Taraji P. Henson finally graced the famed stage of Saturday Night Live on April 11. Or, as she called it, the moment that: “proves after 20 years in show business, white people finally know who I am!”
Henson is always a delight to watch. And she does have a great, dry comedic effect when exercising her funny bone. Despite some misses from her SNL episode, some of the skits were major and we’ve selected the top 3!
We didn’t get to see the best of Henson’s comedic chops until later in the episode, such as the second hip-hop flavored parody of the night “South Centros”, a play off HBO’s Game of Thrones. (The first was a cameo packed sequel called Home 2 that had impersonations ranging from Kendrick Lamar to Nicki Minaj).
The moment that viewers were waiting for, however, was a reference to her career-defining role as “Cookie” on Empire. It happened when her character was placed into a series cross-over with the children’s show Sesame Street. Henson, as Cookie, continued her sly ways and chatted it up with Bert, Ernie and Big Bird. And yes, Cookie finally got to meet the Cookie Monster.
That was too cute. We want more!
And here’s the “South Centros” skit we mentioned earlier below:
The most provocative skit of the night actually edged on the intellectual side when, out of the blue, there was a parody of the 1992 film A League of Their Own, a biopic (about the real-life 1940s All-American Girls Professional Baseball League) that originally starred Madonna, Tom Hanks and Geena Davis.
The White female cast members (plus one male) portrayed the female baseball players. After a quick rallying cry of “Girls can play baseball,” Henson’s character asked if she could play too. The other women reacted a little stunned and unsure of what to do. One character commented that they were already pushing the envelope in trying to play ball as girls and that including a Black woman would be too much. Then most infamous line of the night came from another comedienne who said, “While our husbands are away, we are the racists.” Oh!
The skit definitely touched on the issue of intersectionality in feminism, which many scholarly Black women have made into a larger discussion. As much media attention as it has received, with celebrities like Beyonce endorsing it and an uptick in the number of female politicians, ultimately, feminism still feels more exclusive to the needs/voices of White women than the betterment of all women. It was an interesting move for SNL and they played it in a smart and new way.
So, while her episode was not entirely a grand slam (we’ll pass on that Home Shopping Network one), Henson’s best skits were memorable. And we’re always down to see a Black woman host the iconic comedy show.
We can’t wait to see who’s next.