Janelle Monae made her first major Essence Music Festival debut on the annual event’s main stage this past weekend in New Orleans.
In front of a jam-packed crowd of thousands of enthusiastic concert goers and festival attendees, the animated singer appeared before everyone, dressed in white button up, white pants, accented with black suspenders and boots.
Backed by a live band and background singers (also dressed in black and white), Monae made it clear that she was about to bring her own eclectic & unique stage presence to the crowd with energetic choreography, live instrumentation and animated theatrics.
The Kansas-native kicked off her set with her socially conscious Metropolis single, “Sincerely Jane.” Throughout her unconventional set, the “Tightrope” singer threw in some fancy footwork, caught the spirit of the late James Brown as she passionately sang over the crowd and covered a few songs like “Let’s Go Crazy” by her mentor Prince, Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5.
Although Monae was one of the most energetic acts to hit the stage during the 4-day festival, the crowd appeared to be unmoved and rather stiff. But Janelle didn’t let that stop her from taking her performance out into the audience…
As Janelle unexpectedly ran into the floor seat section, the confident singer punk-rocked the crowd with her Archandroid song, “Come Alive” and ended her set by kicking instruments, stands and anything in her way, thus earning a round of applause from awakened crowd.
Janelle Monae was definitely a true testament of being confident in your individuality and ability, even if onlookers don’t appear to feel what you’re about. Peep her cover of The Jackson 5′s “I Want You Back” down below.