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How Janelle Monáe Succeeded by Doing the Opposite of Most Artists

It’s common advice for emerging artists to always say yes to opportunities in the infancy of your career because you never know what doors it might open.

But Janelle Monáe says the key to controlling how her career and image developed was to be brave and confident enough to pass when it didn’t feel right.

"At the beginning of my career, I always said no.” she tells The Cut. "'Nope, nope, nope.' That was my secret weapon. Once I started to eliminate the things that didn’t feel in line with where I was trying to go, and that could potentially pigeonhole me from having that freedom as an artist, it was very helpful."

Janelle’s new thriller Antebellum hits theaters April 24th.

Photo: Getty Images