Janelle Monáe just dropped her new R&B soul song ”Stronger” on Friday (July 2). The track is set to appear in We the People, a 10-episode Netflix animated series about basic American civic rights and citizenship.
The show, produced by Barack and Michelle Obama, is set to premiere on July 4. It will include upbeat educational songs by popular artists like Monáe, H.E.R., Lin Manuel-Miranda, Adam Lambert, Bebe Rexha, Brandi Carlile, and more.
Monáe has often incorporated social justice into her music, and “Stronger” is a song about uniting to fight for justice, liberty, and equality. “Some of the friends taught me how to dream / Some of the friends taught me how to fight,” Monáe sings. “Even those times when we don’t agree / We know we all tryna save the same day / We don’t want the life without the liberty.”
Additionally, Monáe touches upon voters’ rights: “Now they cast their votes ’cause the people wanna speak / And they checking their balance ’cause the people wanna eat / What they do process ’cause they seek equality / And we pay for the world so the people in the streets / And they love America, where the people wanna be / And they all know their rights from the sea to shiny sea.”
Since the release of her previous studio album Dirty Computer in 2018, Monáe has recently contributed songs to films. “Turntables” was released as a non-album single for All In: The Fight for Democracy, a documentary about Fair Fight Action founder Stacey Abrams, who is also widely accredited for boosting voter turnout in Georgia during the 2020 presidential election, and the history of voter suppression in the United States. She has sung tracks “That’s Enough” and “He’s a Tramp” for the 2019 live-action remake of Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, in which she also voiced the bawdy Pekingese Peg.
Other onscreen roles in which Monáe has recently been featured are Season 2 of Amazon Prime’s psychological thriller series Homecoming and the 2020 suspense film Antebellum. She is set to appear in the upcoming sequel of the mystery film Knives Out, which could be released as early as next year.
“Stronger” is part of Monáe’s ambition in using her music to advocate for change. She spoke in an interview with Rolling Stone last year regarding social justice in her song “Turntables.”
“What is a revolution without a song?” she said. “I started thinking about all the people on the front line. What could be my gift to them? It was this song to remind them that the tables are turning. We’re seeing that progress is being made, even in the midst of dealing with such traumatic events. We have figured out a way to be the solution. I wanted this to be my gift because revolutionaries need love too. They need inspiration, and they need an anthem. This is my stab at that.”