Janelle Monáe created an entire alternate world with her first releases: a sci-fi musical landscape where alter ego Cindi Mayweather serves as a way to explore issues of race and class. Sure, this could this end up incredibly boring, or nerdy, or just music to avoid, but not in Janelle Monáe’s hands. The 28-year-old has a funky style, and draws you in with passion, intelligence and fun.

Watching her step and sing through the video for “Tightrope” (from her 2010 full length debut The ArchAndroid) you want to follow her.  In 2013 music fans continued to do so as Janelle Monáe put out her second disc The Electric Lady.  With her futuristic vision, she is not only one of the 20 Black Voices for a New Century, she is a voice for the next century.