Hear Janelle Monae Protest Police Killings on Powerful New Song - Rolling Stone
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Hear Janelle Monae Protest Police Killings on Powerful New Song

“Hell You Talmbout” – featuring entire Wondaland Records roster – honors black Americans killed by police

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Hear Janelle Monae pay tribute to black Americans killed by police in powerful protest song "Hell You Talmbout"

Mike Pont/Getty

Janelle Monáe and her Wondaland Records roster have united for “Hell You Talmbout,” a police brutality protest song posted to Soundcloud on Thursday. Over marching drums, Monáe, Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, Deep Cotton, St. Beauty and George 2.0 shout out names of African-Americans killed by police officers, pausing for gospel chants on the chorus. 

The list of names includes Walter Scott, Jerame Reid, Phillip White, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell, Freddie Gray, Aiyana Jones, Sandra Bland, Kimani Gray, John Crawford III, Michael Brown, Miriam Carey, Sharonda Singleton, Tommy Yancy, Jordan Baker, Amadou Diallo and – connecting the theme of white-on-black violence to decades past – Emmett Till.

Listen to “Hell You Talmbout” below.

“This song is a vessel,” Monáe said on Instagram. “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?”

On Wednesday, Monáe and Jidenna helped lead a Philadelphia march protesting police brutality, Billboard reports. The Electric Lady singer carried a sign labeled with the words “Black Girl Magic.” 

Monáe and Wondaland will release their collective debut EP, The Eephus, on Friday, August 14th. The crew kicked off their “Eephus” tour on Wednesday with a performance in Philadelphia; the free, invite-only shows are scheduled throughout the month, ending on the 31st in Atlanta. RSVP information is available at the Wondaland website


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