Janelle Monáe Gets ‘Screwed’

The Singers New Futuristic Music Video Gets Political

BY: Georgia Davis

Screwed has two meanings in American slang. To screw means to have sex with someone or to get laid. It doesn’t really have a connection to romance. Then there’s the “you’re screwed,” which means things are not going to go well for you. In Janelle Monáe’s music video for “Screwed,” she explores the word’s double meaning.

The video opens on a futuristic and post-apocalyptic world. Monáe and her well-dressed crew (no camouflage and guns for them) find themselves chased by a flying robot. It seems that is the police in this universe. They all escape and find themselves in an abandoned building. They throw a party — one we wish we could crash. The tension among the men and women is palpable through the screen as they pose and grind.

But mixed in with all the sexiness is images of the White House, protests and the Statue of Liberty — imagery that represents the U.S. The song featuring Big Little Lies Star and singer Zoë Kravitz takes a political stance, and that is made evident in the chorus: “I hear the sirens calling / And the bombs are falling in the streets / We’re all screwed!”

Monáe’s closing verse is where the writer really brings the lyricism and craft:

Hundred men telling me cover up my areolas
While they blocking equal pay, sippin’ on they Coca Colas
Fake news, fake boobs, fake food what’s real?
Still in The Matrix eatin’ on the blue pills
The devil met with Russia and they just made a deal
We was marching through the street, they were blocking every bill
I’m tired of hoteps tryna tell me how to feel

The lyrics speak for themselves. Men tell women what to do and just sit there and watch. Meanwhile, our president is meeting and making deals with Russia. Music has always been a place to show the current state of the world, and Monáe’s lyrics highlight the irony perfectly.

In the end, Monáe and Kravitz, who wrote the song together, say that if we’re all screwed in this world, we might as well do some screwing too. Now, that’s a life motto we should all get behind.