‘Say Her Name’: Janelle Monáe’s New Song Draws Attention To Black Girls And Women Killed By Police

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Ahead of International Daughters Day on Sept. 26, Janelle Monáe recently released a 17-minute long collaborative tribute song called “Say Her Name” in honor of 61 Black women and girls, from ages 7 to 93, who’ve lost their lives due to police violence.

“Say Her Name” follows up on Monáe’s previous collaborative protest anthem, 2015’s “Hell You Talmbout.” While speaking with PEOPLE, the musician explained that she wanted the latest project to “bring more awareness” to victims’ stories that mainstream media hasn’t covered. Also, she wanted to “allow their families an opportunity to be able to hear people sharing their stories about their daughters as the human beings they were and as the daughters they were.”

Monáe said after releasing “Hell You Talmbout” — which is sampled in “Say Her Name” — she “learned about the amount of women — Black women in particular — who had lost their lives to police violence and their stories were not covered.”

“I just felt like it was super important that we all, on a global scale, became aware,” the star added.

In the song, Monáe and other big names such as Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Chlöe x Halle, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Tierra Whack, Zoë Kravitz, Brittany Howard, Asiahn, Isis V., Mj Rodriguez, Jovian Zayne, Angela Rye, Alicia Garza and Brittany Packnett Cunningham all chant the names of Black women and girls who’ve fatally suffered from police violence.

“Each of us is a daughter and we came together on a human to human level, sister to sister level to honor these names,” Monáe explained.

“Music has always been therapy for me. What this [song] is also doing is capturing a moment in our history and how we all came together to spread the word about who they are,” she added. “To be able to uplift their names in this song is taking a piece of American history and taking a piece of what has happened so that history won’t repeat itself again.”

All proceeds of the anthem will go to the African-American Policy Forum’s #SayHerName campaign, which helps the family of those who’ve lost loved ones to police violence share their stories. 

Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, a co-founder of the organization, noted that “The saying her name was the creation of that cacophony of sound. We needed to not only say their names, but explode the sound barrier by saying the names that had been erased for so long.”

“[When] we say their names, we bring awareness to the fact that so many of their families experience not just the loss of the daughter, but the loss of the loss,” Crenshaw added. “It’s like their killing doesn’t mean anything and because it doesn’t get reported, there’s an additional trauma that the family has to deal with.”

In the song “Say Her Name,” the following Black women and girls are tributed: Rekia Boyd, Latasha Nicole Walton, Atatiana Jefferson, Kendra James, Priscilla Slater, Yuvette Henderson, Renee Davis, Kyam Livingston, Cynthia Fields, Kindra Chapman, India Kager, Shelly Frey, LaJuana Phillips, Kisha Michael, Dannette Daniels, Crystal Ragland, Pamela Turner, Latandra Ellington, Crystalline Barnes, Korryn Gaines, Michelle Cusseaux, India Cummings, Sandra Bland, Symone Marshall, Yvette Smith, Margaret Mitchell, Mya Hall, Tyisha Miller, Alesia Thomas, Kayla Moore, Alberta Spruill, Breonna Taylor, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Nizah Morris, LaTanya Haggerty, Layleen Polanco, Shereese Francis, Sheneque Proctor, April Webster, Kathryn Johnston, Michelle Shirley, India Beaty, Tanisha Anderson, Sandy Guardiola, Shukri Ali Said, Duanna Johnson, Eleanor Bumpurs, Jessica Williams, Sarah Riggins, Charleena Lyles, Sharmel Edwards, Deborah Danner, Joyce Curnell, Natasha McKenna, Darnesha Harris, Pearlie Golden, Miriam Carey and Tarika Wilson.

Hear the song in full down below.

SEE ALSO:

Justice For Ta’Neasha Chappell: Family Of Woman Who Died In Police Custody Hires Breonna Taylor Attorneys

All The Ways Sandra Bland’s Legacy Lives On 6 Years After Her Death

#SayHerName: Black Women And Girls Killed By Police
Ma'Khia Bryant
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