Janelle Monaé Says She Was Told To 'Dress A Certain Way' When She First Entered the Music Industry

Jane. Cindi Mayweather. These are the pseudonyms and alter egos of the ever-inspiring Janelle Monaé. Each one comes with a compelling backstory, much like her real life, taking her many fans on a crazy ride through the worlds that she creates. This week, the real Ms. Janelle Monaé Robinson celebrated her 29th birthday. While there most likely was cake and dancing involved, Janelle Monaé's official video for Covergirl's #GirlsCan campaign, was also released, allowing her fans to not only celebrate her birthday, but also the beauty and confidence that she uses to inspire girls worldwide.

In the video, Monaé details the story of her evolution in the music industry, and the many walls that she's had to break through.

When I first started out, I was told to dress a certain way, to wear my hair a certain way. Girls can't dance like this. That's not what sexy is. When people say you can't do something, I love proving people wrong.

And proved them wrong is what she did. Monaé became the new face of Covergirl in 2012, and the release of her #GirlsCan video is a part of the Girls Can fundraising enterprise and inspirational endeavor, which empowers young women to rise above their circumstances and achieve success. This, of course, is nothing new to Monaé, who has shared her defying-barriers story in her music and in countless interviews.


Her story is presented in her black-and-white uniform that she's known to stick to,–from equestrian boots to oxfords, suits to dresses– which she says in an ode to her inspirational mother. In her song, "Electric Lady," she sings:

Her eyes too heavy from working nights as a janitor/ She’d keep it to herself and nobody could understand her/ Even when she thought that she couldn’t she carried on/ She couldn’t imagine both of her daughters here all alone/ Before the tuxedos and black and white every day/ Used to watch my momma get down on her knees and pray/ She’s the reason that I’m even writing this song

Monaé has always been transparent about her upbringing, saying that she wears a uniform because she grew up in a working-class family, and saw her mother wear a uniform to work as a janitor everyday. Ever the inspiration, Monaé took to the Queen Latifah Show the day after her birthday this week to tell her story once more, and to also inspire a 10-year-old fan, who has found her confidence in the songstresses lyrics and dance moves. From her James Brown-esque dance moves to her Covergirl advertisements, Monaé's electrifying inspiration is a perfect way to usher in her 29th year on Earth, and another year that we get to get down to her out-of-this world tunes.