Sterling K. Brown returned to Wakanda in his Saturday Night Live debut on Saturday to show Black Panther fans a scene that were edited from the blockbuster. His performance on SNL is another milestone in 2018 for one of our favorite Black actors.
Brown portrays T’Challa’s great-great-grandfather on the ancestral plane where SNL’s Chris Redd (who plays T’Challa in the skit) has gone for inspiration and wisdom from the spirits of his deceased elders. Among the distinguished members of his royal bloodline, T’Challa encounters his weird uncle by marriage, played by Kenan Thompson, who is barbecuing lion burgers on a backyard grill.
Brown manages—barely—to keep a straight face when Thompson’s character feeds him frozen lion burgers. But he kept his composure and delivered a solid performance.
For Brown, 2018 has been an amazing year—full of well-earned recognition for his work. He made history at the Golden Globes in January as the first African-American man to win in the category of best actor in a TV drama for his role in This Is Us.
He thanked the show’s creator for writing a role specifically for a Black man, which could only be portrayed by an African American. “And so, what I appreciate so much about this thing is that I am being seen for who I am and being appreciated for who I am,” Brown said in his acceptance speech. “And that makes it that much more difficult to dismiss me or dismiss anybody who looks like me.”
The accolades didn’t stop there. He followed that win with another trophy at the 2018 SAG Awards for outstanding performance by a male actor in a drama series, for This is Us. Weeks later, he appeared in the blockbuster Black Panther, which crossed the $1 billion global box office mark just three weeks after opening.