Listen: Janelle Monáe’s new protest anthem invokes black victims of police brutality

“Sandra Bland, say her name!”
“Sandra Bland, say her name!”
Image: AP Photo/Dan Steinberg
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Janelle Monáe gathered her team at Wondaland Records to remix “Hell You Talmbout,” off her 2013 sophomore album, The Electric Lady. This version, which premiered on Soundcloud on Aug. 13, proceeds through a roll-call of African Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement officers in the last year and beyond, stretching back to the Feb. 1999 shooting of Amadou Diallo in New York.

In a comment posted to her Instagram account, Monáe detailed the inspiration for the track. “This song is a vessel,” she wrote. “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,” she added. “Sound is our weapon. They say a question lives forever until it gets the answer it deserves … Won’t you say their names?”