At this stage in my life, I am a homebody to the core — so don’t look for me at a club or hotel pool deck. But last night that’s exactly where I found myself for about an hour or so — at the Raleigh Hotel on South Beach for the kickoff party for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim. Yeah.

I was supposed to interview a Smashbox makeup artist for Pretty in the City, but due to my screw-up, I not only misplaced this person’s contact info, but barely managed to get into the party to begin with. Welcome to my world.

Anyhoo, I got in, wandered around, sipped cocktails and wondered what the hell a bella like me was doing at a scenester place like this… then the band Chester French took the stage. And during their performance, they brought some girls on stage to dance with them. I recognized two of them RIGHT AWAY — Teyana Taylor and Janelle Monae!!! It was kind of awesome. Teyana can definitely groove, and that big fabulous mane of hair makes her stand out like a superstar. Janelle was wearing sunglasses and her adorable asymmetrical hairstyle, white shirt and black shorts. She sang a teeny bit and shook a tambourine — the dancing on stage seemed totally impromptu so they were probably as unfamiliar with the music as I was, LOL.

After the band finished and photogs swarmed them for photos, I hung out at the front of the stage like a stalker and waited. Teyana was near the front and fans were greeting her, so I waited my turn. Teyana is just beautiful in person, BTW. The hair is HUGE, and her makeup was flawless. She was very friendly, and when I told her I had a website called Afrobella and I wanted to interview her, she simply said, “that’s my mother,” to the beautiful woman standing next to her. Then she went back to dancing, LOL! So I started chatting with her mom and the publicist, (Teyana Taylor’s mom has absolutely GORGEOUS skin, BTW. She is lovely). But I got sidetracked bigtime when Janelle Monae came by. I hope I wasn’t rude to any of them…but I definitely squealed “OMG, Janelle!” when she walked over.

Janelle is teeny tiny and just adorable. Like a little doll. You know when you stand next to someone who looks just perfect, you feel suddenly aware of your difference? I started feeling all big and cumbersome, and sweating like a racehorse — of course standing outdoors in Miami during July will do that to you anyway, and I was wearing a LBD. But the presence of Janelle made me all sweaty and starstruck. She shook my hand warmly, and I told her hey, I’m Afrobella… I mean, I have this website, Afrobella… and she smiled and nodded like she was familiar with my site. (perhaps from being Afrobella of the Week in 2006?) She was super sweet, and we hugged before she was whisked away for her performance at The Florida Room. YAY! I met her manager, so hopefully I can hook up an interview soon! Janelle is the bomb and meeting her made my night last night. After that I was good to go. Farewell, South Beach! Just had to share with you bellas — I don’t get out enough so when I do and something exciting happens, I gotta blog about it.

I found out via Concrete Loop that Many Moons will be Janelle’s first single from her new EP (which will be released August 12). I think Many Moons is the ish — the beat really reminds me of Hey Ya or something, it has that Outkast retro shimmy. But my favorite Janelle Monae song today is Lettin’ Go.

Why today? Cause it’s Friday and it gets me in the mood to kick back and have a good time. I am L-E-T-T-I-N-G-O today. Happy weekend!!

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Mrs.Mckinzie says:
July 18, 2008, 11:26 am
Wow!Bella ,you got the chance to meet two very talented singers.Great post ,and Happy weekend!
Olivia says:
July 18, 2008, 11:49 am
That was quite a night out! Sounds like you had some good fun along with meeting Teyana T. & Janelle Monae, I've been hearing about 'Many Moons' and I haven't checked it out yet but will soon. I love me some Chester French though! Have a good weekend :o)
von says:
July 18, 2008, 1:52 pm
I had never even heard of Janelle. She is GORGEOUS and a very nice singer. Thank you
mixie says:
July 18, 2008, 2:38 pm
Big and cumbersome? Girl, what a load of nonsense! I'm sure she was looking at your height, skin and hair and feeling just the same! As we women do - Lol! Sounds like loads of fun!
Melony says:
July 18, 2008, 6:12 pm
I really appreciate you and your website and the wide scope of subjects you address in your blog. I was actually able to hear Janelle Monae about 3 yrs ago in a small coffee shop at Morehouse College. It's amazing how much energy she put into that small venue with such a small audience. Its good to hear about the big things she's doing now. Here's another artist I think you and other bellas might enjoy. Esperanza Spalding "I KNOW YOU KNOW" is my favorite song of the moment.
Get Togetha. says:
July 18, 2008, 11:46 pm
I've seen Janelle's pic around the net and her hair is perfect! I love the different-ness. Anyways...Have a good weekend Bella!
LeAnne says:
July 19, 2008, 11:22 am
Thats not Teyanna's real hair. Sorry to disappoint you.
Shones says:
July 19, 2008, 8:19 pm
Janelle's hair is FIERCE. Like a mod, femme Morris Day. Her sound is pretty cool.
Tanijoy says:
July 20, 2008, 8:59 pm
I loveee both of these young ladies. Janelle kicks butt with her vocals and personality, and Teyana has a mean dance game as well as her music. Thanks for sharing
Alysia says:
July 21, 2008, 1:24 am
Hey! I wrote an article about a Fashion Week event too. It's so cool that you got to meet and talk with the celebs. Hopefully I can do the same next year! Here's the link to my article. I was at the Shay Todd show...
andie p. says:
July 28, 2008, 12:41 pm
I was in a soul food restaurant in Atlanta about two months ago and I remember this stunning, tiny girl with unique hair. I couldn't stop stealing glances at her and thought she had great style. Imagine my surprise to see her in your blog (it was Janelle Monae). I see that I'm extremely late in hearing her music, but thanks for turning me on to her!
mariA says:
August 6, 2008, 8:16 pm


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