One of my favorite things to do in my spare time is to watch the interviews of various artists/celebrities that appear on The Breakfast Club Power 105.1.
The latest interview to peek my interest featured Janelle Monáe, Jidenna and Wondaland’s breakout rock group, Deep Cotton. Now, of course when it comes to the Breakfast Club it’s inevitable to be humored by Charlamagne’s side comments and intellectual ignorance, but there was a different tone this time around.
The interview began as usual with a discussion surrounding Wondaland’s free tour sponsored by Toyota, their Eephus EP dropping, and Jidenna’s Nigeria controversy. However, it was Charlamagne’s inquiry about the political correctness of artists that seemed to pulled out real, raw emotion from Janelle Monáe surrounding the issues of police brutality and the frequent deaths of Black men and women across the nation.
In her emotional response, Monáe shared the following,
“As an artist, I’m not a politician. I love my president, and I have been censored out of respect, just a tad bit. But I feel like it’s up to us, it’s up to the artists that are going to tell the the unedited, uncensored truth. Once we’ve passed on, all we have is our music and our stories and the things that we’ve said. We want history to reflect the times that we’re in. If our young brothers and sisters are being killed, we want… we just released an song called “Hell You Talmbout” and this song is a weapon. This song is going to be used at rallies and marches because we’re not going to continue to allow the abusive powers of anybody to our people and our community. It’s wrong. What happened to Freddie Grey, was happened to Sandra Bland and how she even ended up in police custody was wrong.”
“I feel a huge responsibility for us to pass the torch. Who are the new voices to keep forward? At the end of the day, it’s about our community. It’s about when we have children what kind of world will they live in? I’m tired of retweeting, I’m tired of favoriting; it’s time to say some sh*t about something.”
I’d hate to ruin the full interview before you got a chance to watch it for yourself, but she dropped so many gems and hit on so many important points that far too many artists are afraid to say. It’s funny how as a community we tend to give our attention and support to artists that talk about “God blessing all the trap niggas” and “whip” this, “nae nae” that, while these very same artists remain silent as our brothers and sisters are gunned down and slain in the streets. What amazes me the most is that the majority of us aren’t holding them accountable for it. Music is a powerful tool. It helps us process our frustrations, it makes us feel, and inspires us to change. Because of this, I love Janelle Monáe and the entire Wondaland movement for creating music for the time. For putting their own agendas aside and actually making music for the community and those of us on the front-lines in Ferguson, New York, on college campuses and beyond. Because posting a picture on Instagram isn’t enough.
If you haven’t already, you gotta listen to “Hell You Talmbout.” Warning: you will cry.
You’ve just been served.
*interview was edited for clarity.*