Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Janelle Monáe
Janelle Monáe
Screenshot: Jimmy Kimmel Live

First things first—having Janelle Monáe DJ your party sounds apocalyptically fun. Dressed like the universe’s coolest milk deliverer, Monáe told Jimmy Kimmel on Tuesday that she’s been doing live DJ sets on Zoom and Instagram since she’s trapped inside like the rest of us, teasing the homebound with the prospect of a Janelle Monáe-curated pandemic set list to keep us alive and moving. Twiddling her fingers like Dwayne Johnson in Southland Tales when asked for her go-to guaranteed get-up-and-dance tracks, the noted singer, actress, and funk goddess of Afrofuturism went back to the past for some Earth, Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder (“As” is a must), alongside contemporaries Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage Remix” (featuring other renowned musical deity Beyoncé).

Still, it’s not all remote parties and artistically minimalist stuffed sheep at Monáe’s house (she did her interview in front of a stylized faked sheep), as Monáe told Kimmel that going outside during this particular, decidedly unmusical, and altogether crappy future isn’t anything she would have come up with. Apart from a conspicuous lack of dancing or pansexual love-droids, Monáe explained that even taking a walk in Los Angeles means being confronted with shambling, irresponsible possible plague zombies not wearing protective masks and sneeringly refusing to keep their distance from those who are. “It’s a really bad science fiction movie,” said Monáe, who knows a thing or two about dystopias. (She added, “It’s definitely a Judgement Day out there, for sure,” just in case any mask-less jackasses missed the point.)

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Speaking thereof, Monáe also sat back and watched the thrillingly terrifying trailer of her new film, the Jordan Peele-looking social thriller seemingly about modern-day black Americans being sent inexplicably back to slave times, Antebellum. Alongside her starring role in the Julia Roberts-produced second season of Amazon’s Homecoming, the busy Monáe continues to confidently plant her constantly moving feet in both the acting and music worlds, all while working to actually improve the more mundane and dysfunctional reality she’s stuck in here on Planet Earth. Noting her work with food charity Project Isaiah (Kimmel lets his guests pick the night’s COVID-19 charity), Monáe agreed with Kimmel that actually doing something good in this blighted world is one way to forge an alternate future that doesn’t suck. Also, as she put it, “I’ve been, you know, trying to not be so angry at the current administration,” through setting her sights on the achievable good Donald Trump and the GOP seem to find as distasteful as any sci-fi supervillains. For more Monáe, Homecoming returns on May 22, while Antebellum—with a hopeful nod toward one potential future—scheduled to hit actual theaters on August 21.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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