Janelle Monáe ≠ Lady Gaga

After reading some comments on various sites that have been promoting Janelle Monáe's fantastic new album The ArchAndroid, I noticed a budding trend. The trend is people referring to Monáe as "the Black Lady Gaga." Just stop. Right now.

Aside from being really off-the-mark and narrow-minded, a statement like this is absurd. Leave Gaga to her empty fame and decadent artifice and (extremely popular) club songs. Leave Monáe to her trippy, cybertronic romanticizing and tuxedo-clad, James Brown sliding. 

I get that because both have an electrifying stage persona to which they are totally committed the connection can be made. Sure they both consider their work "art." But let's not front: Janelle has been doing it longer and better than Gaga. No one is mentioning that. Please stop aggrandizing Gaga's contributions to popular culture and acting like she's been around long enough to have inspired more than YouTube parodies.

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If you really want to take it there, and I suspect you don't, it's more like Lady Gaga is the white Janelle Monáe. But instead of digressing into a battle of originality or launching fully into racial politicking (full disclosure: I'm tempted), how about we allow them to both to make and perform their music irrespective of each other. There's much more logic and enjoyment in that.

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