Megan Thee Stallion has a powerful message to share. The rapper, who was Saturday Night Live‘s musical guest for its season 46 premiere Oct. 3 hosted by Chris Rock, performed with the plea “Protect Black Women” spelled out in black and white behind her.
She kicked off her set with her hit “Savage.” But mid-song, the screen behind her went dark, gunshots rang out, and giant, bleeding bullet holes appeared. Audio clips from Malcolm X’s 1962 speech “Who Taught You to Hate Yourself?” then played: “The most disrespected, unprotected, the 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?”
It was immediately followed by audio of activist Tamika Mallory’s criticism of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, after his decision to charge one of the three officers in the death of Breonna Taylor with wanton endangerment for firing into her home: “Daniel Cameron is no different than the sellout negroes that sold our people into slavery.”
Taylor died while asleep in her bed March 13 after the Louisville police officers raided her home with a no-knock warrant. There were no other charges against law enforcement for their roles in her death.
After the audio clips played, Megan Thee Stallion had a few words of her own to share. “We need to protect our black woman and love our black women, because at the end of the day, we need our women,” she said. “We need to protect our black men and stand up by our black men, because at the end of the day, we tired of seeing hashtags about black men.”
The screen behind her then switched to red and black, and she finished out her performance.
The “Hot Girl Summer” rapper also performed her new single “Don’t Stop,” which featured a cameo from Young Thug. She was also included in two skits. One was a musical spoof about dating during a pandemic, featuring Chris Redd and Pete Davidson, who wanted to see the bottom half of their dates’ faces. Megan Thee Stallion also made a brief appearance in the skit “NBA Bubble.”