Janelle Monae knows how to hold it together, which was the inspiration for her latest hairstyle.
The singer and actress showed up for Variety’s Creative Impact Awards and 10 Directors to Watch Brunch with a beehive-esque hairdo full of white safety pins. Then, she wore the pins again in her afro puffs at a Q&A and screening of her new film, Hidden Figures.
The first thought we had was that she must have run out of bobby pins. And then the thought occurred to us that this is her way of jumping on the safety pin statement bandwagon. People started wearing safety pins on their clothing after the Brexit vote and the U.S. presidential election as a sign of solidarity with immigrants and minorities.
Neither of those reasons is the case. We spoke to the Hidden Figures and Moonlight actress’ hairstylist, Nikki Nelms, about the unique hair accessories, and she informed us it wasn’t that complicated. “I keep the most random things in my kit,” she said. “And while on holiday, I picked up some white safety pins — for a rainy day, of course. So fast forward, when I saw Janelle’s outfit, I felt like using them would complement it pretty well.”
The dress was black with ribbons all over it. Later, she changed her dress and kept the same style for a screening of Hidden Figures. That dress was black with white polka dots on the bodice and skirt, and had solid black sleeves. Toward the bottom of the skirt, the dots turned into white stripes.
“Janelle and I both LOVED the look!” said Nelms, who has also worked with Solange, Kelly Rowland and Zoë Kravitz.
However, the look was also meant to send a message. Last night, Monae posted a collage of her three latest ’dos on Instagram, from the googly eyes to a gold wire to the safety pins. She captioned the image, “From the Eyes, to the Gold Wire, and then to the White Safety Pins… Can you guess what messages ???? am sending and speaking through my hair?”
Well, we don’t need to guess, because Nelms told us. “We also said that the pins could be a reminder to everyone to just try and ‘keep it all together,’” she said.