Michael Brown, the 18-year-old Missouri boy who was murdered by a police officer earlier this month, was laid to rest in St. Louis on Monday morning. As the country continues to grapple with the teenager’s death and subsequent outcry in Ferguson, one person the tragedy hits close to home for is Janelle Monae. While on tour in Europe, the singer spoke to VIBE about how the violence just hours away from her hometown is weighing on her heart.
“I’m from Kansas City, so I’m four hours away from St. Louis,” explains Janelle. “It’s a time where I’m trying to be still and at the same time, doing all that I can to bring awareness to certain issues that I would love for us to all figure out, and get together and create music that can nurture and heal our communities as we move forward.”
Amid the media attention on Michael Brown and Ferguson, the “Electric Lady” singer reminds us that this isn’t the first time tragedy has struck a young black man.
“What’s going on in Ferguson is not the first time this has happened,” she says. “You have Trayvon Martin and other cases that don’t get the publicity. As a black woman, I’m more in tuned with those tragedies that happen because it affects people who look like my cousins and my brothers and sisters. There are certain prejudices and a certain lens that people look at us through. Not all people but this isn’t the beginning of it.”
Read the rest over on VIBE