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Daniel Kaluuya highlights racism in Boston during ‘SNL’ debut

First-time host Daniel Kaluuya on "Saturday Night Live."NBC

Oscar-nominated actor Daniel Kaluuya hosted “Saturday Night Live” for the first time this weekend. And during his opening monologue, he highlighted some of the differences between British and American racism — including making a reference to Boston.

“First, I know you’re hearing my accent and thinking, ‘Oh no, he’s not Black. He’s British.’ Let me reassure you that I am Black,” the “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “Get Out” star began. “I’m Black, and I’m British.”

Referencing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey — during which Meghan revealed that there were “concerns and conversations” within the palace about how dark the skin of the couple’s son, Archie, might be — Kaluuya added, “Basically, I’m what the royal family was worried the baby would look like.”


Kaluuya, who recently picked up a Golden Globe award for playing Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, said people ask him what’s worse: “British racism or American racism?”

“Let me put it this way. British racism is so bad white people left. They wanted to be free — free to create their own kind of racism,” he said. “That’s why they invented Australia, South Africa, and Boston.”

Boston has acquired the reputation of being a racist city over the years — with comedians including Michael Che making jokes about its image, former Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh declaring racism a public health crisis in the city last year, and the Red Sox acknowledging that racism at Fenway Park “is real.”

The Boston Globe Spotlight Team confronted the issue in a seven-part series in 2017, which examined racism and discrimination in the city.

Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.