Actress-singer Janelle Monáe has been making waves with her Grammy nominations and upcoming role in Hidden Figures. Here’s what you need to know about the style and beauty icon
1.She didn't have the easiest childhood The Kansas City artist had a humble past that you would not have expected. While her mother worked as a janitor, her father was a garbage truck driver who was also a recovering drug addict. In spite of the circumstances surrounding her childhood, she still holds her parents to the highest regard. The evidence? She wears her signature black-and-white tuxedo as a uniform, just like how her folks were decked in them. 2. She has her own independent music label Her tough childhood became a positive catalyst for Monáe to further pursue her goals. She's one of the few black women who runs her own independent record label, Wondaland Records, as a joint effort with Epic Records. Artists on the lineup include Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, Deep Cotton, and St. Beauty.
3. She has Outkast to thank for her big break If you're a hip hop fan, you would know how much of a big deal it is to have Big Boi of Outkast invite you to sing for his tracks. That's exactly what happened to Monáe in 2006 when she was featured in Idlewild, the group's sixth studio album. Considered to be a big break, she was later signed on to the Bad Boy Records label.
4. She's a Jill of all trades She can sing, model and now, she's going to star in the Pharrell-produced flick HiddenFigures. What else can this superstar do? Based on a true story of a young mathematician who helped make the first American astronaut John Glen complete an orbit of Earth, Monáe will play mathematician and aerospace engineer Mary Jackson. The film also stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst and Jim Parsons.
5. Sesame Street's a big fan Singing an original by Sesame Street music director Bill Sherman, Monáe killed the song alongside Bert, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Elmo and Grover. A trackabout believing in yourself and working hard to get where you want to be in life, Power of Yet seals the singer in the league of stars who've charmed and educated young kids the world over.