When Real Life Meets Cosplay On Morning TV

For her recent appearance on “Live With Kelly and Ryan,” Janelle Monáe wore a custom latex outfit inspired by “Seshet,” a lead character she created in her new science fiction anthology The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer.

The latex bodysuit the singer and author wore featured a pointed cape and matching head cap. She also wore a black and white shin-length trench accessorizing with a white clutch and matching pointed-toe, stiletto-heeled boots. As Monáe told Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest about the wardrobe, “If it’s not light and fun if I can’t come on, Kelly and Ryan dressed in cosplay, I’m not showing up,” she said. 

She also wore latex on CBS Mornings during this same round of press for her new book. And for her Coachella performances over the weekend, Monáe once again rocked our favorite textile, wearing a black latex bodysuit (with white harness) under a cropped latex jacket.

This certainly isn’t Monáe’s first time at the old rodeo wearing latex couture, nor is it her first foray into alternative fashion overall. But it is her first attempt at authoring a book. The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer is an “extension” of Monáe’s 2018 album, Dirty Computer. In the book Monáe alone and collaborating with other writers expounds on the “Afrofuturistic” world she created and sang about on her album. In both book and music, she explores how various forms of liberation, “queerness, race, gender plurality,” as she lists, can “become tangled with future possibilities of memory and time in such a totalitarian landscape.” 

Surely there are costs to our freedoms even in the future.

Where is the dividing line between fiction and fact, virtual and real, and cosplay and couture these days? Janelle Monáe is certainly challenging all of these (and more) expectations in what she writes, sings about and surely, in what she wears.

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