Janelle Monae On the Cover of Uptown Magazine

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What is the biggest misconception that people have about you?

People think I am so straitlaced and buttoned up. There is a lot of life underneath this tuxedo. I like to have fun. I enjoy practical jokes. I enjoy rolling around the mall in wheelchairs. I enjoy taking someone’s baby and putting it on my hip for about two hours straight and then giving it back.

You are signed to Bad Boy/Atlantic, and you told me years ago that he (Diddy) is basically your cheerleader. What role does he play in your career now?

He is the ambassador and protector of the jam. He makes sure that our ideas get out into the world. He is not involved creatively. He is the spokesperson for corporations when it’s time to talk business. When we don’t want to have conversations with suits, he goes in and slaps people for us. He is our highest professional slapper. He slaps anyone that tries to mess up the jam.

Do you feel a social responsibility with your artistry and celebrity?

If I were not a woman, or African-American, or have people in my life that have not been directly discriminated against, then I would not feel a social responsibility. When you love and care about people and you see young people dying, it’s impossible to ignore. Let me be clear: When I speak of androids, I am speaking of the new form of the ‘other.’ You can parallel that to people who are gay or lesbian, those whose skin is considered too dark; women still are not receiving equal rights. I write music that fights against self-hate. It is about loving yourself even if it makes others uncomfortable”

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