Megan Thee Stallion provokes on new season of “Saturday Night Live”

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Season 46 of “Saturday Night Live” opened with a bang of sorts, depending on viewers opinion of the show and their tropes of the last 10 or so years. What was not the same old, same old was musical guest, Megan Thee Stallion. The show was hosted by veteran comedian, Chris Rock.

Megan Jovon Ruth Pete, better known as Megan Thee Stallion, is part of a new brand of female performer who flaunt their feminine traits in equal measure as their swagger. Megan, another talent from Houston, Texas, has released three recordings since 2017: “Make It Hot,” “Tina Snow,” and “Suga.”

In addition, Megan has teamed up with other performers. One stellar performance moment is when she can be heard on Yo Gotti’s single, “Pose.”

Sending a Message: Megan Thee Stallion

Even if the audience at “SNL” had not heard all of Megan’s discography, they, and millions watching, saw her message loud and clear.

Megan’s graphic black-and-white set, almost dizzying in its presentation, featured backing dancers wearing similarly designed outfits. At times, the dancers almost blended in with the background – – an effect that might have been intentional. Then, suddenly the emphasis was on the background itself. Instead of just being a jagged jumble of black and white, a message began to emerge. “Protect black women” it read. Megan paused her verses to decry that “black women are the most disrespected group on the planet.”

Of course, online there are critics and supporters of the message. Some have gone so far as to accuse black performers for “using” black socio-political issues to advance their careers. Certainly it happens. But if the purpose is “only” to sell music, the potential for backlash seems not worth the risk.

The moment that Megan Thee Stallion created was a shocking one, but one needed for the world that citizens of the 21st century find themselves in.

It should be noted that the show’s first new season in front of a live audience allowed for frontline workers in the fight against COVID-19 to have front row seats.

In a humorous turn, Megan Thee Stallion performed an “SNL” single about the inability to see the lower half of a potential romantic partner’s face because of the wearing of masks. The result was both funny and timely.

The next installment of “SNL” is coming up tomorrow. Even if viewers do not agree with all the jokes or musical guests, they might still have to admit that the show is an effective barometer for what is happening in contemporary times.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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