One of the everlasting values of Saturday Night Live is that it recreates a dynamic that really only exists one other place in popular culture—the NBA All-Star Game. Although the intensity level of that game is notoriously inconsistent, what remains static is how easy it is to discern comfort. In this group of the 24 best basketball players on Earth, who looks like they belong, and who looks starstruck and/or shellshocked? Hosting SNL, with the brightlightedness of that gig, requires a similar ease—or, at least, a convincing performance of it. And while the skits when Daniel Kaluuya hosted last month weren’t the greatest, his opening monologue was one of the best I’ve seen for a first time host. He’s starred in movies before. But this was the first time I thought yeah, he’s a movie star.
He is also, now, an Oscar-winning actor. But my favorite thing to see him in—more than Judas And The Black Messiah, Widows, Sicario, or even Get Out—has been his recurring role in Young Black Brit Living The Dream With His Homies.
It’s physically impossible to watch this and not grin and not be giddy as fuck to see how giddy they are. That they’re famous too—that’s Santan Dave, Michael Maris, and Snowfall’s Damson Idris there with him—matters specifically because it doesn’t. They are who they are, but in this moment they could be any one of us. It reminds me of one of those infinite nights in New Castle, Pa. with my cousins and BBQs in the Burgh with my transplanted homies and any other time and place we inject the community in a community by just bringing and being ourselves. It’s an organic intentionality to construct comfort in unfamiliar and unfriendly places. If I gotta leave the hood, well, the hood’s coming with me. Fuck them other niggas cause I’m down for my niggas.
It’s also impossible to watch this—and also this video of the same extended crew kicking in it LA—and not feel an urge to celebrate something, anything, just to have a moment like that with your homies, especially considering how homie-moment-deficient we’ve collectively been for a year.
Me: I just wanted to invite y’all over to celebrate these bomb-ass pancakes I made!
Homie #1: Damn fam! You got that batter fluffy then a motherfucker!
Homie #2: These gluten-free too?
Me: You know it!
Everyone, in unison: DAMN!!!!
It’s been a year. A month. A week. And sometimes it helps to be reminded why we want to be here.