Throughout their careers, Janelle Monáe and Halsey have both been vocal about politics, voting and racial injustice in America. Today, the two stars made their cases yet again in a new set of interviews.
For V Magazine’s new Thought Leaders issue, Monáe and Halsey both spoke at length about the racist violence continuing throughout America, and how U.S. voters have the opportunity to help the country change course in the upcoming election. “This country is on life support,” Monáe said. “The current administration is not even lending an ear to the people: Black people, women, the LGBTQIA+ community…The people I love.”
In her interview, Monáe spoke about how her grandmother imparted to her at an early age the importance of voting in every election as a civic duty. “This is someone who was alive when women couldn’t vote and lived through the [passage of] the Civil Rights Act,” she said. “It was deep for her: She lost friends and family members, saw her brothers and sisters killed, for trying to integrate. She encouraged us to vote in their honor.”
The Antebellum star also spoke about the history of policing in America, and how its racist roots still manifest in discriminatory policies and practices today. “When we’re screaming, ‘Abolish the police,’ it is because we understand that the police were not built to protect and serve us,” she said. “I didn’t know this, but I do now: The first policing institutions in the South, during the civil war, hunted down runaway slaves and killed them. They killed anybody who was trying to revolt. There is still no justice for Breonna Taylor, or for my cousin, who was murdered by the police.”
For her interview, Halsey spoke about her experience as a white-passing, biracial woman in America, saying that she takes her job as a peaceful protester very seriously. “Every time I see a name in the news, it could be my family. Being subject to violence [at the protests] gave me a lot of perspective,” she said. “I’ve always been a part of an activity like that since I was a pre-teen—I was in the streets for Occupy Wall Street—so I’m a seasoned protester. I see people’s values change as they start making money, but they haven’t changed for me.”
The “Without Me” singer also voiced her support for defunding the police, emphasizing that budgets should be reallocated to help social services in desperate need of funding. “The defund the police [movement], and the deconstruction of that really means putting more money into social services and mental health services,” she said. “I’ve seen the way that mental health services can turn someone’s life around, as someone who received them at the benefit of the state before I was making enough money to be able to afford it myself.”
Halsey further emphasized her point by emphatically asking her fans to get out and vote in November. “It’s more important to vote right now than it has ever been. There are millions of lives at risk, and if it’s not millions of lives, then it’s the safety and comfort of millions of lives,” she said. “I’ve seen people line up outside of a GameStop because a new Call of Duty game is dropping. They should be doing the exact same thing at a polling center. It’s like, Go get in line!”
Monáe also made clear the importance of voting in the November election, voicing her support for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ campaign. “The reason why I will be voting is to vote against racist policies that have continued to oppress and traumatize Black people,” she said. “I will be voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, and I’m excited to hold [them] accountable. And when Stacey Abrams does [eventually] run for president, I will be voting for her. She is the real deal.”