Exclusive: Janelle Monae to Guest Star on Bravo's 'Fashion Queens'
Known for hitting the stage in a black-and-white tuxedo, R&B singer-songwriter Janelle Monae admits that style has played an important role in shaping her identity.
"As an artist, I feel like we have to reinvent ourselves. I'm constantly trying to do that but at the same time, find things that are transcendent," Monae says.
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The 29-year-old will bring her menswear-rooted sartorial lens to Bravo's Fashion Queens on Sunday (May 3) at 11:30 p.m. EST. After taping for the 30-minute talk show wrapped, Billboard caught up with Monae, who's EP new, Eephus, drops on June 23.
The show critiques the style hits and misses of the past week. What's one of your biggest fashion faux pas to date?
Years ago I followed a trend and felt like everyone else when I did it. I don't like feeling that way. When I wear jeans, when I show skin -- I do it on my own time, when I'm ready. Black and white in general is something I embraced and owned -- it's part of my brand. I never feel as though I'm trying to play it safe when I wear it.
When did you and Bevy Smith first meet?
I love Bevy Smith. We met at a gala for the Harlem Museum in New York, and when I met her she hugged me, she made a joke ... she's been very supportive of me and my career ever since. All of the co-hosts -- Miss Lawrence, Derek J -- we show each other love. I'm proud of them for having the show, for being women of color -- for making us laugh and fully being themselves. They embrace their sexuality, their comedic side; you're getting honesty from them.
What separates a good outfit from a great outfit?
Details. Whether it's a hat, the shoes, the handkerchief, the earrings -- all of those little details matter. The tailoring also matters. An outfit can be good but it can be magnificent if it's tailored to fit your body.
Which of your looks stands out as an all-time favorite?
I love the Tadashi cape that I wore for the Met Gala in 2014. It was red and made me feel like a superhero -- it was Game Of Thrones-meets- Janelle Monae inspired.
Is there a musician with great style that's currently on your radar?
Jidenna. He has a song out called "Classic" and says that he is like the swank master of all ceremonies. He has this whole Jim Crow-era feel, so I'm really digging his look.