So, yesterday Janelle Monae (artist, activist, and the walking personification of #BlackGirlMagic) released a protest song through her Wondaland Music imprint called “Hell You Talmbout”. This song, which all at once simple and powerful, is a tribute to the many many Black lives lost in the fight against White supremacy. For nearly a full seven minutes, Janelle and her male counterparts speak name after name of those brothers and sisters who have been lost to police or vigilante violence over the last years.
As I listened to the song over and over again last night, I couldn’t help but appreciate the power of Janelle’s voice in making this move. So often we talk about how we wish that more Black celebrities would use their platforms to bring about attention to our cause, and while they occasionally do, more often than not it seems that they live in glass houses in the ivory tower and largely ignore the greater issues of our community because their class privilege insulates them from the realities of what it is like to live as a Black person in today’s America. Janelle, however, shows us that once again, she is unashamed and unafraid to speak for those whose voices have been silenced by the state.
Thank you, Janelle. We see you, and we thank you.
Check out “Hell You Talmbout” here