Brief Post on the Oscar Wilde-Janelle Monae Connection

25 Jul

Because I am scum, I have still not written the Eddie Murphy post. I just can’t seem to get it together to work on it, and put the appropriate amount of energy and fun into it. But I shall persevere! Probably next week, as this week is going to be busy between work deadlines and writing stuff.

In the meantime, I would like to throw this out there. I am SURE someone has already talked about the connection between Oscar Wilde and Janelle Monae, but in case not…

First off, here is Janelle Monae’s video for Tightrope, from 2010. If you don’t know who she is, it’s because the media is too busy ignoring her genius to introduce you. In that case, good news! Meet Janelle Monae! She’s wonderful.

Note the gentleman at 4:24, giving her a very pronounced tip of the hat.

Perhaps other people have already identified the  meaning behind this hat tip and I just missed it. Googling has found nothing about it, and so maybe it’s just my imagination, but I’d like to think that the hat tip is referencing another famous hat tip.

Please, indulge me!

When Oscar Wilde lost his court case and was prosecuted for sodomy in 1895, he was ruined (aside: he was really being persecuted for being gay, as Victorian mores didn’t permit people such, or at least not people being out). He lost all his friends, and society turned its back on him. As he made the long walk from courthouse to prison, one person stepped out of the jeering crowd and made a point of tipping his hat at Wilde: Robert Ross, an artist and longtime friend. It was a gesture of solidarity, a reminder to Wilde that he was not alone, that he still had friends. When Wilde died penniless a few years later, Ross was with him, a true friend to the end.

The scene was dramatized here in the 1997 film Wilde, which starred Stephen Fry as Wilde, Jude Law as Lord Alfred Douglas (whose wealthy father instigates the trial against Wilde), and Michael Sheen as Robert Ross. The hat tip is at :58.

When I saw that scene in Monae’s video I recognized it immediately as being a nod to the movie; or perhaps it’s just a lovely case of concurrent invention: a person who is degraded by others is reminded by a friend that they do not suffer alone, to keep hope alive. It doesn’t matter the situation, or what someone is being persecuted for – being gay, being black, being an iconoclast, being the ‘wrong’ religion – things change, and battles are hard. But remembering one isn’t fighting alone helps keep us fighting on.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed my ramble. And please, have a great week! Remember, no matter who you are or what you’re going through, things change. They get better. 



5 Responses to “Brief Post on the Oscar Wilde-Janelle Monae Connection”

  1. PorterGirl July 25, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

    I must say that I did enjoy this ramble immensely! I now feel educated and I have discovered a new artist. Big thanks all round!

    • jennnanigans July 25, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

      Those are all successes! Yay! 😀
      Thanks for reading and letting me know!
      Check out Dance Apocalyptic:

      • PorterGirl July 25, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

        Thanks, I will! 🙂

  2. cassandrajanus July 28, 2016 at 11:08 am #

    Not to be childish but OMG how did I not about this woman. Janelle Monae is fantastic. I love her androgyne and style. Thank you for educating me.

    • jennnanigans July 28, 2016 at 11:37 am #

      Nothing childish about saying thank you or showing appreciation!
      And you’re welcome, I’m glad you stopped in and a comment! 😀

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