A brand new single from Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu dropped last night… and it’s killer. Q.U.E.E.N is the first single released from Monae’s upcoming album The Electric Lady:

Erykah Badu at the Grammy'slooking regal
Erykah Badu at the Grammy’slooking regal

It’s funky, electric, and smooth – a fly combination of the two singers’ unique musical styles. Try not to move to this.

Their musical styles might be vastly different, but the lyrics touch on some of their shared experiences as Black women, as unique musical artists, and as otherworldly stylists. It’s about being weird and offbeat and oh-so-cool for it.

For both Badu and Monae, their fashion styles are as prominent and flavorful as their music. They’re known by it, it’s flashy, it’s wild, it’s weirdly so cool.  They’re both fashion geeks! Stylistas who break all the rules of what it means to be fashionable.

Monae with her classy suit and tie and that hair, which she true-to-form designates “The Monae”, emphasizing her dedication to a totally personal style.

Several times the song calls on both ladies’ incomparable fashion sense to talk about bigger issues of “strangeness”…:

“They call us dirty ‘cuz we break all your rules down”…

“Say is it weird to like the way she wear her tights?
And is it rude to wear my shades?”

from  religion…

“Hey sister am I good enough for your heaven?
Say will your God accept me in my black and white?
Will he approve the way I’m made?
Or should I reprogram the programming and get down?…

Baby, we in tuxedo groove
Monae and E. Badu
Crazy in the black and white

to social inequality…

“Are we a lost generation of our people?
Add us to equations but they’ll never make us equal.
She who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel.
So why ain’t the stealing of my rights made illegal?
They keep us underground working hard for the greedy,
But when it’s time pay they turn around and call us needy.
My crown too heavy like the Queen Nefertiti
Gimme back my pyramid, I’m trying to free Kansas City.

to self-love:

“Even if it makes others uncomfortable
I wanna love who I am
Even if it makes other uncomfortable
I will love who I am”

In their own individual music both women speak to all of these things, and this team-up is like a the beginnings of a Black Superheroine team! A solidarity between Black women that seems all too rare in the days of Beyonce- Minaj face-offs and Real Housewives drama.

Together Badu and Monae use their music and their fashion to bust all sorts of myths about Black women —  that there’s only one way to be Black, that there is a persistent animosity between Black women, that women can’t wear suits, that Black isn’t beautiful, that Black ladies ain’t the cooolest, smoothest, funkiest game in town. You’ve had a listen, now take a look…

The Hair.  The Hair!

The Nerdy. 

The Cool.

The Classy.

The Girly.


The Royalty.

The Quintessential Weird-Cool-Awesome.

The Q.U.E.E.Ns

Janelle Monae & Erykah Badu at the 2010 Soul Train Awards
Janelle Monae & Erykah Badu at the 2010 Soul Train Awards