Janelle Monáe’s Speech On Black America Gets Cut Off On ‘Today,’ NBC Says It Wasn’t Intentional
Janelle Monáe was abruptly cut off last Friday on The Today Show on NBC, as she was performing with Jidenna and Wombaland at the Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, after she had begun giving the audience a speech about police violence against black people. “God bless all the lost lives to police brutality,” she said. “We want white America to know that we stand tall today. We want black America to know we stand tall today.” She then concluded that “we will not be silenced,” jumped as “Tightrope” ended in drum rolls, and then the camera turned to the audience, just before a commercial break took over the show.
The show resumed a few minutes after, as if nothing had happened. NBC told Entertainment Weekly that Monáe’s show “went to a hard commercial break at the end of the song “Tightrope,” which ran a couple of minutes over time. The performance was not intentionally cut off. The show is programmed for that hard commercial break at the same time every day.”
Monáe had introduced on Instagram the day before the show her new single “Hell You Talmbout,” which is linked to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. In the caption, she wrote that “this song is a vessel” that’s carrying “the unbearable anguish of millions.” She said she recorded it “to channel the pain, fear, and trauma caused by the ongoing slaughter of our brothers and sisters,” and to “challenge the indifference, disregard, and negligence of all who remain quiet about this issue.”
Watch the full performance below: