The Anthem of ‘Black Lives Matter’

MEERA NANDA has sent us this moving and militant anthem of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

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R&B singer Janelle Monáe released a blistering 6 1/2-minute protest song on Friday called “Hell You Talmbout.” [African-American slang for “what the hell are you talking about.”] The song’s premise is simple, and that simplicity is the source of its power. The lyrics are the chanted names of black Americans killed by police and vigilantes, followed by the phrase “say his name” or “say her name.” The chorus is an anthemic, gospel-leaning repetition of the song’s title. Monáe is joined on the track by a drum line and the members of her Wondaland Arts Society collective: Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, Deep Cotton, St. Beauty and George 2.0. All of the vocals are raw, several to the point of breaking. None of the names are sung.

At the moment, Hell You Talmabout is available as a stream only. Here is the link.

And here are the lyrics. Note that some of the names are hyperlinked to tell you about the person being named.

[Intro]
Hell you
Hell you
Hell you
Hell you
Hell you

[Chorus]
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout

[Verse 1]
Walter Scott, say his name
Walter Scott, say his name
Walter Scott, say his name
Walter Scott, won’t you say his name?

Jerame Reid, say his name
Jerame Reid, say his name
Jerame Reid, say his name
Jerame Reid, won’t you say his name?

Philip White, say his name
Philip White, say his name
Philip White, say his name
Philip White, won’t you say his name?

[Pre-Chorus]
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Won’t you say his name?

[Chorus]
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout

[Verse 2]
Eric Garner, say his name
Eric Garner, say his name
Eric Garner, say his name
Eric Garner, won’t you say his name?
Trayvon Martin, say his name
Trayvon Martin, say his name
Trayvon Martin, say his name
Trayvon Martin, won’t you say his name?
Sean Bell, say his name
Sean Bell, say his name
Sean Bell, say his name
Sean Bell, won’t you say his name?

[Pre-Chorus]
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Won’t you say his name?

[Chorus]
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout

[Verse 3 – Janelle Monáe]
Freddie Gray, say his name
Freddie Gray, say his name
Freddie Gray, say his name
Freddie Gray, won’t you say his name?
Aiyana Jones, say her name
Aiyana Jones, say her name
Aiyana Jones, say her name
Aiyana Jones, won’t you say her name?
Sandra Bland, say her name
Sandra Bland, say her name
Sandra Bland, say her name
Sandra Bland, won’t you say her name?

[Pre-Chorus]
Say her name
Say her name
Say her name
Say her name
Say her name
Say her name
Say her name
Won’t you say her name?

[Chorus]
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout

[Verse 4 – Jidenna]
Kimani Gray, say his name
Kimani Gray, say his name
Kimani Gray, say his name
Kimani Gray, won’t you say his name?
John Crawford, say his name
John Crawford, say his name
John Crawford, say his name
John Crawford, won’t you say his name?
Michael Brown, say his name
Michael Brown, say his name
Michael Brown, say his name
Michael Brown, won’t you say his name?

[Pre-Chorus]
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Won’t you say his name?

[Chorus]
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout

[Verse 5 – St. Beauty]
Miriam Carey, say her name
Miriam Carey, say her name
Miriam Carey, say her name
Miriam Carey, say her name
Sharonda Singleton, say her name
Sharonda Singleton, say her name
Sharonda Singleton, say her name
Sharonda Singleton, say her name
Emmett Till, say his name
Emmett Till, say his name
Emmett Till, say his name
Emmett Till, won’t you say his name?

[Pre-Chorus]
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Won’t you say his name?

[Chorus]
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout

[Verse 6 – Roman GianArthur]
Tommy Yancy, say his name
Tommy Yancy, say his name
Tommy Yancy, say his name
Tommy Yancy, say his name
Jordan Baker, say his name
Jordan Baker, say his name
Jordan Baker, say his name
Jordan Baker, say his name
Say his name, won’t you say his name?
Amadou Diallo, say his name
Amadou Diallo, say his name
Amadou Diallo, say his name
Amadou Diallo, say his name

[Pre-Chorus]
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Say his name
Won’t you say his name?

[Chorus]
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout

[Outro]
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout
Hell you talmbout

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