The red carpet for the 93rd Academy Awards was a little sparse due to COVID-19. But the stars were out.
The good brother Daniel Kaluuya pulled up in the triple black Bottega Veneta double-breasted suit, seemingly paying homage to Black folks everywhere.
Angela Bassett looked as young as a 30 year old. H.E.R. hit the stage dipped in glitter and gold with her background dancers in all black. Viola Davis in her all white Alexander McQueen floor length gown. And Regina King, although she almost hit the floor from tripping over her dress in her opening remarks of the Oscars, looked stunning as ever in her light blue Louis Vuitton. But enough already with the fashion, we all came here for these awards.
While we hunkered down in our homes binging on Netflix, one movie captured the eyes of a nation: Judas and The Black Messiah.
You missed out if you haven’t seen it. You missed a chance to witness 126 minutes of revolutionary love. The type of love that compels you to reach into the depths of your soul and grab hold of the parts that connect you to the movement. Whatever soul searching Kaluuya had to do for this Golden Globe-winning role as Chairman Fred Hampton, the brother did it.
Kaluuya, a Black British Actor with an undeniable British accent, pulled off this American role and iconic truth. That may be surprising to some. Not me.
But I understand anyone who questions how a brother from England could comprehend American racism, or masterfully play the role of Chairman Fred Hampton for that matter.
Racism and Black people’s desire to be liberated from the boot (or knee) of whiteness that has been on our necks for centuries is not just an American issue. It’s a British issue, too. The brother even joked about it in his monologue on Saturday Night Live earlier this month. “British Racism is so bad, white people left.”
Black people deal with racism everywhere. Like, everywhere.
But tonight was not about racism here or there. It was about storytelling at its finest. The fourth winner of the night, Kaluuya took home his first OSCAR for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his timely and powerful role as Hampton in Judas and The Black Messiah.
The brother deserved the award. When it was announced, tears rolled like somebody was cutting onions.
“Thank you, God. Thank you, God,” he said as he took the stage. “Thank you, mum.”
In the endearing moment, Kaluuya shared that his mother gave him the “factory settings,” alluding to the traits of goodness his mother passed down to him. He spoke about what the story of Chairman Hampton meant to him, how it taught him how to love himself. Kaluuya went on to mention to those in attendance and viewers watching around the world that it [fighting against racism and hatred] is not a “one man’s job. It’s on all of us.”
I couldn’t agree more.
In his presser tonight at the 2021 Oscars, Kaluuya told Black With No Chaser that “I think it’s going to be more people are going to watch Chairman [Fred] Hampton’s story, man. That’s what it’s about. It’s about telling the truth and getting it out there. And making sure people see who this man [Chairman Fred Hampton] was and what this man did and what this man continues to give.”
Heartfelt words spoken by Kaluuya that really hit on the premise of continuing the legacy of revolutionary love is something that we can never let die.
Cirilo Manego is the Chief Innovation Officer and co-host of the Black With No Chaser’s hit show The Black Lunch. In his spare time, he’s probably golfing. If not golfing, cooking. If not cooking, traveling. If not traveling, spending time with his partner. All of which can be happening at the same time. Follow him across all social media @cirilomanego3.