Monae revamps the 2015 song to spotlight female victims of police violence
Janelle Monáe on Thursday released a lengthy music video for her protest song “Say Her Name (Hell You Talmbout.”
The 17-minute video features several prominent Black and Latino female artists and activists reciting the names of Black and Latino women who have been killed due to police-related or racially-motivated violence.
Throughout the animated video, the tribal rhythms and righteous, harmonic refrain of of “Hell You Talmbout,” the voices of artists like Alicia Keys, Chloe Bailey, Tierra Whack, and Brittany Howard, along with thought leaders like activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham, critical race theory scholar and law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, can be heard reciting the names of women of color killed in law enforcement encounters.
All of them, including Monáe, go back and forth, shouting “say her name” along with the names of deceased victims. It’s a return to the #SayHerName campaign that was created to call attention to the killings of Black women that were underreported in the media.
“This work is too important to do alone and can only be sustained through our collective voices,” Monáe said in a statement. “We take up this call to action as daughters ourselves trying to create a world where stories like these are no longer commonplace. This is a rally cry.”
In the video, the vocalists call out more than 50 names:
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.
Monáe originally released the song in 2015 as a bonus track for her album The Electric Lady. Initially titled “Hell You Talmbout,” the song featured members of Monáe’s record label, Wondaland Records, including Jidenna, Deep Cotton, St. Beauty, and Roman GianArthur.
In that first version, the names of Black women and men were called out as a protest against police brutality and race-based violence and included names like Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Sean Bell and Freddie Grey, as well as Bland and Carey.
Monáe and the Wondaland roster appeared at several Black Lives Matter rallies in 2015, including a demonstration in Chicago, leading the crowd in the song, while chanting the names of the fallen, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times.
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