In case the invite got stuck in your spam folder, “Yoga” singer Janelle Monáe and her labelmates dropped by the Howard Theatre on Saturday night to put on a free, “secret” concert for fans — announced, in typical “secret” show fashion, with e-mail blasts, press releases, a “Today” show appearance and big signs outside of the venue.
But while they were in town, Monáe and co. skipped the usual White House tour and visit to Georgetown Cupcake. Instead, they hit the Justice Department, where they led a small contingent of protesters Saturday afternoon on a Black Lives Matter rally through the streets of Washington.
Saturday’s march, announced via Instagram and Twitter, was led by Monáe, Jidenna, the rising rapper on the singer’s Wondaland label, and fellow Wondaland artists. Bound for the White House, the walk featured the acts singing their new protest song, “Hell You Talmbout.” No word on how many were in attendance.
Three days into the whirlwind “Eephus” tour, featuring eight concerts in such cities as Philadelphia, D.C. and Los Angeles, it’s become pretty clear that Monáe and her labelmates are turning the Toyota-sponsored tour into a political roadshow. So far, they’re three for three, leading public protests before each night’s show. The tour stops — and subsequent marches — began in Philadelphia on Wednesday and continued the next day in New York, where the group led a rally against police brutality in Times Square. The group moves on to Chicago on Monday, then Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland, Ore., before wrapping up in Atlanta at the end of the month.