In honor of the Black lives lost to police killings and violence, Janelle Monae and her Wondaland Records family released a new song titled “Hell You Talmbout.”
The sounds of marching band drums create a strong instrumental for the voices of each musician proclaiming countless names of victims. Janelle Monae, Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, Deep Cotton, St. Beauty, and George 2.0 take turns for six minutes and 41 seconds, taking us through a long history of loss.
They echo “Say her name” and “Say his name” through mentions of Emmett Till and other Black men, women, and children killed, such as Sean Bell, Aiyana Jones, Kimani Gray, Walter Scott, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, and Michael Brown. Their voices are loud and intense emotion rings through each exclamation.
“Hell You Talmbout,” a revamp of an earlier version on Monae’s Electric Lady album, was released just a day after Jidenna and Janelle led Philadelphia and New York marches in protest of police violence.
Janelle Monae explained the song on her Instagram:
“This song is a vessel. It carries the unbearable anguish of millions. We recorded it to channel the pain, fear, and trauma caused by the ongoing slaughter of our brothers and sisters. We recorded it to challenge the indifference, disregard, and negligence of all who remain quiet about this issue. Silence is our enemy. Sound is our weapon. They say a question lives forever until it gets the answer it deserves… Won’t you say their names?”
It’s an act of remembrance and the commitment to keeping the movement alive.
Monae’s album The Epehus will be released on Friday. You can listen to the song below:
SOURCES: Soundcloud | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO: NDN