On Oct. 3, Megan Thee Stallion made her Saturday Night Live debut a memorable one by slaying one of her biggest hits and including a shoutout to the Black Lives Matter movement during her five-minute spot. Punctuated by the sound of gunshots and parts of a Malcolm X speech, Megan Thee Stallion’s SNL "Savage" performance was a powerful commentary on the violence against Black women. In addition to slamming Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron for failing to hold the Louisville police responsible for the killing of Breonna Taylor, the singer also reflected on her own shooting at the hands of Tory Lanez.
The "WAP" hitmaker made the most of her inaugural SNL appearance by making a political statement about the treatment of Black women in America, expertly interspersing parts of her hit track "Savage" with interludes of the sounds of gunshots and a 1960s speech by civil rights activist Malcolm X as well as Women’s March co-founder Tamika Mallory.
Considering the feminist and empowering message behind "Savage," it was fitting that Megan Thee Stallion chose to include Malcolm X’s assertion that, "the most disrespected person in America is the Black woman." She also included clips of Mallory’s September 2020 speech critiquing Cameron, who has been criticized for failing to charge any of the four police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor, a Black EMT who was fatally shot in her Louisville apartment by plainclothes police officers in March.
"Daniel Cameron is no different than the sellout negroes that sold our people into slavery," Mallory was heard saying as the words from her speech appeared on the screen behind Megan Thee Stallion.
The rapper, who recently received an outpouring of support after revealing that she’d been shot during an altercation with Tory Lanez, then addressed the crowd about her own experience, saying, "We have to protect our Black women and love our Black women because at the end of the day, we need our Black women."
She also included a shoutout to the Black Lives Matter movement at large, adding, "We need to protect out Black men and stand up for our Black men because at the end of the day, we tired of seeing hashtags of our Black men."
She concluded her short but powerful performance with a strong message: At the end of her set, the words "Protect Black Women" lit up the stage behind her.
Cameron, who has come under nationwide scrutiny due to his handling of Taylor’s case, tried to defend his actions while making an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight. "It is so unfortunate… because I led with the facts and the truth and had that lead to the conclusion," he said.
"It is repugnant, it is so disappointing, but it’s par for the course," he added. "Anytime someone stands for the truth, and when that truth is different from a narrative that has been pushed by others, this is how they respond."
None of the officers were charged with anything relating to the killing of Taylor. One officer, Brett Hankison, was charged with wanton endangerment for allegedly firing bullets into the neighboring apartment while there were three people inside. Amidst the public outcry, Cameron has admitted he did not recommend murder charges, saying he thought the officers "were justified in their acts and their conduct."
With the Breonna Taylor case still at the forefront of the public consciousness, along with the Black Lives Matter movement and Megan’s own public altercation, the SNL performance emphatically spoke to the cultural moment in America right now.
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