Megan Thee Stallion did not squander the chance to deliver a politically charged message on the Saturday Night Live stage last weekend. As the musical guest of the night, Megan used her spotlight to make a powerful statement supporting Black lives and condemning violence against Black women. The performance was electrifying, forceful, and it has never felt more important.
With bloody bullet holes appearing on the set and the sound of gunshots that was played along with the speeches, the combined effect was bone-chilling.
Megan began with her hit song “Savage”, with all eyes on her, before stopping halfway as the text, in all-caps, “PROTECT BLACK WOMEN” was displayed boldly in the backdrop. Audio playback from Malcolm X and Tamika Mallory then played. Mallory’s statement was directly addressed to Daniel Cameron, the attorney general of Kentucky, and special prosecutor investigating Breonna Taylor’s death, and it directly condemned his negligence in the case. With bloody bullet holes appearing on the set and the sound of gunshots that was played along with the speeches, the combined effect was bone-chilling.
The audio continued, and the word “SAVAGE” began to flash on the screen and at once, the song shifted meanings. Themes of female empowerment, sexual freedom, and independence have always been a part of Megan’s music, but rarely before has she so expertly aligned her art with the social justice causes that matter to her.
She ended the performance with her fist raised high in the air…
By punctuating the powerful audio speeches with her uplifting lyrics that speak to the multi-dimensionality that Black women have, Megan was no longer just celebrating her identity. She was asking, “How could Black women be as incredible, talented, and beautiful as they are and yet receive such little respect in our society?” Towards the end of the song, Megan had her own statement to share.
“We need to protect our Black women, love our Black women. Because, at the end of the day, we need our Black women.” Megan went on to describe how men are included in this vision of racial justice too, describing, “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.” She ended the performance with her fist raised high in the air: an allusion to the powerful symbol of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Megan’s poignant message was only heightened by her own recent experience with gun violence, in which she alleges to have been shot by rapper Tory Lanez. The circumstances of the incident, which occurred on July 12 in Los Angeles, remain largely steeped in confusion and controversy. Meg’s account explains that Tory fired gunshots at her as she was leaving the vehicle they were traveling in, following an argument they had gotten into that night. The gunshots injured her foot, which led people to call the police to the scene. Police arrived and had the vehicle pulled over.
The saga has sparked fierce debate over the culture of violence in the United States that perpetuates the cycle of abuse and disbelief of Black women.
While Lanez was arrested that night, Megan never reported the shooting to law enforcement officers on site, later explaining this was out of fear of the potential for subsequent police brutality. She did, however, share her story later on social media, along with images of her wounded foot. Tory has yet to officially comment on the topic but, in his September 24th album, he denies having shot her. As of last Thursday, October 8, Lanez faces two felony charges in relation to the incident. The saga has sparked fierce debate over the culture of violence in the United States that perpetuates the cycle of abuse and disbelief of Black women.
While Megan went on to appear and be referenced to throughout the rest of Saturday’s SNL show, her “Savage” performance was by far the most affecting moment of the show. Maya Rudolph name-dropped Meg’s recent hit single with Cardi B, WAP, when Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris spoke of the need for a “WAP: a woman as president.” Featured cast member Bowen Yang later quoted lyrics to her song “Savage”, when playing a US TikTok representative. She then starred in the show’s parody rap video, joking about dating during the mask era in a song titled, “Let me see the bottom of your face,” before making a cameo in a bit on the “NBA Draft Bubble.” Finally, she closed the show with an upbeat performance of her latest song “Don’t Stop” with Young Thug, and the two stood side by side, masked, as the credits rolled.
Megan has stood her ground as a successful and talented entertainer, despite the relentless hate comments from Lanez’s supporters.
It’s clear that Megan’s brush with gun violence won’t be stopping her growing influence as a formidable and iconic player in the rap game today. Throughout the Tory Lanez scandal, she has shown an exceptional ability to match the serious with the entertaining. In her social media presence following the release of “W.A.P.” with Cardi B and her cover story for Variety’s August addition, Megan has stood her ground as a successful and talented entertainer, despite the relentless hate comments from Lanez’s supporters. Using the platform SNL gave her, Megan thee Stallion reinforced the continued demand for even an iota of justice for Breonna Taylor, which was moving and beautiful. When it comes down to it, Megan understands what truly matters, and she can rap about it too.