Performing with Prince in Uncasville, Connecticut, in 2013. Photograph: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for NPG Records 2013
Dusk is falling over the city as she gives this eulogy for her heroes, the artists who have so inspired her. I dedicate a lot of my music to Prince, for everything hes done for music and black people and women and men, for those who have something to say and also at the same time will not allow society to take the dirt off of them. Its about that dirt, and not getting rid of that dirt, she says, referring back to the things that made us special mentioned in the trailer.
Bowie and Prince probably did get scared too, Mone reckons; her own risk is admitting her fears, which would seem to point to still more revelations to come in the full album. Sticking up for those who are often left behind and dont have a voice doing that was one thing on film, but doing that in music is different because its all you, she says. So I cant sit back here and tell you Im confident and fearless. Im terrified right now. Like, I dont know how my familys gonna react, I dont know what people are going to say.
What is the worst they could say? The thing she is most afraid of? She takes a deep breath. Im about to cry, she says, and dabs briefly at her eyes as she collects herself. I think rejection. This may all be in my head, cause I have a tendency to overthink shit I know that about myself. But I think: rejection. This started with me, with my feelings. But people want me to be an image thats in their mind; what held me back was that I represent something to so many people and people put all this pressure on me to be just this one thing.
She doesnt specify what that one thing is. A pop star? A sci-fi goddess? A civil rights spokesperson? Perhaps she is shrewdly withholding further information for the albums release. Some of it is factual, some of it is fiction, she says, but it all started with me as the subject.
What does seem to be clear is that the protection of her cyborg character seems to have been shed Dirty Computer looks set to be her most human work yet. As she is ushered out by her team, she turns back, seemingly willing herself to be vulnerable. This project was about painting in different colours, not just black and white; going in and allowing myself to use all the shades of the crayon box, she says. It was time to focus on being a complete, complex human being. I dont know whos gonna come with me and whos gonna criticise me, but Im not gonna renege, and Im not gonna hide. Somewhere, surely, her heroes are applauding.