The performance featured the singer rallying around a group of dancers, including Pose actress MJ Rodriguez, to celebrate Monáe’s all-inclusive redefining of patriotism. “Don’t try to take my country, I will defend my land / I’m not crazy, baby, no / I’m American,” she sang.
Twice during Monáe’s Late Show appearance, the singer danced atop Colbert’s desk: Once to close out the interview portion – where she and the host talked about first meeting at Barack Obama’s 55th birthday party at the White House – and again to kickstart “Americans.”
During the 10-minute interview, Colbert and Monae also discussed their shared love of science fiction, which heavily influenced the singer’s new LP Dirty Computer.
“I loved being able to see these different worlds that were different from mine, that allowed me to kind of escape from where I was,” Monáe said of the genre. “It just stayed with me. I started to write science fiction as a teenager… It stayed with me throughout my work.”
As for Dirty Computer, Monáe said, “Humanity says that we are full of bugs and viruses because of our very existence, whether it be you being a part of the LGBTQIA community, being a black woman, being a minority, an immigrant, the marginalized. It speaks to what it means to say our bugs and viruses are attributes, we don’t need to be reprogrammed or deprogrammed—we’re fine how we are. We too are American.”