Sunday, October 18 marks the season one finale of HBO’s breakout horror hit Lovecraft Country, but fans eager for more can tune in to YouTube Live the next day to see Janelle Monae (Hidden Figures, Moonlight) perform a one-of-a-kind virtual concert in the final installment of the show’s VR companion Lovecraft Country: Sanctum. When Lovecraft Country: Sanctum was first announced in September, HBO teased that “a musical experience like no other” would await fans in the third and final installment entitled “Music of the Cosmos”. Today, Rolling Stone announced that this musical experience would be delivered by none other than multitalented musician, actress and activist Monae.
Janelle Monáe closes the first season of @HBO’s @LovecraftHBO with a virtual reality concert experience. The musical performance is the final part of HBO’s groundbreaking social VR event series #LovecraftCountry: Sanctum: https://t.co/rm5PvliJb8 pic.twitter.com/ofoCoDoBus
— HBO PR (@HBOPR) October 12, 2020
Monae and Lovecraft Country prove a symbiotic match; as UPROXX notes: “[Monae] similarly uses fantastical themes to address real social issues, for a unique performance.” Recently, Monae starred in the horror film Antebellum which, in-line with the themes of Lovecraft Country, utilized racial dynamics to elevate the fear and add a layer of social commentary to the project.
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ANTEBELLUM. IS. OUT. Shining light on what it’s like to be a black woman living in America (past and present) carrying the burden of dismantling white supremacy and systemic racism was my North Star. We are in a centuries long war with the same demons. The past is not dead. Thank you @bushrenz for giving me an opportunity to play a fighter and the hero that is Veronica Henley. Although she is a fictitious character, she carries the essence of many real life heroes to our community, and the every day acts of bravery by so many oppressed people. Thank you to the entire cast for digging deep. I am forever grateful to the black women who inspired my commitment to this character. Thank you for the activism you do daily to liberate, elevate, educate, and protect marginalized voices. It is important that globally the world understands the risks you take to fight for us. You are owed so much. YOU DESERVE MORE. YOU DESERVE PEACE. WE DESERVE FREEDOM. Encouraging radical self care. Rest when you need to. The. fight. must. continue.
“Garden of Eden”, the first installment of Lovecraft Country: Sanctum, featured a gallery of Afrofuturist art provided by artists David Alabo, Devan Shimoyama and Adeyemi Adegbesan. Themes of Afrofuturism are abundant in Monae’s discography, particularly her concept albums chronicaling the tales of the archandriod Cindi Mayweather, via Vox.
When the Mill and HBO’s Lovecraft Country teamed up to create this companion VR series, centering Black art and voices was central to their mission. HBO’s VP of marketing, Dana Flax, cites Monae as a voice that embodies “innovation, justice and Black joy”, making her the ideal candidate for “Music of the Cosmos”, via Rolling Stone.
The prevalent voice in Monae’s film, TV and music projects align well with Lovecraft Country but, beyond that, Monae herself is a fan of the show. “This project gives me the special opportunity to celebrate Lovecraft Country, a show I’m a huge fan of,” Monae reported to Rolling Stone “and connect with fans in a completely new way using virtual reality.” The love goes both ways, as Flax refers to himself and his colleagues at HBO as “long-standing fans” of Monae’s art and artistry, via Rolling Stone.
— Lovecraft Country (@LovecraftHBO) September 1, 2020
As with the other installments of Lovecraft Country: Sanctum, the VR component of “Music of the Cosmos” will be limited to “100 select influential voices”, however all fans con tune-in to watch on YouTube Live, via Nerdist. The YouTube audience still has the opportunity to interact during the concert by “solving riddles to trigger spells that directly impact the experience” (Nerdist).
“Music of the Cosmos” will stream on YouTube Live at 10:00 pm Eastern Time on Monday October 19. The link for the live event is already active on YouTube so fans can save the date to tune-in and see Monae deliver a unique concert and proper send-off to Lovecraft Country.