On Monday’s (Sept. 14) episode of her Spotify podcast Jemele Hill is Unbothered, titled “Revolutions Per Minute,” Hill broke down the “strong Black woman” fallacy and how it doesn’t make space for our vulnerability due to the resounding ideal of our resilience. Regarding the shooting incident with the “Savage” rapper, she asked the “Turntables” singer about how to talk about Black women not being supported by their own communities without villainizing Black men.
My guest this week on @JHillUnbothered is @JanelleMonae. We discuss her new movie, Antebellum, her new single “Turntables,” and why it’s critical for black people to vote in this election. Download/subscribe FOR FREE —> https://t.co/QkYlVXpqfc pic.twitter.com/XnWowmTSJ6
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 14, 2020
“I think what I try to do is come from a place of love, but love is not exempt of accountability,” the Antebellum actress said around the 14-minute mark. “Just because you hold somebody accountable, don’t mean that you don’t love them. That that is the biggest form of love, because that’s saying, ‘Listen, we can be better than that. I want you to be better than that.’ And I, like you, I’m sick to my stomach around the victim-blaming that that was going on around Meg the Stallion, and she is strong. But she should not have to go through that. She should not have to prove to people who thought that she was lying, that she wasn’t lying.”
The 25-year-old rapper was shot in both feet in the early hours of Sunday, July 12, “as a result of a crime that was committed against me and done with the intention to physically harm me,” she wrote in a lengthy Instagram note in the following days. But as memes made the rounds on the internet that invalidated her traumatic experience, Megan tweeted about how “Black women are so unprotected & we hold so many things in to protect the feelings of others w/o considering our own.”
Black women are so unprotected & we hold so many things in to protect the feelings of others w/o considering our own. It might be funny to y’all on the internet and just another messy topic for you to talk about but this is my real life and I’m real life hurt and traumatized.
— TINA SNOW (@theestallion) July 17, 2020
On the latest podcast episode, Monáe unpacked how anyone benefiting from the patriarchal system in American society has an obligation to speak up and not just take up arms as allies but as “[accomplices] to Black women.”
“Violence under any kind should be condemned. It’s not a gender issue. It needs to be condemned. And I think that when you, when we’re talking about Black women, though, we are disproportionately affected by it,” the 34-year-old artist continued explaining. “So my thing is to say in the same way that we ask white people to like to abolish systemic racism and oppression, I’m asking those, and this is Black men included, if you are doing this, then I’m not talking to you. But if you benefit from this white patriarchal system in a way that we don’t, I’m asking you to have conversations with more men about how you can be better supportive, how you can show up better for Black women and other folks who may not be as privileged as you are in this world.”
She also spoke about her latest single “Turntables,” which is featured on All In: The Fight for Democracy, the forthcoming Amazon Studios documentary about voter suppression starring former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. The nearly two-hour feature be exclusively launched on Amazon Prime Video this Friday, Sept. 18.
“Turntables” serves as a rallying cry to continue galvanizing those fighting for racial justice on the frontlines.
“I think just in this moment, we’re all feeling this revolution. We’re all feeling that, that we as Black people and Black women and Black queer folks in the LGBTQI+ communities, we’re not allowing it to be just lip service. We’re holding, again, those who benefit from these racist policies and benefit from patriarchy accountable in a different way,” she said. “This song is about the revolution, it’s highlighting that. And when you think about a record spinning, they call it a RPM, revolutions per minute, when it’s spinning like that. That’s what’s happening right now. And I just wanted to capture what it is like to watch it happen.”
She credits Abrams for getting her back into the recording studio after she wanted to vote for her during the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial election between the 46-year-old Black female politician and the current Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. The eight-time Grammy-nominated singer ultimately blamed gerrymandering for Kemp’s win at the time, but she still desired to support Abrams in any way she could.
“I told her, ‘If you ever need me, call me.’ And she called me and the directors of her documentary All In contacted me and asked me if I wanted to contribute some new music. And I said, ‘Okay, I’m not at all in a space where I need to get in the studio,’ because I was just emotionally fatigued and traumatized by the violence against us and the deaths,” she recalled. “And so I said, ‘I’mma watch this. If I’m moved, I’ll make myself go into the studio.’ And I was. I fell in love with Stacey in this documentary and just fell in love with her even more and had a deeper level of respect for her than I did. And I went to the studio and I said, ‘I’mma write this like I’m writing it for myself. What do I need to hear? What would I want to hear to motivate me?’ And what would I think a young organizer, a Black queer young organizer, would need to hear to keep them going and motivated?'”
Listen to the rest of Monáe and Hill’s conversation on the “Revolutions Per Minute” episode of Jemele Hill is Unbothered below.