Janelle Monáe knows the tables have turned and a new era has evolved with the 2020 elections that saw Democrats win the White House and Georgia flip the Senate in the runoffs. “The Georgia that went out and voted is not Georgia in the ‘50s or ‘60s. Quite frankly, the people are not taking shit,” she says.
Monáe talks about the historic moment in her latest anthem (an Original Song contender) “Turntables” from the Oscar-shortlisted documentary “All In: The Fight for Democracy.”
“The tables are turning and the rooster has come home to roost.” Monáe points to the record number of voters who came out and stood in line to cast their vote. “People were standing in line to flex their power to remind politicians that we the people hold the power.”
The song and its accompanying video are about oppression. Monáe says it was the first song they wrote in 2020 after receiving a call from Stacey Abrams amid the pandemic. “I was trying to figure out how I was going to help feed people in the community,” says Monáe, who had gone into survival mode as people were going through a financial crisis and were in the hospital dying. “I didn’t know if this country was going to vote or if the Trump administration was going to have another four years.”
The relationship between Monáe and Abrams dates back to when Abrams was running for governor — the seat was lost by a narrow 55,000 votes to opponent Brian Kemp — and the singer and politician kept in touch.