Janelle Monae thrilled a few lucky fans and friends with a special appearance at YouTube Space Los Angeles, where she and YouTube presented a special screening of the performer’s new emotion picture Dirty Computer. The 50-minute sci fi movie accompanies her new album of the same name, and co-stars Tessa Thompson. Long-time collaborator Alan Ferguson directs. Vibrant, arresting, and at times subversively sweet, Dirty Computer is a slice of Afrofuturistic sci-fi excellence, peppered with politics, sexuality, and fashion. The film showcases the music in a way that still leaves room for her fans to fall in with their imaginations and find meaning for themselves.
YouTube creator Ari Fitz moderated a lively Q&A with Monae immediately following the screening. On the heels of Monae officially “coming out” this week as pansexual and, above all, “a free-ass motherfucker” in an interview with Rolling Stone, Monae continued to speak openly on an array of personal and professional subjects. She and Fitz touched on the particular flavor of freedom many African-American science fiction fans experience in exploring Afrofuturism, a sandbox in which Monae has successfully played from go. The Hidden Figures star teared up at one moment, reflecting on how she seeks to be as forgiving and emotionally generous as her grandmother and ancestors who continually gave of themselves, even while enduring and overcoming some of the most vile forms of enslavement. New Janelle Monae album Dirty Computer is out now.