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Janelle Monae is expanding her Android universe with Universal Pictures

After releasing the visually dazzling, digitized time-space and visual albumDirty Computer earlier this year, Janelle Monae is continuing to expand her Afrofuturist Android universe by signing a first look production deal with Universal Pictures.

With her futuristic and transportive music videos and critically acclaimed performances in Moonlight and Hidden Figures, Monae definitely has an eye for world building and has subsequently taken a significant byte out of the film industry.

The deal with Universal Pictures is with Monae’s production company, Wondaland Pictures, the film division of the singer and actress’ entertainment company, Wondaland.


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Thank you for your belief in @wondaland Donna Langley & Universal . We look forward to going on this journey ! To our peers & fellow creatives we can’t wait to collaborate with you . Family, friends, & day one supporters we hope to make you proud . We are humbled by the opportunity. 🙏🏾 #WondalandPictures 🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬🎬 “Universal Pictures announced that the studio has entered into a first-look production agreement with Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland Pictures, the film division of her multimedia company Wondaland. 🎬 Alongside its creative in-house team of executives including CEO ‪Monáe, Managing Partner Mikael Moore, Creative Director Chuck Lightning and Executive Producer Nate Wonder, Wondaland and Universal Pictures will develop multi-genre content with an emphasis on championing underrepresented voices and groundbreaking perspectives. 🎬 “There is an exciting, artistic revolution taking place in our industry, and Janelle and the talented team at Wondaland are at the forefront,” said Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Pictures. “Their forward-thinking, inclusive approach to content and storytelling make them a perfect fit for our studio.” 🎬 The deal further strengthens the collaborative relationship between Monáe and Universal: She stars in Universal’s upcoming Robert Zemeckis-directed movie Welcome to Marwen, opening Dec. 21, and Focus Features’ Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet due out next year.”

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The upcoming projects will follow Monae’s pattern of mixing genres and amplifying marginalized voices and providing space where these underrepresented identities are affirmed and celebrated.

Universal Pictures Chairman, Donna Langley, released a statement on the deal, saying,

“There is an exciting, artistic revolution taking place in our industry, and Janelle and the talented team at Wondaland are at the forefront. Their forward-thinking, inclusive approach to content and storytelling make them a perfect fit for our studio.”

Monae will appear in an upcoming Universal animation film, Welcome to Marwen, and the Harriet Tubman biopic, Harriet, set for release in 2019. She has also recently been added to the cast of Disney’s Lady and the Tramp remake.

Always leaning in the direction of the technological, the deal with Universal is indicative of Monáe’s is an effort to create narratives that are more inclusive, elevate the idea of being who you are and how you chose to identify, for every individual is an agent of their own self-definition.

As Monae asserted in the radio interview with Hot 97 earlier this year,

“Freedom is not free. You got to actively fight for it. We have the power to shape the culture and undo the culture that does not serve us.”

Best new tracks of the week: Janelle Monáe, SOB X RBE, Speedy Ortiz, & more

Every Friday, we gather the best new tracks of the week together for your listening pleasure.

With exciting artists like Janelle Monáe, Speedy Ortiz, and Parquet Courts dropping off singles and announcing new albums, along with complete projects from rising stars like Ronny J and SOB X RBE, it was a dope week of new music.

Let’s jump into it.

Janelle Monáe – “Make Me Feel”

Soul, funk, R&B star Janelle Monáe dropped two singles and announced her upcoming Dirty Computer album yesterday. “Make Me Feel” is some very Prince-inspired fire. Janelle is amazing.

Also, you gotta watch the video.

Young Scooter – “Real Talk” (ft. Future)

Atlanta trap god Young Scooter dropped his album Trippple Cross, a compilation of dark, trappy beats and fire features.

Young Thug and Future are all over this album. Great brick-moving theme music.

Speedy Ortiz – “Lucky 88”

Speedy Ortiz, the four-piece rock band from Northampton, Massachusetts, dropped their first single off their upcoming album Twerp Verse, due April 27.

Speedy Ortiz make some truly fun rock music, check ’em out.

SOB X RBE – “Anti Social”

Vallejo, California rap group SOB X RBE, buoyed by a placement on Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther soundtrack, dropped their follow up to last year’s self-titled debut.

The contrast in styles between their members creates a very intriguing dynamic, these kids are nice.

HoodRich Pablo Juan & Brodinksi – “I’m the One”

This partnership is SO WILD. Brodinski, the French house DJ and collaborator on Kanye’s Yeezus (“Black Skinhead”, “Send It Up”), teamed up with rising ATL trap-rapper HoodRich Pablo Juan on The Matrix mixtape.

Brodisnki’s post-apocalyptic production and Pablo Juan’s slurred-out bars are a perfect match.

Ronny J – “Costa Rica” (ft. Ski Mask The Slump God)

Ronny J, the New Jersey native behind a large portion of South Florida aggro rap, released a solo album today, with features from frequent collaborators Ski Mask The Slump God, Smokepurpp, XXXTentacion, and Denzel Curry.

OMGRONNY is like a crystallization of SoundCloud rap, it’s worth listening to just for studying purposes alone.

WizKid – Soco (ft. Ceeza Milli, Spotless, & Terri)

Nigerian Afrobeats star WizKid dropped his latest jam, “Soco”, today through his Starboy collective. I wrote about the Nigerian Afrobeats wave earlier this week.

His moniker isn’t gas, WizKid is a damn international star. “Soco” is fun as hell.

Wavves & Culture Abuse – “Big Cloud”

Nathan Williams’ Wavves teams up with Culture Abuse for this roaring pop-punk track. This is a great combination, would love to see more from Wavves and Culture Abuse.

Lil Uzi Vert &  Playboi Carti – “Bankroll”

The duo from fuckboy heaven, Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti, dropped off their latest “Bankroll”. It’s hot, there’s a lot of “ays” and “yuhs.” You know what it is.

Ski Mask – “DoIHaveTheSause?”

Ski Mask The Slump God was all over the Ronny J tape and he released his own single today.

Despite misspelling the word sauce, this song is hot. Ski Mask gets lumped in with other “mumble” or “SoundCloud” rap (whatever you wanna call it), but his flow is as distinct, unique, and weird as anyone out right now.

Parquet Courts – “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience”

Brooklyn post-punk darlings Parquet Courts dropped the lead single off their upcoming album Wide Awake!, due in May. The new project is produced by the legendary Danger Mouse, so that’s fire.

Other tings…

I’ve really been digging Japanese Breakfast‘s album from last summer Soft Sounds from Another Planet. Little Big League’s Michelle Zauner’s dream-poppy solo project is super fun.

Went back to this Ali Farka Touré album this week. It’s so good. Anyone interested in guitar music or world music in general should spend some time with this project.

Happy weekending.