All About the “Monáe!”—Janelle Monáe Artist Spotlight

Name: Janelle Monáe


Alter Ego: Cindi Mayweather

Labels:  Wondaland Arts Society, Bad Boy Records

Artistic Influences: Prince, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, OutKast, Erykah Badu, Funkadelic, George Clinton, Michael Jackson

Associated Acts: OutKast, Big Boi, Erykah Badu, Andre 3000, Miguel, fun.

Previous Works:  The Audition EP (2003)
Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase) EP (2007)
The ArchAndroid (2010)

Latest Release:  Electric Lady (2013)

The Electric Lady Deluxe Album Cover

Initially, I discovered Janelle in 2006 when she was featured alongside OutKast on the “Idlewild” soundtrack.  The track is entitled “Call The Law.” I loved her delivery on the song, where she sang about being fed up with love and that the law may be called after she’s finished with it all.  The theme of the song coincided with the storyline of the film.  I was left wondering who this woman with the soulful, heartfelt delivery was.  During the same time period, my question was answered when she made a cameo in the “Morris Brown” video from the “Idlewild” soundtrack as well.Morris Brown Vid

Janelle moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 2001 where she met Big Boi of OutKast. She released her first EP while there in 2003, entitled “The Audition.”  While residing there, Janelle and two friends founded the Wondaland Arts Society, a record label and artists’ collective to promote innovative music and art. Big Boi was so impressed with her talent and style that he played a pivotal role in linking Janelle with Sean “Diddy” Combs.

According to Bad Boy Records’ A&R Daniel ‘Skid’ Mitchell in an interview with HitQuarters the label boss loved Janelle straight away: “[He] loved her look, loved that you couldn’t see her body, loved the way she was dancing, and just loved the vibe. He felt like she has something that was different – something new and fresh.”  Monáe signed to Bad Boy in 2006.

Android Theme:  “Cindi is an android and I love speaking about the android because they are the new “other”. People are afraid of the other and I believe we’re going to live in a world with androids because of technology and the way it advances.”

Fashion Sense:  Avant-Garde—just like her music. Janelle’s look is very distinctive and androgynous.  “Dressed in her trademark starched shirt and tuxedo, hair immaculately coiffed, Monáe’s face is an opaque mask of perfection: all silken smooth skin, button nose and glassy brown eyes.” (The Daily Telegram).

This also coincides with the android themes that are displayed throughout her EPs and albums and with her alter ego, Cindi Mayweather. She has described her tuxedos as being a uniform for her career and she has stated that she wears them when she is working. In 2012, her distinct style and flawless beauty attributed to her being selected as one of the newest spokeswomen for CoverGirl cosmetics.

Covergirl JM

Check out one of Janelle’s breakthrough songs “Tightrope” below (which was nominated for Best Urban/Alternative Performance at the 2011 Grammy Awards!)
“As we like to say at Wondaland, the booty don’t lie.  The booty always obeys the LAW OF THE JAM. You can’t hate on something that makes your booty move, that makes you jam and have a good time.”–Janelle Monáe

Watch the music video for the track entitled “Q.U.E.E.N.” It features the legendary, imitable Erykah Badu..“The booty don’t lie!!” for this song! I guarantee your hips will sway to this!

Janelle is the next big star! She embodies the whole package: innovation, uniqueness, talent, and inimitability! Buy her album “Electric Lady” on iTunes or from her website..For more info check out her website

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #2 P. DIDDY

The purpose of this blog is to inform the class of America’s “Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012” and the various business ventures in different industries that contributed to their individual successes.

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #2 P. DIDDY

Name: Sean Jean Combs

Stage Name(s): Diddy, P. Diddy, Puff Daddy

Age: 43

Forbes Hip Hop’s Top Earners List: #2 of 9

How Much??? $45 Million

As you can see, as we get closer and closer to #1, the list of business ventures of these hip hop entrepreneurs start to increase exponentially; P. Diddy is no exception.

P. Diddy, the CEO of Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment Group and last year’s #1 hip hop entrepreneur, again had an very lucrative year in 2012.

In addition to Making the Band MTV shows, here are some of his other business ventures that have been instrumental in building his empire:

  1. Sean John Clothing, own by Christian Casey Group which is owned by Bad Boy. The clothing line created in 1998 and was been has reportedly making $100 million a year with numerous fashion design nominations. In 2011, they made an exclusive contract with Macy’s . Link:
  2. Sean John fragrance under Sean Jean Clothing. In 2005, P. Diddy made a joint venture with M.A.C., an Estée Lauder company. Sean John’s fragrance, Unforgivable, reached No. 1 in the U.S. department stores in 2006. The line expanded to Unforgivable Woman and I Am King, which are sold in more than 35 different countries. Links:
  3. In 2003-04, Diddy teamed up with Reebok to design Dallas Mavericks’ (NBA team) alternate jerseys. The players still wear this jersey today. Here is the link:

  4. In 2007, Diddy and Diageo partnered to manage all branding and marketing initiatives for Ciroc Vodka together. Through this venture, Diddy was in charge of all the brand marketing strategies for Ciroc, while sharing 50 percent share of all profits. Here is the link for this alliance:
  5. In 2008, Sean Jean buys Enyce clothing line from Liz Claiborne for $20 million. Here is the link:
  6. In 2010, announced to develop a business school for entrepreneurs: (I wouldn’t mind enrolling!)
  7. In 2012 announced deal with Comcast to launch cable music network channel Revolt in 2013. A show targeted for the African-American audiences. He will own the channel outright. Here is the link:

Here is a YouTube clip of the “BLACK JAMES BOND”: . Show’s P. Diddy on a more personal level.

Although some were obviously more profitable than others, I believe every single of these ventures contributed to the diversity and growth of his business portfolio as a businessman – making him the 2nd most successful and influential hip hop entrepreneur of 2012.

“I’m not just a celebrity endorser, I’m a brand builder. I’m a luxury brand builder” – P. Diddy

(Please tune in next time to find out this year’s #1 hip hop entrepreneur! Hint: Our #1 mainly invested in just one venture that proved to be very, very rewarding.)

By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

*Exra sources:

Other sources are provided within the post.