Singer Janelle Monáe was in effect silenced during an appearance on NBC’s Today show on Friday morning, shortly after saying in a speech in support of the Black Lives Matter movement: “We will not be silenced.”
Monae was wrapping up the performance of her song “Hell You Talmbout” when she added some of her thoughts at the end.
“They say a question lives forever, until it gets the answer it deserves,” Monáe said. “Won’t you say their names? Can we say their names right now? Can we speak their names, as long as we have breath in our bodies?”
“God bless America,” the singer said. “God bless all the lives lost 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. We will not be silenced!”
But Monae was silenced after an NBC anchor quickly began talking over the singer’s closing narration. The network then broke for commercials and television viewers didn’t get to hear the rest of Monae’s thoughts on police brutality.
— marla york. (@theseMYtweetz) August 14, 2015
Hell You Talmbout is a protest song in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which emerged last year after a number of deaths of unarmed African American men and women either at the hands of police officers or while in police custody.
Monáe joins several musicians who have spoken out in public or on social media about the Black Lives Matter movement. Notably, at this years Grammys, Pharrell Williams and Beyoncé all used the award show’s platform to draw attention to the movement, referencing the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture associated with teenager Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri. Prince, while speaking on the subject of albums, simply said: “like books, and black lives, they still matter”.