The Washington Post

Former chief of staff on the Hill is now Janelle Monae’s manager

Congresswoman Maxine Waters' Chief of staff Mikael Moore leads a staff meeting on Capitol Hill in 2010. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post) Mikael Moore leads a  meeting of Rep. Maxine Waters’s staff on Capitol Hill in 2010. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

Mikael Moore, Rep. Maxine Waters’s former chief of staff, and her grandson, left Washington last week to work for yet another powerful woman, singer Janelle Monae.

That means Moore, 35, could finally go back to calling Waters (D-Calif.) “grandmother.” But that doesn’t mean he will.

“Working with the congresswoman, I learned about building relationships, being honest, having big ideas and not being afraid to buck the status quo,” said Moore, whose new title is managing partner of Wondaland Management, a strategic branding and media firm that lists White House favorite Monae as one of its biggest partners and clients.

It’s one thing to work behind the scenes of a School House Rock video, but an actual backstage pass to a rock concert? According to Moore it wasn’t the most strenuous stretch of the résumé to bullet from staffer to managing one of music’s biggest stars. Come on. Really?

“I’ve known Janelle for almost 10 years now,” Moore told us, explaining that the two met when Moore was a student at Morehouse College. “She was walking down the street with a guitar slung over her shoulder, and she asked me to come to her concert–and it was amazing.”

Janelle Monae performs at the White House March 6, 2014. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) Janelle Monae performs at the White House, March 6, 2014. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

A decade later, Moore’s using his acquired skill set to bridge the gap between content creation and distribution. He said Wondaland is trying to “touch every part of media” with a script in development, plans for a book and, of course, more music. Monae’s latest song “What Is Love” will be featured on the upcoming “Rio 2” soundtrack.

Ever the carefully deferential staffer, Moore made it clear to shine the spotlight on his new boss, “If not for the game changer that is Janelle Monae, I would have stayed in Washington.”

Helena Andrews-Dyer is the co-author of The Reliable Source. Follow her on Twitter @helena_andrews, and send your hot tips, sightings, and gossip to



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Making family dinnertime happen
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
New limbs for Pakistani soldiers
Play Videos
A veteran finds healing on a dog sled
Learn to make this twice-baked cookie
How to prevent 'e-barrassment'
Play Videos
Syrian refugee: 'I’m committed to the power of music'
The art of tortilla-making
Michael Bolton's cinematic serenade to Detroit
Play Videos
Circus nuns: These sisters are no act
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
Cool off with sno-balls, a New Orleans treat
Next Story
JulieAnn McKellogg and Emily Heil · March 12, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.