Chris Rock did a pretty hilarious bit on BET’s 106 & Park last month, openly mocking the lack of creativity he saw in the show’s offerings. “That was so original! All the videos on BET, none of ‘em look alike, ever…It’s unbelievable. How do they do it?!” The show’s host, Terrence, seemed a little uncomfortable with that line of humor, but Rock had a point. So it was a pleasant surprise to tune into 106 & Park again a few days ago and see up-and-coming artist Janelle Monáe introducing her new video for “Many Moons.” It was light-years beyond what you normally see on any networks’ remaining video countdowns. In fact, Monáe insisted on calling it a “short film,” not a video. Which is fair enough: What else do you call a six-minute sci-fi tone poem based on Fritz Lang’s 1927 landmark silent film Metropolis, starring Monáe in multiple roles as an assortment of futuristic androids? Just watch it (below), you’ll have a better chance of making sense of “Many Moons” that way.
Pretty far-out stuff, right? But the screaming teen audience seemed to love it, which gives me hope. Monáe’s been trying to get a foothold in the industry for a few years now; along the way she’s lined up co-signs from both members of OutKast, and she’s currently signed to Bad Boy, which is awesome as long as Diddy doesn’t try to make her the sixth member of Danity Kane or something. So maybe things are finally starting to line up for this wildly original artist. But you tell me — what do you make of Janelle Monáe and her “Many Moons”?