"From the eyes, to the gold wire, and then to the white safety pins...can you guess what messages I am sending and speaking through my hair?" she captioned a recent Instagram, where fans threw out their best guesses. And for the record, some of their tries were pretty damn good. "I am awake..tuned in and protected," one wrote. "The message I'm getting from your hair from left to right 'look but don't touch'," another commented.
"The period we're in now is very freeing...If you like it, do it!" Nelms told us about the looks. "When we free ourselves with being concerned about someone else’s opinion then we can go so much further. You’ll be surprised how far your creative juices will flow if you just free yourself of worrying about what someone else thinks. If I were scared, do you think I would have picked up some eyes at a craft store to put in Janelle’s hair?"
While Nelms vows to remain tightlipped about Monáe's messages, we did get her to spill a few behind-the-scenes details. Read ahead for the big reveals.