"Saturday Night Live" plans to add one or two black female performers to its cast as soon as January.I sorta hope they hire two black women. Mostly because two would be awesome. Also, because if there's only one, that sista is gonna have to be the Jackie Robinson of sketch comedy to overcome the scrutiny of being labelled an "Affirmative Action Hire". Funny how the critics alleged that SNL couldn't find any funny black women because there simply weren't any, then the show easily found a few dozen to audition. Whatever.
A representative for the NBC sketch-comedy show on Thursday confirmed reports it's answering complaints about its lack of diversity by staging showcases to choose at least one black female cast member and to hire her within weeks.
In recent weeks, the show has seen two dozen candidates in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.
The New York Times reported that a special audition for seven or eight finalists will be held Monday on the "SNL" stage in Manhattan. It's "100 percent good for the show to have an African-American woman" in its ranks, executive producer Lorne Michaels told the Times.
Criticism for the show's lack of diversity was spurred this fall by its only black cast members, Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson. Thompson voiced weariness at being obliged to play black female characters in drag. Pharoah lobbied for the addition of a specific comic, Darmirra Brunson, of the OWN sitcom "Love Thy Neighbor."
"SNL" has had just four black women in its regular troupe since premiering in 1975, with the last one, biracial Maya Rudolph, leaving in 2007.
Days later, the show poked fun at itself for having no black women among its 16 regular cast members, with Kerry Washington, the star of "Scandal," as guest host.
At the top of the show, an "SNL" producer apologized for the number of black female characters Washington would need to play that night.
This being America and all, I hope this will end well but predict it won't. While SNL is pretty good about quickly identifying and elevating their preferred "stars" (Cecily Strong and Taran Killam are clearly being groomed from this current cast), it's also very blatant and downright cruel about burying those whom it deems replaceable (see Jerry Minor and Dean Edwards for notable black male examples).
Whatever. I'm just glad the show can now acknowledge the existence of a black FLOTUS. Sure, it's only about 5 years late, but hey...
Question: Do you even watch SNL? If so, what do you think about the show's lack of diversity? Will this black woman have a hard time from the jump?