A Protest Song for the Times: Janelle Monáe's "Americans"

Janelle Monáe's highly acclaimed 2018 effort Dirty Computer birthed the ultimate protest song that delivers a slice of empowerment for many oppressed and marginalized groups in the USA. That song, unsurprisingly titled "Americans," tackles existing injustices women, Blacks, Latinos, lower income people and the LGBTQ+ community face in America.
"Americans" was inspired by President Barack Obama's "A More Perfect Union" speech that was delivered in March of 2008 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. In a spoken word format throughout the song, a male voice declares:
"Until women can get equal pay for equal work This is not my America Until same gender loving people can be who they are This is not my America Until black people can come home from a police stop without being shot in the head This is not my America Until poor whites can get a shot at being successful This is not my America I can't hear nobody talkin' to me" - "Americans"
"Americans" made its live debut on June 11, 2018 during the kickoff of her Dirty Computer Tour in Redmond, Washington. Monáe performed the song during the 2-song encore on opening night, closing out the show with it.
The 17-song setlist opened with "Crazy, Classic, Life" which marked the first live debut of many that evening. In all, 8 songs had live debuts that evening including "Pynk," "Don't Judge Me" and "So Afraid."
Check out the complete setlist from the Dirty Computer Tour kickoff below.
Janelle Monae - Redmond, Washington - June 11, 2018 - setlist
Watch a live performance of "Americans" from the San Francisco show below to get an idea of how the song was played during the tour.

Monáe has been using the most of her platform during this critical movement, providing BLM resources and uplifting Black voices that need to be heard:
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With the current state of the world, it's important to raise awareness and encourage our readers to take action in support of the BLACK LIVES MATTER movement. We compiled a list or resources to help guide you in the right direction to begin helping today - check it out HERE.

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Last updated: 9 Jul 2020, 18:21 Etc/UTC