Janelle Monáe has always kept us guessing. Whenever she's set to appear at a red carpeted event, we often anticipate how she'll play with her preferred black and white palette. Fans are often asking (and tweeting) about when she'll release a follow-up to her bestselling album, The Electric Lady. And now, she's making us wonder about the hidden meaning behind her choice of hair accessories.
"From the eyes, to the gold wire, and then to the white safety pins...can you guess what messages I am sending and speaking through my hair?" she captioned a recent Instagram, where fans threw out their best guesses. And for the record, some of their tries were pretty damn good. "I am awake..tuned in and protected," one wrote. "The message I'm getting from your hair from left to right 'look but don't touch'," another commented.
But Janelle's keeping her mouth shut — at least for now — and so is the hairstylist behind the work, Nikki Nelms. "It's her image, so whatever she wants people to know..." she teased to R29 during a recent interview. Nelms is the perfect person to accompany Kravitz on this journey — she's used to thinking out of the box with her clients, a list that includes Solange (see her A Seat at the Table styles) and Zoë Kravitz (check out her blond braids and curls from the Oscars).
"The period we're in now is very freeing...If you like it, do it!" Nelms told us about the looks. "When we free ourselves with being concerned about someone else’s opinion then we can go so much further. You’ll be surprised how far your creative juices will flow if you just free yourself of worrying about what someone else thinks. If I were scared, do you think I would have picked up some eyes at a craft store to put in Janelle’s hair?"
While Nelms vows to remain tightlipped about Monáe's messages, we did get her to spill a few behind-the-scenes details. Read ahead for the big reveals.