“Screwed: A Politically Charged Party Anthem” by Vanessa Maki


The word “screwed” is commonly used as a sexual term, or to describe a difficult situation. Think of the amount of times you’ve heard the term used interchangeably. With the fifth track on “Dirty Computer” Janelle and Zoe utilize both meanings.

In the world we live in there’s always been a looming of disgust towards sexual expression. Not to mention sexual freedom (especially when it pertains to marginalized bodies). And the government doesn’t make it all that easy either. Nor does Trump being in office. People like him want to set the world back and make people scared that it’ll go that way. They want us to feel “screwed”.

With the lines:

“And I, I, I hear the sirens calling

And the bombs are falling in the streets

We’re all screwed”

it’s referencing Trump’s prior tweeting about going to war with North Korea. And it presents us with the other meaning of screwed.

“You fucked the world up now, we’ll fuck it all back down”

A tour bus incident is what birthed this line but Janelle also went onto to say this:

“It also is a conversation to be had about how women, how women of color in particular are out on the front lines. When you think about certain wars … when you think about the war between south and the north when we were fighting to end slavery. It was black folks and it was women in particular on the front lines, we were the first people out there. And i think that continues to happen, you continue to see us … clean up a lot of shit.”

This song is supposed to make you bop and dance but also think about the state of the world. What’s happening, what continues to happen and what should no longer be happening. Being screwed by the world doesn’t feel good and it never has. Though another question comes to mind and it’s – what do you want to do about it?  Janelle’s ability to make you deep think is an absolute gift. She’s a true artist and “Dirty Computer” is a true masterpiece.

The outro is Janelle calling out so many aspects of society that make various people feel screwed. Expressing your valid anger as a black woman is more often frowned upon. Though Janelle is explicitly unapologetic about addressing  Free the Nipple, equal pay, corruption, beauty standards, Trump’s scam of an election, protesting and last but not least– black men who claim to be apart of black empowerment but keep spewing harmful rhetoric.

Vanessa Maki is a queer writer,artist & other things. She’s full of black girl magic & has no apologizes for that. Her work has appeared in various places like Really System & others. She is also forthcoming in a variety of places. She’s founder/EIC of rose quartz magazine & is involved in other spaces as well.  Follow her twitter & visit her site

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