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Janelle Monáe is already a darling of carefree Black girls everywhere, but her latest effort proves why she’s one of the most important artists out today.

In Hell You Talmbout,Monáe and her fellow Wondaland artists, including Jidenna, demand listeners remember the names of unarmed Black people killed by police and racial violence.

The powerful song features a hypnotic drum beat and chorus, and name checks Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Aiyana Jones, Michael Brown, John Crawford, Sharonda Singleton, Sandra Bland, and others.


Wednesday, Monáe and her Wondaland crew kicked off their Eephus tour by attending the #BlackJoyPhilly rally in the City of Brotherly Love. They followed it up by marching in Time Square in New York City on Thursday and performing the moving song, which no doubt will become an anthem for future #BlackLivesMatter protests.

Listen here:

Image Credit: Getty Images

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  • Meme

    It’s good that they’re taking a stand, but I don’t think the people they’re trying to reach are moved by this. Racists are perpetually stupid.

    • roo08

      It seems to me it’s to mobilize the black community and it’s true allies, not change racists’ minds.

    • Trueblue

      Yeah, this song is for us.

    • Meme

      Well it’s good that black folks are coming together. Unity is what the black community needs.

    • Objection

      I agree with you. I applaud their efforts; however, I don’t believe we are getting to the root of the problem. First, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has given police officers a green light to view every black person as a violent suspect. The police should not be allowed to force black people out of their cars simply for a traffic violation. There should be specific facts that warrant a person to be forced out of the car. Secondly, Terry Stops have taken a turn for the worse. The police are finding any and every ridiculous reason to justify reasonable suspicion. Lastly, society has to reexamine qualified immunity. Qualified immunity has allowed police officers to act and behave like the Nazi Police. There are other issues, but these are just a few off the top of my head.

    • vintage3000

      I don’t know anything about how these laws work. Is there anything that can be done to challenge these issues you mentioned? I googled qualified immunity but still dont fully understand how it means American citizens rights can be violated so frequently. Cops are def behaving like nazi storm troopers. The parents of that white kid killed by cops in south carolina were told they will not be allowed to view the surveillance video of him being killed. Witnesses say the cops picked up his hand and high fived it after he was killed.

      Many white Americans like to crow about how we are such a free country but all this law enforcement corruption is proving otherwise.

    • Objection

      Qualified Immunity stops you from suing the police for violating your Constitutional Rights. It makes it very difficult for you to sue the police. Your case could be thrown out of court during the early stages of litigation. In other words, you never make it to a jury. For every case you read in the newspaper about someone getting millions of dollars; there are hundreds or thousands that never see a courtroom. Most police officers know they have qualified immunity. Because the cases are so difficult, a lot of lawyers will not take them. You would need thousands of dollars to hire an attorney.

      Google, “How the Supreme Court Protects Bad Cops.” It’s an article written in The New York Times by Erwin Chemerinsky who is the Dean at the University of California School of Law. The article should give you an an idea of what is going on. The laws need to be changed by politicians.

    • Adebisi’s Hat

      You’re absolutely right. It’s not enough to address the symptoms, we have to get at the heart of the cancer and that won’t happen until there’s an honest reckoning on a societal and institutional level.

  • Janelle Monae’s new song is certainly emotional, great, and it shows a great message. Janelle Monae is a genius and she is a very creative Sister. The song’s message is one that we all hold dear. The artists showing the names of the Brothers and the Sisters who are the victims of overt murder (or other tragic situations) should inspire all of us. The song shows us that our black bodies should be treated with dignity and respect. We own our own minds, our bodies, and our souls. We have our own autonomy as human beings and injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We reject token reformism. We want revolutionary change where black people worldwide are truly free and have justice. We love our ancestors and we love our black people. Every black human life, irrespective of anyone’s background or gender, has equal value in the Universe. That is the pristine point that this great song wants to convey courageously.

    #We do this for our Ancestors.

    #Black Lives Matter.

    • vintage3000

      ITA truth. This song is in the spirit of protest music for us. It was not created for racists to download from itunes and listen the lyrics, have an epiphany and stop being hateful. I especially like the part where they shout out everyone’s names. It’s hard to apply the word victim to these people because it reduces their existence to the result of demonic hatred. I imagine their families appreciate their loved ones being remembered this way. At the same time i also agree there has to be drastic measures taken because this is a human rights epidemic in this country. Black people have always been the moral consciensce of america and here we are again.

    • Exactly Sister. Everybody knws that we are the moral conscience of America. No one can name one era of American history where black people have not made their voices heard from
      Phillis Wheatley to Ella Baker. The song does remind us o the music of our ancestors as we are of black African descent. As other people have mentioned, one problem is the legal system. There are unjust laws now that give the police unbridled power to oppress people. That should change. Liberation is about personal freedom. Also, liberation is a structural change in society where our human rights are protected. A racist will be a racist. They will not change by this great protest song. The families, of the black people who have passed, are strong people and they certainly are thankful for a song like this. Black righteous indignation at evil is not wrong. We have the right to express our oppression at oppression and organize solutions.

    • Adebisi’s Hat

      RIP Julian Bond, indeed. As always, thanks for the important reminder, Brother.

    • You’re Welcome Sister.


    Great song with a really powerful message!!! No gimmick, strictly good music. It takes back to the African drums.