Huntsville’s Crystal Ragland included in Janelle Monáe protest song about Black women, police

Screen grab from the video for “Say Her Name (Hell You Talmbout)” by Janelle Monáe

Alicia Keys, Beyoncé and Limestone County’s Brittany Howard are on the song, too.

Posted: Oct 14, 2021 4:52 PM
Updated: Oct 14, 2021 8:07 PM

A new song protesting the number of Black and Latina women whose deaths have in some way involved police has North Alabama connections.

“Say Her Name (Hell You Talmbout)” by singer/actress Janelle Monáe is a 17-minute-long recital of womens’ names by artists and activists including Alicia Keys, Beyoncé and Limestone County’s Brittany Howard, solo artist and lead singer of The Alabama Shakes.

Named about two-and-a-half minutes into the song is Crystal Ragland, the Huntsville woman and Army veteran who was shot and killed in a May 2019 incident with the Huntsville Police Department.

Huntsville Police said Ragland pulled what appeared to be a gun from her pocket. An internal review board later determined that the gun was not real but also concluded that the two officers involved followed protocol. (Read more about that HERE)

Ragland’s family is suing the city of Huntsville and two officers. It is alleged in the lawsuit that the responding officers should have known that Ragland was suffering from a mental illness based on the original 911 call where the apartment complex manager indicated that Ragland suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. (Read more about that HERE)

In the song, Ragland’s name is recited by law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw.

“Crystal Ragland, say her name
“Crystal Ragland, say her name
“Crystal Ragland, say her name
“Crystal Ragland, say her name
“Say her name, say her name
“Say her name, say her name
“Say her name, say her name
“Say her name, won't you say her name”

Crenshaw is the founder of the African American Policy Forum, which benefits from the song's proceeds.

Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor and Symone Marshall are among the about 50 women also named in the song, which you can listen to or purchase on most music services. Howard recites the names of Kayla Moore, Alberta Spruill and Alesia Thomas about eight-and-half minutes into the song.

You can hear the song, an update to a song previously released by Monáe, and view its video below:

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