One of my resolutions for 2009 is to take Afrobella to the next level.
I started hot and heavy in 2006, but I found myself becoming overwhelmed, which resulted in a feeling of inability. I had a vision of a YouTube Channel where I could upload concert videos, beauty tips, and especially, especially awesome interviews with celebrity bellas who inspire me through their style, their music, their hair, and their personalities. Like my Esperanza Spalding interview, but better. Seriously, that one YouTube clip took me forever to complete, and I still see SO much room for improvement. So anyway, I kept getting these opportunities to interview people, and I didn’t know what to do with them, and…you get the picture.
I had a project in mind, but I knew I couldn’t undertake it alone. So I put out a Help Wanted blog post back in November, and that, bellas, is how I discovered Gisele Parson, a video editor and motion graphics designer in NYC who reached out and wanted to bring my vision to life. Check out her demo reel and her portfolio page, and you’ll see why I went with her. Gisele is crazy talented! And I knew with talent like hers, she could help to realize my dreams. I am so happy to be working with Gisele!
I am honored and thrilled to kick off the new year by bringing back the Afrobella of the Month series, by honoring a previously celebrated bella. I’m talking about the lovely and talented Miss Janelle Monae!
To me, Janelle is one of the ultimate symbols of what Afrobella is all about. She loves her all-natural pompadour, she is unafraid to speak her mind or express her personal style, and she most certainly marches to her own funky beat. Fiercely creative, bold, and beautiful. You can either get with Miss Monae, or make way for her. I interviewed her right around my second anniversary, and finally, finally I can share that interview with you all!
We chatted for over 40 minutes, and with Gisele’s editorial eye, we whittled the interview down to three video clips. In part one, we got the hair questions out of the way. Everything Janelle does, she does with purpose — her hair is an important part of who she is.
In part two, Janelle puts the smackdown on dudes yelling in the studio while she’s doing an interview (LOL!). She doesn’t skip a beat while addressing questions about her role in the music industry. Janelle explains Wondaland Arts and her relationship with Big Boi, Diddy, and Bad Boy Records.
In part three, we talk about her look, and the fact that she’s frequently compared to male musicians as versus females. Janelle cites some of her female influences (hello, Grace Jones!) and her goals.
“I’m trying to help redefine the way a woman can perform, the way a woman can wear her hair, the way a woman can dress. I’m so tired of the stereotypes that women have.”
I cannot tell you all how wonderful it was to speak with Janelle, to hear her express admiration and respect for Afrobella, and to find out what inspires her, and to hear about her plans for the future. Keep an eye on her news page to see what she’s up to next — and if you haven’t yet copped Metropolis: The Chase Suite, what are you waiting for?
So bellas, what’d you think? Gisele and I will be working on more exciting videos in the months to come, so keep your eyes on the Afrobella channel!