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Janelle Monae just radiates beauty on the May issue of Essence Magazine. For her first time covering the magazine, she dons an all-white blouse, vintage Chanel earrings, a pompadour and her signature red lip.

Inside the issue, she talks about how she is redefining sex appeal and why she chooses to wear black and white formal separates. “I made a decision to be unique” she says.

She also talks about showing skin to sell records, revealing she wants to: “…redefine what it means to be sexy and what it means to be a woman. Showing my skin is not what makes me sexy.”

She added: “I like skirts and dresses just like everyone else, but I had a message I needed to put out there. It was up to me to show people and young girls there was another way.”

And finally, she spoke to the double standard for women entertainers by acknowledging that “People don’t ask Jay-Z to take his shirt off when he rhymes.”

She certainly has a point. On the cover, she looks just as beautiful and desirable as your most scantily-clad vixen and is fully covered in her gorgeous silk blouse.

The May issue of Essence will hit newsstands on April 5th. Click here for video and more quotes from the issue. Will you pick it up, Clutchettes? What do you think of Janelle Monae’s comments on showing skin?

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  • Ash

    Great article. I once said that I wished she would dress in colors other than black and white (but still showing no skin). I don’t quite agree with that anymore after reading this. She’s fab.

  • L.W.

    Love that she has her own sense of style along with a strong sense who she is. Not to criticize women who make other choices, but is refreshing to read of a woman in the entertainment field who stands her ground on what she feels comfortable with as far as self-presentation.

  • There is nothing sexier than a woman who belongs to herself. Love to Janelle Monae!

  • Destiny_Connect

    Great cover, but I’m kind of tired of the “I Want To Be Different” rhetoric, just be yourself. It it’s not men policing women on what to take off, and be sexy, women are policing other women on what to put on and be happy. If you like having your clothes on, kudos to you, it doesn’t make you anymore special, just being true to you, and if you like wearing less clothes, kudos to you if it’s that you. Women should be alowwed by society toexpress themselves how they want, and not try to prove something to society. I appreciate Janelle Monae’s style because it fits her, it’s true, not because other women are half naked. I also appreciate Rihanna’s style because she’s true to herself and loves her body, and wants to show it off. I’m one of those people who believe that women are not just one thing, we are made up of so many different components.

    Kudos to Essence Magazine for putting a different face on the cover.

    • I agree about encouraging self-expression in whatever guise it takes. However, with women like Rihanna, the poses they strike and the specifics of what they do and don’t wear to me look like an expression of porn culture. It’s not about a woman expressing her sexuality and her sexual allure. It looks more like a woman taking direction from men who’ve been trained to see women and sex through a very limited, stereotyped, and quite frankly, unimaginative, lens.

    • (And that goes for Beyonce, too, no matter how much she talks about female empowerment.)

  • Tina

    I’ve read her statements on why she dresses this way before and I appreciate that she wants the focus on her art, but the hair and the clothes are boring and a woman can be covered and exude class and elegance in her style without wearing the same darn thing every single day.