last night on late night

Riz Ahmed Delivered a Sobering Spoken-Word Performance on The Tonight Show in Response to Charlottesville

Last night, Jimmy Fallon publicly shamed Donald Trump in his opening monologue for Trump’s initial non-response to the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend that left one woman dead. But after acknowledging the Tonight Show’s general political indifference, he handed the mic over to someone with a better track record of being vocal about his views: Riz Ahmed. The actor, rapper, and activist took center stage at Fallon’s request to perform an a cappella version of a spoken-word piece called “Sour Times,” which Ahmed says he wrote ten years ago “hoping it would become irrelevant,” only to experience the opposite. He described performing the piece now, with the room completely dark, as his “attempt to work out where all this extremism is coming from” — in it, he traces the long, mired history of terrorism and its changing face. “I’m losing my religion to tomorrow’s headlines, but it’s fine,” the bitter rap poignantly ends.

Riz Ahmed Does Spoken-Word Performance on Charlottesville