Will Heath, NBC
Megan Thee Stallion made a powerful and always timely statement during her performance on the 46th season premiere of Saturday Night Live over the weekend. During her first song of the night, "Savage," one message was immediately front and center with the backdrop of her set displaying the words, "PROTECT BLACK WOMEN."
About halfway through the viral hit song, the lights went down, Megan and the backup dancers stood still, and the music cut to the sound of rapid gunfire while the backdrop screen filled with images of gunshots. A recording of Malcolm X from a 1962 speech then played, in which he says, "The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected, neglected person in America is the Black woman. Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair, the color of your skin, the shape of your nose? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet?"
The audio then transitioned to a more recent statement on racial injustice in America, featuring a viral soundbite from activist Tamika Mallory who spoke at a rally two weeks ago following the ruling on Breonna Taylor's case. Six months after Breonna Taylor was killed in her home by police, Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron, who is a Black man, announced that no significant charges would be brought against any of the officers responsible for her death. Mallory had sharp criticism for Cameron, including this line that played during Megan's performance, "Daniel Cameron is no different than the sell-out negroes who sold our people into slavery."
Megan followed the recordings with statements of her own, supporting the sentiments shared in Malcolm X's and Mallory's words.
"We need to protect our Black women and love our Black women, 'cause at the end of the day, we need our Black women, " Megan said.
"We need to protect our Black men and stand up for our Black men, 'cause at the end of the day, we tired of seeing hashtags of our Black men," she said.
Megan's performance comes just months after she shared that she was the victim of gun violence. While details of the shooting were vague at first, Megan spoke out to say rapper Tory Lanez shot her in the feet. Following the news, inappropriate jokes and memes about the incident spread online, and Megan called out the insensitive responses as another instance of Black women being unprotected.
Black women are so unprotected & we hold so many things in to protect the feelings of others w/o considering our own. It might be funny to y’all on the internet and just another messy topic for you to talk about but this is my real life and I’m real life hurt and traumatized.— HOT GIRL MEG (@theestallion) July 17, 2020
"Black women are so unprotected & we hold so many things in to protect the feelings of others w/o considering our own," she wrote. "It might be funny to y’all on the internet and just another messy topic for you to talk about but this is my real life and I’m real life hurt and traumatized."