Janelle Monáe graces the cover of the May issue of ESSENCE magazine.

The COVER GIRL Rocks a gorgeous Yves Saint Laurent blouse, Chanel vintage earrings, and her signature pompadour and bold red lip! Monae discusses her unique style — and why she opts to keep her body covered:

“People don’t ask Jay-Z to take his shirt off when he rhymes,” she says defiantly. Her refusal to let it all hang out is a major part of her attempt to “redefine what it means to be sexy and what it means to be a woman. Showing my skin is not what makes me sexy,” she declares. “I like skirts and dresses just like everyone else, but I had a message I needed to put out there. It was up to me to show people and young girls there was another way.”

For the full Essence interview with Janelle Monáe, in which she discusses her influences (Twilight Zone!), her evolving relationship with her father, and the minor run-in with the law that changed her life, pick up the May issue of ESSENCE (on newsstands April 5).