Before the night's musical guest, blues-rock musician Gary Clark Jr., took the stage, the Black Monday star stood in the audience to introduce him wearing a simple black shirt with white letters that read “Protect Trans Kids.” Later, towards the end of the show, Cheadle wore a Soviet Union hockey jersey. Pretty meh. That is, until the actor turned around and revealed to viewers that the name “Trump” was affixed across the top with the number 45 below. At that point, no mental gymnastics were needed to decipher who Cheadle was throwing shade at.
Both shirts were so subtle, yet so powerful.
A quick sweep of Cheadle’s Twitter account and you’ll see that he’s very outspoken and constantly plugged in to what’s happening around the world. But, if I’m being totally honest, so are a lot of celebrities. What separates Cheadle from most, though, is that he brought the conversation to a large platform like SNL and seamlessly weaved the messaging in between jokes and sketches. That takes skill.
Cheadle thanked the show on Twitter Sunday afternoon for "the opportunity to play and pay respect and throw shade in an historic space in an historic time."
♥️✌?✊? to each and every one of you beautiful tweeps. i awoke to so much support and love!! thank you @nbcsnl for the opportunity to play and pay respect and throw shade in an historic space in an historic time. keep fighting, y'all. evil grows in the dark. ?— Don Cheadle (@DonCheadle) February 17, 2019
Twitter responded well to Cheadle’s fashion choices for the episode, particularly when it came to the “Protect Trans Kids” shirt. Actress Laverne Cox was one of many who gave praise.
“Ditto! Thank you @DonCheadle. You rock!” she wrote. We have to agree.