Janelle Monáe Teams Up With 15 Black Artists and Activists for Protest Anthem 'Say Her Name'
By Mekishana Pierre
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Global Citizen
Janelle Monáe is honoring the Black women and girls killed by law enforcement in a powerful way.
On Friday, the Dirty Computer singer released a 17-minute single featuring 15 other Black women and activists titled "Say Her Name." The anthem was born of a partnership with the African American Policy Forum and brings the untold stories of these women to light.
"We are honored that Ms. Monáe and so many artists have lent their voices to reverse what we've called the 'loss of the loss,'" Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, co-founder of the African American Policy Forum, said in a statement. "We've seen first hand the long term consequences of this unimaginable loss of life at the hands of police."
Dr. Crenshaw explained that the song honors the families who have suffered "the tragedy of stolen lives and the indignity and trauma that follows," and strengthens them with the knowledge that they have a support system that will "bear witness until justice is done."
"Say Her Name" is a follow-up to Monáe's 2015 song, "Hell You Talmbout," and proceeds from the single and video will benefit the AAPF's #SayHerName campaign.
Along with Monáe and Dr. Crenshaw, the single features Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Chlöe x Halle, Tierra Whack, Isis V., Zoë Kravitz, Brittany Howard, Asiahn, Mj Rodriguez, Jovian Zayne, Angela Rye, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Brittany Packnett Cunningham and Alicia Garza. But even with such a powerfully star-studded lineup, the focus of the song isn't the artists but the message.
"We support the tireless work that #SayHerName has been doing for years to help bring these mothers justice for their daughters. This work is too important to do alone and can only be sustained through our collective voices," Monáe said in a statement. "We take up this call to action as daughters ourselves trying to create a world where stories like these are no longer commonplace. This is a rally cry. We aim to give reverence to the countless Black women and girls who should be with us today. And to their mothers who have suffered this unbearable loss. They matter. Their names matter. Their stories matter. And justice needs to be served."
She added, "May we all commit ourselves to protecting Black women and girls and making systemic changes to protect our sisters from the abuse of power in the police force. Please join us and #SayHerName."
"Say Her Name" was released ahead of International Daughters Day on Sept. 26 and honors the following Black women and girls: Rekia Boyd, Latasha Nicole Walton, Atatiana Jefferson, Kendra James, Priscilla Slater, Yuvette Henderson, Renee Davis, Kyam Livingston, Cynthia Fields, Kindra Chapman, India Kager, Shelly Frey, LaJuana Phillips, Kisha Michael, Dannette Daniels, Crystal Ragland, Pamela Turner, Latandra Ellington, Crystalline Barnes, Korryn Gaines, Michelle Cusseaux, India Cummings, Sandra Bland, Symone Marshall, Yvette Smith, Margaret Mitchell, Mya Hall, Tyisha Miller, Alesia Thomas, Kayla Moore, Alberta Spruill, Breonna Taylor, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Nizah Morris, LaTanya Haggerty, Layleen Polanco, Shereese Francis, Sheneque Proctor, April Webster, Kathryn Johnston, Michelle Shirley, India Beaty, Tanisha Anderson, Sandy Guardiola, Shukri Ali Said, Duanna Johnson, Eleanor Bumpurs, Jessica Williams, Sarah Riggins, Charleena Lyles, Sharmel Edwards, Deborah Danner, Joyce Curnell, Natasha McKenna, Darnesha Harris, Pearlie Golden, Miriam Carey and Tarika Wilson.