Janelle Monaé Gets Wet and Wild in ‘Waterslide’ Video
Janelle Monaé is making more waves with the release of the second music video from her latest album The Age of Pleasure. She and director Alan Ferguson (who also worked on “Lipstick Lover,” Solange’s “Cranes in the Sky” and Lizzo’s “Good as Hell”) collaborated to bring “Waterslide” to life.
Like “Lipstick Lover,” the video for “Waterslide” is marked by vintage flower-power style and colorful, grainy shots. In the clip, Janelle and a crew party and perform — with her musical collaborator Nate Wonder on the drums — at a lush, tropical backyard romp. This time, there’s a lot less sexual tension, and a lot more vibing across a vibrant yard, lengthy lounge chairs, turquoise pool, and, of course, a Slip ‘N Slide.
Though Janelle’s top half is most often intricately covered — with a bikini of lemon slices in one scene, and dark pearls in another — she does take a quick topless dive at one point, mimicing The Age of Pleasure‘s cover art. Her party is filled with gorgeous guests, representing a range of skin tones, body frames, gender presentation, and physical ability. Pose‘s Angelica Ross, rapper Jeleel! and The L Word actor Jillian Mercado are among the revelers.
In her June Rolling Stone cover story, Janelle described her own backyard parties as the foundation for her album. “It was inspired by all of my friends, my community of folks who are from South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, the Caribbean, Atlanta, L.A., Chicago,” she said. “Seeing all of us together in our Blackness, in the love that we had in our eyes for each other. People from the continent fuck around with trap from Atlanta. You know what I’m saying? I love how the diaspora — we talk to each other.”
Bright and breezy, “Waterslide” is the tenth track on The Age of Pleasure, sampling dancehall veteran Patra’s “Whining Skill.” On the album, an interlude with Sister Nancy — the legend in the genre whose classic “Bam Bam” is oft-duplicated — introduces the song.
On Instagram, Patra, who is Jamaican, expressed her enthusiasm about inspiring “Waterslide.” “I was contacted a few months back by an agent who said someone very famous wanted to sample my song ‘Wining Skill,’” she wrote. “Did not know who it was but found out that the person was actually one of my favorite females in the game… Amazing performer.”