On the song “Warrior Bones,” Tamar-Kali closes with the telling lines: “These warrior bones ache for revolution, but the people ain’t ready.”
So it seems that Janelle Monae’s solution is to be a time-traveling rebel from the future so that she can impact and change the present. Smart, right? After all, history is filled with artists who weren’t fully understood or appreciated in their own time. Painter Vincent Van Gogh, Arthur Lee & Love, and Detroit punk rockers Death, to name a few. And the video is also a subtle exercise in manifestation. By that, I mean, Janelle projects a future in which she and Wondaland are such infamous subversives they have to be imprisoned. Check the voice over in the beginning where it talks about Project Q.U.E.E.N. as a “musical weapons” program that was so dangerous it’s still not understood the video’s dystopian future. In fact, authorities are still “hunting the various freedom movements that Wondaland disguised as songs, emotion pictures and works of art.”
Yeah, bravo, Janelle. We’re glad you’re back. And we’re pulling for you to have that much impact in the world today.