Live and Direct! – Janelle Monae + BLM March

We were holdin it down. #Wondaland#Crew #HYTB

A photo posted by Nick Francis (@iamnfrancis) on

Sunday, August 23rd, I had the chance to not only see Janelle and the Wondaland crew perform live at the 24th Street Bart Station down in the Mission of San Francisco, but I had the privilege of marching side by side with her and the rest of the Wondaland crew as they protested police brutality and mass incarceration as part of the BLM + BTLM coalition.

The event itself was not a music event, it was a protest. The majority of the time was spent allowing family members of the souls we’ve last over the last few years time to talk. Most memorably Oscar Grant’s uncle spent a large portion of time talking, and with intoxicating fervor. Both rallying and heartbreaking, the meeting gathered over three hundred in attendance.

After each organization involved in the gathering had a proper chance to talk to the crowd, and after family members had talked about the tragedies they’d experienced and the importance of active response Janelle and the Wondaland crew came out to join the families in a new protest song “Hell You Talmbout”. The song is entirely focused on naming the victims of violence from the hands of police, and white supremacy in general, and was tuned to include the names of those the families involved had lost – with the family members themselves singing.

Janelle, Jidenna and the rest of the Wondaland then lead everyone in a second line through the Mission down to the 17th street Police Station, all the while singing HTYB, and giving space and room to name the many victims of police and state violence.

All of this was part of Wondaland’s national tour to spread awareness and be involved in the fight against police brutality and promote Wondaland’s new ensamble EP “The Eepheus” which features new music from Janelle, Jidenna (including the much over-hyped Classic Man Remix with Kendrick), St. Beauty, Roman GianArthur, and the beautiful duo Deep Cotton. With each stop they make the Wondaland crew takes part in a protest, then proceeds to host a “secret” free concert, this time at the Independent. It’s great to see Janelle and her crew so involved in these kinds of grassroots events, specially with little to no promotional activity for her shows that take place after the protest. They seem to genuinely just want to be involved, and respectfully so.

You can catch them on the last leg of their tour at these locations, or at one of the secret tour stops (not listed):
Aug 12 Philadelphia, PA
Aug 13 New York, NY
Aug 15 Washington, D.C.
Aug 17 Chicago, IL
Aug 21 Los Angeles, CA
Aug 23 San Francisco, CA
Aug 24 Portland, OR
Aug 31 Atlanta, GA

To keep up with Janelle and the Wondaland crew (and possibly join them for a secret show!) follow them at:


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