After Janelle Monáe performed “Tightrope” on Friday’s episode of the Today show, the singer launched into a discussion of police brutality — but the show cut to a commercial break soon after she started talking, prompting some to believe NBC cut her off on purpose.
Indeed, many reports allege that the cut was made following a performance of “Hell You Talmbou,” a song dedicated to raising awareness of police brutality.
A network source tells EW, however, that Monáe never performed “Hell You Talmbou” at all. Furthermore, it was a performance of “Tightrope” that went over, and the cut to commercial was unintentional.
“Janelle Monáe and Wondaland performed three songs on the Today show Friday: ‘Yoga,’ ‘Tightrope,’ and ‘Classic Man,'” a network source tells EW. “The show went to a hard commercial break at the end of the song ‘Tightrope,’ which ran a couple of minutes over time. The performance was not intentionally cut off — the show is programmed for that hard commercial break at the same time every day.”
In a video from her performance posted on Twitter, Monáe says, “God bless all who have lost lives to police brutality. We want white America to know that we stand tall today. We want black America to know that we stand tall today.” At that point, an anchor began speaking over Monáe as they cut to a commercial break.
Monáe released “Hell You Talmbout“ late last week, and frequently posts about issues of police brutality on her Instagram account. She and Wondaland did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment.
•With reporting by AMANDA MICHELLE STEINER