This song features the American Jazz bassist, cellist and singer, Esperanza Spalding, who was the first-ever Jazz performer to win the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
According to the album's liner notes, the song is inspired by the sequence in the 1954 movie Carmen Jones when a jeep containing Carmen (played by Dorothy Dandridge) and Joe (played by Harry Belafonte) ends up in a river.
Dorothy Dandridge (1922 – 1965) was an American actress and singer. Her role as Carmen in Carmen Jones earned her a Best Actress Academy Award nomination – the first ever for an African-American.
Monáe explained to Arsenio Hall this tribute to the African actress: "Not only was Dorothy beautiful, but she was an activist," she said. "She really did open up doors for women of color."
Who writes a song about a name they found in a phone book? That's just one of the everyday things these guys find to sing about. Anything in their field of vision or general scope of knowledge is fair game. If you cross paths with them, so are you.