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‘Get Out’s’ LilRel Howery aka ‘Rod’ is the GOAT best friend

Why Rod instantly became the greatest best friend of all time

Disclaimer: If you haven’t yet seen the psychological comedic horror thriller Get Out, stop reading here. Seriously, STOP! I’m not in the business of providing spoilers, but you can only be mad at yourself if you step past the point of no return.


My fellow Americans, we’re gathered here today to honor LilRel Howery — mostly recently known as “Rod Williams” in the 2017 blockbuster and #HELLAWOKE Get Out. As history has shown us, heroic feats of friendship like Rod’s should be immortalized in the glory and honor they deserve. It is for this reason the Homeboy-Homegirl Hall of Fame (HBHGHOF) was established.

Howery’s inclusion in the HBHGHOF follows legendary trailblazers such as (but certainly not limited to):

  • DJ Jazzy Jeff of the classic ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (Class of 1993): Not only were he and Will Smith nominated for a Grammy. Not only did he and Will Smith create the definitive summer ode in the history of music. But Jazzy Jeff gave Will Smith his hood pass when he moved to L.A. One of the most powerful symbols of best friend-dom any of us will ever see.
  • Chuckie Finster” of the classic ’90s cartoon Rugrats (Class of 1997): Chuckie might’ve been scared of every situation and thing imaginable, but Tommy Pickles never had to worry about his red-head BFF not being there and ready to squad up.
  • Tommy, Cole and Pam of the greatest of all time sitcom, Martin (Class of 1997): We wouldn’t even be talking about this show a quarter-century later if it weren’t for these lifelines that Martin and Gina constantly yanked on for support. R.I.P. Tommy.
  • Ace, Mitch and Rico of 2002’s Paid In Full (Class of 2003): An extremely controversial inclusion stemming from Rico’s decision to kill Mitch over 14 bricks. But at their peak? These guys were the original “big three.”
  • Joe Biden, Barack Obama’s vice president (Class of 2014): Self-explanatory.
  • Jemele Hill and Michael Smith of SC6 (Class of 2016): Proof you and your best friend can literally take over the world. And yes The Undefeated is a part of ESPN. And what.
  • Asahd Khaled, DJ Khaled’s son (Class of 2016 special inclusion due to Khaled’s Snapchat): His friendship is so valued he’s already got production credits on a song featuring Beyoncé and Jay Z. What your life like?

LilRel’s role as “Bobby Carmichael” on NBC’s hilarious The Carmichael Show is vastly underrated. But Get Out, with Rod’s iconic acts of friendship, quick thinking, and comedy in the face of immeasurable pressure make him an instant inductee into the HBHGHOF, a distinction we normally frown upon in this prestigious institution. There’s actually a much longer, more in-depth vetting procedure led by our beloved colleague Terri J. Vaughn aka “Lovita Alize Jenkins”of Steve Harvey Show fame, and a first ballot best friend herself.

Aside from LilRel/Rod, thoughtful assessments of Get Out have already sprouted from various corners of the internet. Recent three-time Grammy winner Chance The Rapper bought out an entire Chicago theater so hometown residents could “just pull up with ID and enjoy the movie.” Most importantly, though, it’s a film drenched in powerful, poignant and sometimes breathtakingly subtle forms of symbolism that provoke tears, laughter and anger, often in the same scene:

  1. Daniel having to pick cotton to save his own life? FAM!
  2. The man sprinting toward Chris (played by lead actor Daniel Kaluuya) mimicking the grandfather training to beat Jesse Owens!
  3. Being the only black person in a room and feeling like a test subject or farm animal.
  4. “I would’ve voted for Obama a third time” officially supplanting itself as the new “I can’t be racist … I have black friends!”
  5. The police scene at the very end of the movie — every black person’s worst fear unfolding in front of our very eyes in a theater.

But this moment is about LilRel aka Rod. We all owe this man a beer. If I ever meet him, the first two rounds are on me. Black America owes this man a lifetime supply of Hennessy, a lifetime cut pass at any black barbershop, 27 Chick-fil-A gift cards and the lifetime honor of choosing his own Spades partner at any black cookout. And the White House owes this man a Presidential Medal of Freedom (only awarded by Obama, though) for singlehandedly altering our perceptions of airport TSA agents.

We pray for friends like Rod. We pray that we can have that one friend house-sit our dog that we trust enough to one, let in our house when we’re not there, and two, not kill our pet by accident. We pray that if we’re ever kidnapped by a family who basically wants to use us as guinea pigs in a remixed iteration of the Tuskegee experiment we have a Rod in our life who is the living embodiment of “ride or die.”

I left the AMC Theater in Alexandria, Virginia, Sunday night extremely stressed out over what I’d just witnessed. But I left with a sense of pride that can only be compared with what I felt witnessing Obama’s 2008 election, what I feel knowing that Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up” still holds a special place in the black experience, the joy I feel clicking on the iconic Twitter hashtags such as #CookoutNewsNetwork or #ThanksgivingWithBlackFamilies, and what I felt more recently, when it seemed all of black America watched BET’s New Edition biopic as a family.

Rod, if you’re reading this, I love you, man. Seriously, there’s so much love in my heart for you right now I could shed one thug tear. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “Rod is my Nword” since Sunday I could sit courtside at a Golden State Warriors playoff game. Which makes this moment so powerful for the HBHGHOF. Never have I ever been more proud to bestow this trophy to someone so deserving — now a diamond-encrusted Bevel Blade because we all know how important a fresh lineup is to being a black male in this country. So, yes, LilRel aka Rod, accept this trophy with pride and bask in the honor that is being not only inducted into the Homeboy and Homegirl Hall of Fame. Your patented glasses now stand alongside Tommy’s classic laugh and Jazzy Jeff’s iconic dap with Will Smith. But you, sir, are now actually The Greatest of All-Time Best Friend. Of all time. Ever.

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Justin Tinsley is a culture and sports writer for The Undefeated. He firmly believes “Cash Money Records takin’ ova for da ’99 and da 2000” is the single-most impactful statement of his generation.