Kid Cudi’s first performance on Saturday Night Live sends a powerful message

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Pictured: "Saturday Night Live" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBCUniversal)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Pictured: "Saturday Night Live" Key Art -- (Photo by: NBCUniversal) /

Content warning:  This article contains references to depression, anxiety, addiction, and suicide.

This past weekend, rapper Kid Cudi performed for the first time on Saturday Night Live, fresh off the release of his latest album Man on the Moon III: The Chosen One.

The entire album, like much of Cudi’s career, is a meditation on his experience living with depression and anxiety. Cudi has been open and vocal about his mental health since he checked himself into rehab in 2016 for suicidal ideation.

Cudi performed two songs from the album, “Tequila Shots” and “Sad People” which reflect the rapper’s personal journey and dedication to mental health awareness. But many took notice of Cudi’s fashion choices in both performances, and the larger message they sent.

During Cudi’s first song, “Tequila Shots” he wore a fuzzy green cardigan over a Chris Farley t-shirt before wearing a white, floral spaghetti-strap sundress during “Sad People.” While Cudi has always had fun with fashion, his choices for SNL were intentional.

Both outfits honored Kurt Cobain, the legendary Nirvana musician who died by suicide 27 years (the age Cobain was when he died) ago last week. Cudi’s Chris Farley shirt also sends a message about a gone-too-soon legend who suffered from addiction.

While many ignorant reply guys on the internet–don’t read the comments–have assumed Cudi’s dress was some sort of performative gender moment (which, if that’s the case, that’s fine, too!), the rapper himself politely clarified his intentions.

Overall, Kid Cudi’s debut showing on Saturday Night Live was a showstopper. Considering the rapper’s connections to Pete Davidson and friend of the show, Timothée Chalamet (and Chris Redd!), it’s shocking he hasn’t been on Saturday Night Live before.

Thus, it’s likely Cudi will be back, next time to host, especially since he has an entirely separate career as an actor, most recently in Luca Guadagnino’s We Are Who We Are. Needless to say, the Kid’s going places.

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What did you think of Kid Cudi’s performance on Saturday Night Live? Tell us in the comments below.