Black History Month is here and believe it or not, the BHM kick-off party happened on Saturday Night Live. Not only were there tons of jokes about racial appropriation (that scathing Iggy Azalea joke, the digital short about the “true” biopic about Jay-Z starring Mike O’Brien, aka a white dude on SNL, and other white dudes, including the host J.K. Simmons, as Kanye and Nas), but there was also D’ANGELO. And boy did he not disappoint.

His and the Vanguard’s two performances of songs from their new album Black Messiah were great in general, but as much as I love “Really Love,” D’Angelo really made the SNL audience think with “The Charade.”

To pull from a former SNL character Stefon, D’Angelo and the Vanguard’s performance of “The Charade” had everything. “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts, Black Power fists and meaningful lyrics about the defamation and meaningless critique of black lives in the media (including the news media). It also had one poignant element of set design; a white tape outline of a body that could either be in a death sprawl or with his fist up in defiance.

It’s a litmus test of sorts—is the person the outline belongs to dying defenseless and without power, or are they dying because they decided to claim their power and was considered a threat because of it? Which leads to the bigger question of how are you, the viewer, going to decide how you live your life? Some believe you die how you live, and we’re all going to die someday, so you better choose the method you want to be remembered for now.

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To make a long story short, if you didn’t see it, make sure to catch up on it right below this paragraph. It was a great performance. Bravo, D’Angelo and The Vanguard, for starting this month off on the right foot.

What did you think about this performance? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

Screencap: @jose3030/Twitter

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