Afro-futurist pop icon Janelle Monae performed on the Today show alongside rapper Jidenna and several other Wondaland Records label mates on Friday morning. Their set included Monae's breakout single "Tightrope," her Jidenna-featuring butt-aerobics anthem "Yoga," and the tortured Black Lives Matter protest song "Hell You Talmbout," in which Monae, Deep Cotton, St. Beauty, Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, and George 2.0 take turns chanting the names of people killed by police, as well as Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till. The former two performances are now memorialized in videos on the show's website, but "Hell You Talmbout" is conspicuously absent.
Monae closed out that song with a short, impassioned speech about police brutality, but what exactly she said we don't know, because a Today show anchor cut in and talked over Monae, starting immediately after Monae said, "We will not be silenced." She managed to get out the following before being cut off:
God bless America. God bless all, all who've lost lives 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…
— marla york. (@theseMYtweetz) August 14, 2015
We have reached out to NBC for an explanation of the decision-making process behind muting Monae's speech and will update if we hear back.
In other Today show news:
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 14, 2015