When it comes to musical guests on Saturday Night Live, the first performance is the most important. If I’m actually watching the show live, sometimes I’ve fallen asleep before the second performance even rolls around. So when Megan Thee Stallion had all eyes on her during her first moment on the mic she stopped halfway through performing “Savage” to deliver a powerful interlude in support of Black lives. As the sound of gunshots rang out, and bloody bullet holes appeared in the background, we heard a speech from Malcolm X:
“The most disrespected, unprotected, neglected person in America is the Black woman.”
As the audio continued, it was punctuated by the word “SAVAGE” flashing on screen, and giving the song a new meaning. While themes of guilt-free female pleasure and independence run strong throughout her work, this is the first time I’ve seen Meg align her art with social justice so directly. At this point we’re no longer just celebrating multidimensional (classy, bougie, ratchet… sassy, moody, nasty…) Black women, we’re asking why Black women can be so amazing and get such little respect. Plus, let’s not forget Megan wrote the song about herself, but she’s now performing it after being shot, allegedly by a man who’s yet to take any responsibility for it.
The interlude didn’t stop with Malcolm X. It segued into audio from activist Tamika Mallory taking aim at the Kentucky Attorney General for his handling (or mishandling) of the Breonna Taylor case. Breonna, one of the most unprotected Black women of our time.
“Daniel Cameron is no different than the sellout negroes that sold our people into slavery.”
This gave me chills. To be honest, when the performance started I felt like it wasn’t Megan at her best, but then seeing this message unfold I felt like she was focused on nailing this, the most important part of the performance. To use the platform SNL has given her to continue to demand justice for Breonna Taylor was beautiful. I think there’s a special place in hell for Daniel Cameron, and I think nobody should take their foot off his neck because it’s the public’s job to rail against institutions if we feel they’re not working. He’s the Attorney General responsible for bringing some shred of justice for Breonna, and he’s yet to give her family anything resembling justice. It’s scary to think such an egregious act can be committed and the justice system says no crime was perpetrated. A woman is dead, and according to Daniel, nobody is responsible.
“We need to protect our Black women, love our Black women, because at the end of the day, we need our Black women,” Megan closed out her message. “We need to protect our Black men, and stand up for our Black men, because at the end of the day we’re tired of seeing hashtags of our Black men.”
Launching back into the song, she ended her performance with her fist held high in the air. After the show, SNL cast member, Chris Redd tweeted a simple but accurate review.
Megan twerked while fighting for justice and I donâ€™t know anything better than that. Goodnight.— Chris Redd (@Reddsaidit) October 4, 2020
Megan and Chris collaborated on a digital short which was one of the highlights of SNL’s season premiere, which by the way, was their highest rated premiere in four years (and second highest in twelve). It was a song called “Bottom of Your Face,” all about pandemic era dating, when you’re getting to know somebody new but you still haven’t seen behind the face mask. Megan’s verse about “swallowing his droplets” was a standout.
She also appeared in a late-in-the-show sketch about the “NBA Bubble Draft,” where “first wives, second wives, mistresses and side-pieces” were trying to get drafted into the NBA players bubble. Low-hanging fruit. I wish Megan said no to being part of this one.
For Megan’s second performance, she chose her brand new song “Don’t Stop.” She dropped the trippy video for the track on Friday, featuring an Alice in Wonderland theme — complete with that creepy Cheshire cat, this time he’s actually freakier.
Megan plays Alice, the Queen of Hearts, and her own rendition of the Cheshire Cat as she hops through scenes that look like Tim Burton sets, while Young Thug plays another Burton fave, Edward Scissorhands. But the CGI cat smacking Megan’s butt is the moment. It’s carefree and stupid and, sometimes, that’s exactly what we need.