Tracy Chapman Said “It’s Time for a Revolution” in First Television Performance in Five Years

This whole entire Election Situation has already reached impossible levels. It’s very real, and very serious, and very scary. I hope to take away from none of that very important focus by telling you that the 2020 election has also brought Tracy Chapman back to our lives with her first televised performance in five years. (Holy shit.)

Last night, as the stars twinkled in a night sky on an Election Eve that was less than three days after a Blue Moon Halloween, Tracy Chapman took to “Late Night with Seth Meyers” to perform “Talkin’ Bout a Revolution,” from her 1988, legendary queer, six-time platinum self-titled debut.

Ahead of her performance, Chapman released a simple statement: “This is the most important election of our lifetime. It is imperative that everyone vote to restore our democracy.”

Autostraddle Managing Editor Rachel Kincaid put it best:

The performance begins with Chapman’s famous silhouette in side profile, filtered in black-and-white. Her guitar starts strumming and everything, just for one moment, feels focused in its purpose. Then she sings, the richness of her voice just pouring into what’s been left hollow and scared:

“Don’t you know / They’re talkin’ about a revolution / It sounds like a whisper / While they’re standing in the welfare lines / Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation / Wasting time in the unemployment lines / Sitting around waiting for a promotion.” 

Tracy closes her performance out with a elegant tweak to her iconic lyrics: “Talkin’ ’bout a revolution / Go vote,” as the word “VOTE” appeared behind her small block lettering.

I dare your heart not to pound directly out of its chest! You know what you have to do.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Carmen Phillips

Carmen Phillips is Autostraddle's former editor in chief. She began at Autostraddle in 2017 as a freelance team writer and worked her way up through the company, eventually becoming the EIC from 2021-2024. A Black Puerto Rican feminist writer with a PhD in American Studies from New York University, Carmen specializes in writing about Blackness, race, queerness, politics, culture, and the many ways we find community and connection with each other.  During her time at Autostraddle, Carmen focused on pop culture, TV and film reviews, criticism, interviews, and news analysis. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. And there were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. To reach out, you can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram, or her website.

Carmen has written 716 articles for us.


  1. I saw this, this morning. I have listened to and/or sung this approximately 15 times today already. What a perfect song to lift spirits today.

  2. periodically these past 4 years, i’ve wondered where were the cover versions of this song. now it’s plain – no one dared.

Comments are closed.