There’s nothing subtle about Janelle Monáe’s new music video for “Pynk,” and honestly, that’s what makes it so awesome. Not only is the song a full-fledged summer jam, but the entire video is a colorful celebration of vaginas and queerness and female pleasure, complete with backup dancers rocking frilly pink pants that represent lady parts in all their anatomical glory.
Aside from the aforementioned genitalia pants, the video — off Janelle Monáe’s third solo album “Dirty Computer,” which comes out later this month — features sex-positive lyrics and imagery from references to folds and lips to pubic hair and “pussy power” (a cat makes a cameo and everything).
It’s also filled with shots of Monáe and her lady crew (including Westworld and Thor: Ragnarok star Tessa Thompson) partying next to a pool, dancing up a storm, and having an all-around fabulous time owning their sexuality in a way that’s fun, casual, and celebratory instead of the forbidden, exploitative sexual energy we’re so used to seeing in music videos and elsewhere in popular culture.
With a handful of moments that call out “pussies grabbing back” and other responses to female oppression, there’s for sure a politically-charged vibe running throughout the video, too.
This is hardly the first time Janelle Monáe has made a high-profile statement about female sexuality and empowerment, or even about vaginas.
The singer and actress has been a vocal advocate for women, and women of color specifically, in recent months as the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have picked up speed. She’s repeatedly shared messages on social media calling attention to the stigma surrounding women’s periods. At the Grammys in January, Monáe brought down the house with a mic-drop-worthy speech telling her peers in the music industry, in Hollywood, and beyond, that enough is enough when it comes to women being preyed upon and treated unequally. “We come in peace,” she said. “But we mean business.”
In an interview with Marie Claire last year, Monáe said: “People have to start respecting the vagina.” This video definitely has the power to take us one big stiletto-boot-clad step in that direction, and we couldn’t be happier about it.