Now I've had some pretty cool experiences so far, but never has an artist I adore asked me if I was coming to see them perform and look so interested in the response. But nobody ever said Janelle Monae was normal. Its Wednesday night and and we are catching up at her pep rally. Yeah, she's just that cool.
She has pep rallies.
I have been a fan for a minute so, when I was writing for Vibe Vixen's site last year, I pitched her and got the green light. My last spring break in college last year didnt find me on the beach in Jamaica flirting with natives like I originally daydreamed, but sitting down with this talented phenomenon in the Wondaland space which has green grass as carpet inside, talking about life from Kansas and then in Atlanta, and then we're off to Stankonia to mix the first Suite. Beats the sexiest native Jamaica could offer . . .well unless Idris has a Jamaican twin. . .
So fast forward a year, she makes her Howard debut during Homecoming, is signed to Bad Boy as Diddy's most prized signing and is back in NY for the ultimate showcase. And I, well, Im estatic.
So yeah, I tell her. I will be there.
Then the next 24 hours are sour. Family member keeps secret. Guy Im working with on side project blames me for his lack of direction (sidenote: Carpenter STILL never blames his tools). So a good night's sleep doesnt do much and I go to work hypersensitive, hit my limit, tear falls, too busy to get ticket for Jane's show and didnt go the press route.
Seems the best thing for me to do is to go lick my wounds uptown. Then a coworker invites me to go to a listening session for Michelle Williams' new music. I say yes. Then another asks me to be her plus one at the Janelle Monae show. I say yes.
We miss the Michelle session working. The coworker who gave the JM invite isnt feeling well and doesnt think she will go but still wants me to. Argh.
My want to see the show outweighing my dislike to go alone and not officially on the list but a plus one, push me on. I walk up to the line and the first person I spot is Kenyatta from Giant, who I met through India. (Its true, HU folks are everywhere;). She spots Emil who recently took over Giant (yall know I LOVE Giant) and Danyel, who I still have a girl crush on since she strutted in those crimson patent leather pumps at our magazine conference last year. I had just emailed Danyel a few weeks back and she replied with the coolest words. And I had just emailed Emil the week before after seeing him at that MPA magazine conference. Somehow I get the nerve to go up and say hello. Danyel gives me a hug and Emil offers me a kiss on the cheek. I tell how he first put me on to the new Vogue with Lebron and wide-eyed looking like a cute kid, he says how he didn't know it would turn out to be all this, referring to the King Kong madness.
My tear ducts try a little more.
Inside there is a VIP area in the back with seats to see the stage. I walk up to the 'regular folks' spot at the front because I want to be close to the stage. Hob nobbing definitely has it place, but not tonight. Diddy comes out and lets the crowd know a star will be born on that stage tonight.
Janelle makes her way out.
I go to another place and dont care I am one of the few people around singing all the words and dancing. She does 'Smile' and a giddy grin covers my face. I put my big all purpose bag on the floor and rock with her as she dances like a, like a, i dont even know how to describe it. She dances.
The intro to Lettin' Go comes on and I physically feel my shoulders rise as a weight I didnt realize had settled, gets the hell on. I jump up and down singing the words. L-E-T-T-I-N-G-O
This is my first time hearing the song live and I will love her forever for singing it JUST like the track. The show ends. The band departs. I pick up my bag and smirk at myself who usually OD's on being cool at 'industry' events. I head straight for the door, with a slow crowd enjoying seeing who they can see and trying to be seen. I skip the meet and greet afterward that Im sure was packed, as Diddy shouted out Blender and Rolling Stone among the VIP looking on. The next day, a guy at work says Tyra and some other folks were there too as he reads about the show on Crunk and Disorderly. Hope no one noticed that girl jamming extra hard in the purple dress. And if they did, well, I was just following instructions and l-e-t-t-i-n-g-o . . .