Over the past few weeks, I have been sharing the articles that I wrote as a contributing writer for INCOLOR Magazine (2018-2019). Each week for the past four weeks it has been amazing to resurrect these articles, and share them again! It was an incredible honor to be apart of the INCOLOR Magazine team of writers producing valuable content for the global majority. I'm incredibly proud of the work that I created for them, and it was during a time when I was trying to bring visibility, credibility, and validation to my work as a new writer and author. I'm so grateful for them, giving me the opportunity to step outside of my box and write something else besides romance novels. Through this experience, I've created a lane for myself that allows me the flexibility to adapt to various writing opportunities and have a voice on critical and exciting subject matter.
About INCOLOR Magazine
"INCOLOR was an online platform for and by people of color. INCOLOR was originally founded in 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a response to the lack of diversity in the mainstream media. INCOLOR has since expanded into a platform that aims to connect and uplift people of color globally."
About the Article
In May 2019, I wrote this review after watching the movie, "Dirty Computer: An Emotion Picture" by Janelle Monae. When I watched this movie, I gave it 5 stars because, it really opened me up to seeing life through the eyes of people who push the envelope of the human experience! It's the 'dirty computers' that gives life it's fizz, its spark, and zest! I recently watched the Netflix documentary, "Mucho Mucho Amor" about Walter Mercado, and immediately I thought about this article. Mr. Mercado is a great example of a "dirty computer", but most importantly, at his core, he was truly a good-hearted person that was loved and revered by the latin community! This man had an amazing spirit, but the one thing that I found most fascinating about him was that although the world labeled him as a flamboyant, gay figure; he did not identify publicly nor did he share his sexual orientation. He didn't have to because, he was so completely comfortable in his own skin and who he was. He didn't have to prove nor dispel people's ideas about him or his lifestyle, and that my friends is amazing! In a world that's so judgmental it's incredible that he had the agency, to never let others dictate how he lived, and he an incredible spiritual connection that guided his principles for living. He like many "dirty computers" when they leave their mark on the world it's indelible, unforgettable, and they choose whether to be defined or not. This article is to all the "dirty computers" of the world! I salute you! Please read this article with an open mind!
"Don't Erase my 'Dirty Computer' Embrace it!"
Aren't we all searching for the pursuit of happiness? Aren't we all living for our own freedom to be whomever we choose to be without judgement or condemnation? Or are we living in pursuit of conformity or uniformity? The movie, “Dirty Computer” plows through these questions visually and answers them quite openly and candidly. "Dirty Computer: An Emotion Picture" by Janelle Monae, is about a young woman named, "Jane 57821", who is living in a futuristic, dystopian American society. In the movie, citizens are known as, “dirty computers”, and they are people that have been marginalized because of their sexual orientation, gender, or class. As a result, they have been told that they have bugs/viruses. Does this sound familiar? The interesting characteristic about “dirty computers” is that they are fearless and confident individuals, and therefore they don’t see their “bugs/viruses” as negatives, but as “features and attributes” of who they are. This film is a beautiful visual representation of the 2018 album, ‘Dirty Computer’ by Janelle Monae.
This film might be for you if…
If you’ve ever been an individual that’s struggled with your identity because of the way the world views who you are, this movie will resonate with you. We all know that the world’s view is not always accepting of those that are “different”, but who cares about what “the world” thinks. If you’ve always known that you were fabulous and the rest of the world needs to catch up to you, this movie is for you. If you believe in the inclusion of all, and that people should be accepted regardless of sexual orientation, gender, or class without judgement or condemnation, this movie is for us too! This film widened my eyes to how society judge people who see the world through a different lens. Often times, their lens is so much more colorful and vivid than the rest of the world’s lens, and seeing the world from this perspective was enlightening. While viewing, I felt as if, I were able to see through a kaleidoscope of life, full of color, creativity, openness, diversity, and inclusion. It was fun, fluid, and free! This movie is a wonderfully “nice” parallel to the harsh and negative realities for “dirty computers” living in today’s world. A world where those realities can easily be the lives of those individuals that are criticized for their sexual orientation, gender, or class. For instance, I was reminded of how LGBTQ communities are often condemned for their lifestyle, and who they love. In this movie, they would be considered dirty computers needing to be “cleansed”. I found this realization to be heartbreaking, and the thought of “cleansing” people to erase their identity made me sad and upset for those dealing with this particular struggle.
Brief Synopsis about the Film
The movie begins with Jane 57821 having her memory cleansed. She has two lovers, one male and the other female. Over the course of the movie, very little dialogue or words is spoken between main characters, “Jane 57821” (played by Janelle Monae) and “Mary Apple 53/Zen” (played by Tessa Thompson), but as the story unfolds, we realize they know each other from the “dirty computer” world. At the end of the film, Mary Apple 53 is sent in to clean Jane 57821, bringing her from the “dark into the light”, or is she? The Dirty Computer album serves as a backdrop, and essentially tells the story through song. This movie is a story of self-love, female empowerment, diversity and inclusion, openness, and sexual liberation.
My Favorite Scenes from the Film
There are a number of important scenes in the movie. I have two. One of them is the “Django Jane” and the other is the “Pynk” scene. The Django Jane scene made me feel proud to be a woman, especially, an African-American woman. It was said by the director of this part of the movie, that this scene was a “keystone piece” of the film. It had elements that reminded me of the Nation of Islam, and it was very motivating and uplifting. The vibe I felt during this scene was, no nonsense, we as women call the shots, we stand up, we fight, and we celebrate our womanhood. I felt so proud! Django Jane is a song that I love on the album, and to see it visually in this film its impact was very powerful and moving. Janelle Monae as Django Jane was strong, tough, and yet beautiful in this scene. It was “Black Girl Magic” on 100.
The second was the “Pynk”, also described as, “the vagina pants” or “labia pants” scene. The pants were symbolic for the female anatomy. This scene is a celebration of being a woman and female empowerment. In addition, it also celebrates diversity and inclusion. If you pay attention to one of the dance scenes, you will notice, some of the women are not wearing the pants, and it was to symbolize that “you don’t have to have a vagina to be considered a woman”. Talk about inclusion, how cool is that? Pretty dope to me.
This movie was so refreshing. I totally enjoyed viewing it, singing along to it, and of course, Janelle Monae is simply perfect. She is a visual marvel and with every shot she nails the scene. At this point, I’m totally convinced she’s an alien, LOL! Of course, her beauty is undeniable, and she’s an incredible visionary and talent. Each scene was a visual overload for me because, the scenes were unique, and they reflected perfectly the mood of the storyline with the songs. I highly recommend this movie. However, I caution you to watch it with an open heart and mind. It’s not a traditional film. It is a lot like watching a music video, but I say give it a chance and try not to become overly critical because there is a deeper message here. Some people will get it, and many won’t. Although, it was a short 63 minutes the overall message was so clear, and one of the directors said it best, “there is a world out there. There is a rebellion, and you don’t have to fall in line with what everyone else is doing.” With that said, “embrace being a dirty computer, celebrate your bugs/viruses and be the best [expletive] dirty computer you can be.” (Janelle Monae)
The message that hope that you take away from this article is be yourself, and don't be afraid to embrace whom you are! Be M.OTIVATED to A.SPIRE to your greatness, and I.NSPIRE many along the way! To all the "Dirty Computers" out there, keep shining!
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