We've always been of the opinion that our mainstream popstars should stand for something in the way of social issues. Janelle Monáe's latest anthem is a huge drum based fight song called "Hell You Talmbout".
The context of "Hell You Talmbout" chronicles the decades long (and recent resurgence) of mass black killings in America. "Hell You Talmbout" strikes hard with the tagline: "Say His/Her Name", (#SayHerName) a social media movement created to prevent the erasure of those who have lost their lives in this specific way.
"Hell You Talmout" is emotionally charged and unapologetic. The fact that it is a drum led missive is key to the message as well. Drums in black culture were traditionally used to emote healing, fighting, or spiritual experiences. "Hell You Talmbout" feels like all of these things. The chorus is executed in the style of gospel music and echoes the song's title in buoyant exchange from verse to chorus.
"Hell You Talmbout" appeared online after an odd occurrence on Good Morning America where Janelle was seemingly cut off while making a brief speech on the program.
God bless all who have lost lives to police brutality. We want white America to know that we stand tall today. We want black America to know that we stand tall today.Janelle M.