Today is my 26th birthday. I’d like to take this moment to celebrate two stellar talents and fashion icons-to-be in the music industry. It is not my intention to essentialize or tokenize, but I thought, in the wake of talking about Beth Ditto, Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry, it might be nice to acknowledge the chic and gloriously out-there fashion contributions of women of color (who aren’t Rihanna, M.I.A., or Santigold). So look and listen! And if you’re like “what about _______?” or “you forgot _______,” please contribute.
British sensation Ebony Bones made a big debut at SXSW last year. I missed her, but luckily my friend Haylee didn’t, so if you get into Ms. Ebony Thomas’s post-apocalyptic punk-funk, thank her. To me, her clattering, cavernous sound contrasts perfectly with her vibrantly colored attire which oscillates between “society lady” and “road warrior”. I don’t think her debut album, Bone of My Bones, has come out here yet, though it’s already big in Japan. They’re onto something.
Kansan up-and-comer Janelle Monáe recorded her first album back in 2003, but is just now starting to court mainstream attention. She’s since captured the attention of OutKast (who put her in Idlewild) and has gone on the road with No Doubt this summer. I really love her flair for the dramatic and her knack for weaving showtime and children’s music in her new wave sound and complimenting it with an androgynously glamorous, contemporarily retro look.