Black Panther didn’t win any awards at Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony, but it was the subject of the most woke joke of a night filled with many good jokes. Actually, it was more of a truth than a joke.
The show was hosted by both Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg, but it was Samberg who delivered the quip. He began, “If you told me as a kid, growing up in the Bay, there’d be a movie called Black Panther that starts off in Oakland, this is not what I would have imagined.”
Then the camera cut to Black Panther’s director, Ryan Coogler, as Samberg addressed him in the audience. He continued, “Ryan, were there, like, a bunch of old members of the actual Black Panther Party saying, ‘I can’t even get an audition?’ Just kidding, they were all framed and murdered for wanting justice and equality. The world is and always has been a nightmare; it just seems worse now because of our phones.”
Samberg delivered the last bit all in one breath, and then jokingly pivoted to a new subject: “What else happened this year?”
I can’t believe Andy Samberg actually called out the US government for the assassination of members of the Black Panther party whilst hosting the Golden Globes, but he did and it was incredible. pic.twitter.com/2ULcEgqEIy
— billie (@fvmero) January 7, 2019
Coogler looked wary in the shot, but unfortunately, we didn’t get to see his reaction to the end of the joke.
— Steven Le (@steven_le) January 7, 2019
A little background on the joke, courtesy of Newsweek: In December 2016, Coogler and actor Michael B. Jordan (who has appeared in all of Coogler’s feature-length films) paid tribute to Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, on the anniversary of his death. Hampton was an active and important member of the Black Panther Party who was killed at the age of 21 by Chicago police officers in his own apartment in 1969.
Speaking about Hampton, Coogler said, “I didn’t find out about him until my adulthood—he’s not someone they teach about in history books, though I wish they did—but the more I found out about him, the more I realized how much we needed him, how much we could have used him, had he lived beyond the years he was given on this Earth.”
People on Twitter loved Samberg’s joke/statement and didn’t hold back.
— BP (@PaytesBryce) January 8, 2019
“the world always has been and will be a nightmare it just seems worse now because of our phones” was a power statement
— elsa (@elsabear_) January 7, 2019
— caryl (@crylxcsta) January 8, 2019
— Key ? (@just_keyy) January 8, 2019
I missed it cause I don’t watch those types of shows. But that was high key dope af. I dig Andy Sandberg, thanks for the heads up bruh.
— LeoKing KJ (@kjbr0403) January 8, 2019
Yea fr. I didnt see it either until a few mins ago but yea man i wasnt expecting that i was thinking where is he going with this and he didnt disappoint
— MCMLXXXVII (@Jamal_287) January 8, 2019
My jaw dropped.
— Gina (@GinaInAla) January 7, 2019
More than a few people pointed out just how truthful Samberg’s statement really was.
It wasn’t a joke. If you watch Brooklyn 99, it’s one of the many ways the show (Andy’s character in particular) calls out injustice (racism, homophobia, and sexism mainly). It’s serious criticism given in a way that networks won’t cut.
— Karat (@KaraJessica4) January 7, 2019
It wasn’t meant to be taken as a joke, it was meant to call out the fact that the US government has assassinated black American leaders fighting for equality and empowering their community. Coogler was probably surprised someone said this on such a large platform.
— Felicia Cook (@Felicia_M_Cook) January 7, 2019
Fred Hampton wasn’t the only member of the Black Panthers who was targeted by the FBI and the police. According to Newsweek, the FBI routinely tapped the phones of party members and even went as far as writing fake threatening letters between the Black Panthers and local street gangs in an attempt to up the animosity in black communities.
Kudos to Samberg (or whoever wrote the joke, if it wasn’t him) for the sharp commentary.