D'Angelo has been mostly quiet for nearly a decade, but he made a bold political statement in his return to the limelight on "Saturday Night Live."
The enigmatic R&B singer and his band The Vanguard wore shirts with the words "Black Lives Matter" and "I Can't Breathe" during Saturday night's performance of "The Charade," their first public performance in support of the the new album "Black Messiah."
The phrases have become a rallying cry for protesters who gathered across the U.S. and the world to protest the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two unarmed black men killed by police last year.
At the end of the performance, the group raised their right hands balled into fists, a reference to the "black power" salute that gained notoriety during the 1960s civil rights movement.
An image of a chalk outline of a body was projected on the floor of the stage. The first lines of the politically charged song's chorus is "All we wanted was a chance to talk / Instead we've only got outlined in chalk."
"Black Messiah," released Dec. 2014, is D'Angelo's first album since "Voodoo" topped the U.S. charts in 2000. The band also performed the single "Really Love" on "SNL."