Saturday, May 22, 2010

Janelle Monae's "Billie Jean" Moment

In music, all great artists require a breakout performance, an act of showmanship that is commensurate with their talent as recording artists. Michael Jackson heralded the arrival of his kingship with an extraordinary rendition of "Billie Jean" on the Motown 25th Anniversary Special. Twenty-seven years later, Janelle Monáe announced hers on the Late Show with David Letterman. It's a marvelous performance, which owes as much a debt to Jackson as it does James Brown. No, it's not on par with MJ's legendary moonwalking moment, but it shows that Monáe is the real deal.

To all the divas out there: you are now officially on notice.