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Empowerment or Subversion?

A Take on Janelle Monae’s “Yoga”

We love yoga. In fact, we love it so much that sometimes we want to protect this “thing” that has become such a powerful source of passion, light, and growth for us and we get judge-y and upset when others try mistakenly or intentionally to tarnish our protected and beloved yoga. That’s exactly the overprotective behavior and simultaneously cringe we try to avoid in daily life.

But then this happened…

The video for “Yoga” by Janelle Monae Yes, there is some yoga in it. Well,  yoga pants, at least. We cringed at first, too.

Monae, soul songstress turned apparent pop diva, released the song a couple of weeks ago and, honestly, we all weren’t sure how we felt about it. On the one hand, the lyrics – ie. “baby bend over, let me see you do that yoga” – gave us the icks. Ugh, is this really what yoga needs right now? Or pop music for that matter? On the other hand, there’s something that seems strangely subversive about it. Could Janelle really be selling out or is she cleverly sending a message about women in society in the form of a catchy club track calling out booties and yoga pants AND areolas?

With the video here, I’m still not sure we know exactly what to think about it. As with the song, the first reaction is NO, MAKE IT STOP! YogaPop meter’s reaching code red and sounding the alarm bells. Abandon ship! Yoga has reached maximum pop culture saturation! However, there are some interesting theories flying around the interwebs suggesting that Janelle is not, in fact, abandoning her social commentary, but instead, acknowledging a problem and throwing it back in our flexible faces.

Let’s discuss. Watch the video below and let us know what you think:

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