Janelle Monáe released the song "Hell You Talmbout" Thursday as an ode to the Black Lives Matter movement.
She posted a message on Instagram explaining how the song is a "vessel" to express the grief experienced by those communities that are subjected to excessive police force and vigilante violence.
"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," Monae's post read.
She said the song is also directed at people who are choosing to stay neutral in the face of police brutality and injustice: "We recorded it to challenge the indifference, disregard, and negligence of all who remain quiet about this issue."
The song sounds as if it was made so that Black Lives Matter activists can chant the song during protests and marches. It specifically names a few of the unarmed black people who were killed by law enforcement or white civilians in recent years:
"Walter Scoott, say his name.
"Eric Garner, say his name.
"Trayvon Martin, say his name.
"Won't you please say his name?" the song asks each time after naming the dead.
Soundtracks have always accompanied social movements, so it's wonderful that Monáe and her crew have put together something that resonates with this movement.
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Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele is a staff writer at The Root and the founder and executive producer of Lectures to Beats, a Web series that features video interviews with scarily insightful people. Follow Lectures to Beats on Facebook and Twitter.
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