Art as Protest

Lives Lost, Lives Taken

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I've been quieter about it this year than I have in years past, but my silence doesn't mean I've stopped observing, processing, facing, or grappling with the reality that hate is taking lives...collecting them like trophies. I'm not lost to the fact that racism, nationalism, supremacy, extremism, and terrorism both domestic and global are obliterating innocent lives. 

Tonight I learned about Alton Sterling. This morning, Medina. Before that Baghdad. Bangladesh. Istanbul. Orlando. There's Brexit. Donald Trump is running for president on a platform rooted in willful ignorance, nationalism, and xenophobia. Police officers continue to not be held accountable for any of the brutalization or deaths they cause. 

Muslim lives. Black lives. Brown lives. Queer lives. Trans lives. Young lives. Innocent lives. Too many lives taken by hate. 

It's just too many. I don't know what to say about so much loss, but I'm bearing witness to it, and desperately hoping we find ways to do and be better for each other.I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried about it getting worse before it gets any better. We deserve more than hate, fear mongering, oppression, and brutality. We deserve living, thriving, humanity. Love. We deserve love.

Don't we?  Where is it? 

 

Art as Protest: Janelle Monae & Wondaland Marches Through The Streets With "Hell You Talmbout"

Janelle Monae and her Wondaland crew (artists I wholeheartedly stan for) are currently doing secret shows across the U.S. in support of their latest EP, The Eephus. Yesterday they were in Philly, not just for a show, but to also help lead a march and rally w/Philly's Black Lives Matter chapter. The rally was labeled as a celebration of "Black Joy" and featured many young poets, singers, and community organizers from the city. 

#BlackGirlsRock #WondalandRecords #WondalandGoesPlaces #TheEephus

A photo posted by Janelle Monáe (@janellemonae) on

150 deep, they marched through North Philly chanting and later singing a new song titled "Hell You Talmbout", which Monae and Wondaland artists wrote to protest police brutality and honor the lives of those lost to state violence. 

#SayTheirNames #TheEephus #BlackLivesMatter

A video posted by Janelle Monáe (@janellemonae) on

#SayTheirNames

A video posted by Janelle Monáe (@janellemonae) on

I followed the action on Twitter and Janelle's Instagram feed yesterday, hoping to hear the whole song in it's entirety. It was released today on Soundcloud, and with every listen, I've had to fight back tears as I sing along. Take a listen...and feel the pain and power of it as you say their names.

Let's keep fighting for freedom y'all.