There may have been no more poignant and powerful a performance at yesterday's Women's March.
As uplifting and important a collective moment as Saturday's (Jan. 21) global Women's Marches were, and as much as they may have ignited a cultural and political movement, there may have been no more poignant and powerful a moment than when Janelle Monae took the stage with the mothers of slain African Americans whose lives were unjustly taken by police to perform her powerful anthem "Hell You Talmbout” (full video below).
In her speech at the main Women's March in Washington, D.C., Monae acknowledged a debt to both her grandmother, a sharecropper from Aberdeen, Miss. and her mother, a janitor, while saying how honored she felt to be there. Monae, who most recently gave two award-worthy performances in critically-acclaimed films, Hidden Figures and Moonlight, said she was here to march against the abuse of power. And then her band took the stage (at the 5:30 mark in the clip) and seemed to light it on fire.
With a booming, all-female drum and percussionist group and backup singers that included her Wandaland label mate Jedenna (of "Classic Man" fame), Monae explained the call-and-response rhythm of her police brutality anthem "Hell You Talmbout." Here, she began bu repeating the name Sandra Bland, a a 28-year-old black woman who was found hanged in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas, on July, 13 2015, while the crowd and back up singers responded with "Say my name!"