Martin Pengelly, THE GUARDIAN
NEW YORK (The Guardian) — Singer Janelle Monáe was in effect silenced during an appearance on NBC’s Today show on Friday morning, shortly after saying in a speech in support of the Black Lives Matter movement: “We will not be silenced.”
Performing with a number of labelmates, Monáe sang three songs outside NBC headquarters in Manhattan: Tightrope, Yoga and Hell You Talmbout.
Hell You Talmbout is a protest song in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which emerged last year after a number of deaths of unarmed African American men and women either at the hands of police officers or while in police custody.
The song features chants of the names of many of those who have died in such fashion, including Eric Garner, Walter Scott, John Crawford,Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland and Michael Brown, with the repeated request to “Say his name” or “Say her name”.
The song also mentions Trayvon Martin, who was shot dead by George Zimmerman in 2012, and Emmett Till, a 14-year-old whose brutal murder by white racists in Mississippi in 1955 inspired a protest song by Bob Dylan.