Inspired by protests and marches in the name of racial justice across the nation, Janelle Monae and her Wondaland musical collective have just shared “Hell You Talmbout,” a deeply emotional new single that calls for an end to state-sanctioned police brutality while illuminating the struggles that persons of color endure every day. Only yesterday, Monae and Jidenna helped lead a Black Lives Matter march in Philadelphia, and were also involved Thursday in a demonstration in New York City’s times Square.
Opening with a tumult of snare drums and only growing in power with each passing bar “Hell You Talmbout” captures much of the intensity and dutiful feeling that have marked protests in New York City, Ferguson, Baltimore and elsewhere. To hear a song open with “Walter Scott / Say his name!” is truly inspiring and was sorely needed as the news of persistent violence keeps coming in. “Hell You Talmbout” features Monae in a prominent role, but also benefits from the talents of Deep Cotton, St. Beauty, Jidenna, Roman GianArthur and George 2.0. The song was released along with a message, which you can read in full below:
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?
Listen to “Hell You Talmbout” below, and don’t be surprised if you find your fist raising itself into the air by the time it ends.