Janelle Monáe speaks about partying with the Obamas, ‘Dirty Computer’ and identity in new interview

Monáe also performed 'Americans' from her new album on the Stephen Colbert show

Janelle Monáe has opened up to Stephen Colbert about her love of the Obama’s, her passion for science fiction and the themes behind her new album, ‘Dirty Computer.’

Describing Obama as her “favourite president” Monáe and Colbert detailed attending Barack Obama’s 55th birthday party, something Monáe said was “hands down” the best party she has ever attended.

“There’s nobody who knows how to party like my favourite president, Barack Obama”, the star told Colbert, before adding: “I don’t think since that night it has gotten better…that was the end of the better days.”


Monáe also described Michelle Obama as “her favourite first lady,” before detailing more about the party at The White House where Stevie Wonder also performed.

Wonder, who has worked with Monáe on her latest album, ‘Dirty Computer’, was described as “a world on his own” by the singer, who spoke warmly about the stars work on her latest album as well as how his advice had helped her to cope with difficult periods in her own life.

Monáe also spoke about how Black Panther had inspired her recently.

“I love writing through my truths and through the lens of a Black American woman and I think that movies like Black Panther have deeply inspired me.”

She added: “Afrofuturism is a term that allows us as black people to see ourselves in the future and know that we make it.”


The star, who appeared in Hidden Figures, a film about a team of female engineers behind the NASA space programme, said appearing in the film was “really important” to her.

“It was really important for me to take that role…she was the first black woman engineer at Nasa,” Monáe said of her character, Mary Jackson.

Speaking about representation, Monáe added that it was important “from the ghettos to Nasa” to show that black women are “changing the world” adding that greater representation was still needed.

Asked what her latest album, ‘Dirty Computer’ was about by Colbert, the singer discussed representation further.

“[It’s about] what it means when humanity says that we are full of bugs and viruses because of our very existence, whether it be you being a part of the LGBTQ+ community, being a black woman, being a minority, an immigrant, the marginalised.”

“It speaks to…the things that make us different, [these] are our attributes – we don’t need to be re-programmed or de-programmed. We’re fine how we are. We too are American.”

The star also revealed she was a huge fan of science fiction, watching the Twilight Zone as a child.

“I loved being able to [see] these different worlds that were different from mine [and] that allowed me to kind of escape where I was during that time and it just stayed with me.”

The singer also performed song ‘Americans’ from her latest album on the show before concluding her appearance by dancing with Colbert on his desk, something the singer the last time she appeared on his show.

Reviewing her latest album, NME said: “She’s got The Purple One’s punk, mad-scientist approach but creates a world all of her own.”

“Throwing in rap, soul, pop, R&B, space-rock and whatever the hell she wants with her fearless message, Janelle Monáe doesn’t believe in walls or limits: this is a fluid celebration of freedom, raging and raving against the oppressors. In fact, only one label sticks – icon.”

Janelle Monáe will perform in Manchester and London this September:

Monday September 10 2018 – MANCHESTER Academy
Tuesday September 11 2018 – LONDON Roundhouse