgender women who may not have the same anatomical features as cis women.
"To all the black girls that need a monologue that don’t have Vaginas, I’m listening." https://t.co/thcNvIk2fA
— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) April 11, 2018
In one scene, Monáe cleverly inserts allusions in the form of pink words on white underwear.
Monáe herself wears one pair reading “sex cells,”–an acute play on words. The line insinuates the way in which sexual content, especially that of women, is more likely to sell in the film and media industries, thus producing the sexualization and objectification of women.
One interesting moment is when the camera zooms in on Monáe’s panties.
Viewers can see coarse pubic hair surrounding the undergarment, which is an exhilarating attempt by Monáe to further liberate women from the stigmas and judgment surrounding their bodies. Another woman’s crotch bears the devastatingly witty phrase, “I grab back,” which is an obvious reference to President Trump’s controversial statement, “grab ’em by the pussy.”
Overall, through her candid and psychedelic storytelling, Monáe is redefining femininity and what it means to promote womanhood openly, without shame or denial.
“PYNK” is a fresh and vividly sensual commemoration to everything that makes being a woman special. This message is conveyed by pink popsicles, ultra-chic fashion, convertibles and inspiring euphemisms. From sexuality to sex organs, Monáe is barring nothing in her journey to empower all women.
She is helping women gain their voices and respect back in society.
Photo credit: Out and About NYC Magazine