However, much controversy has been surrounding the variety sketch show and the comedy’s elite for including little to no diversity in its lineup.
“Since Maya Rudolph’s departure in 2007, SNL has failed to cast even one black woman — yet still manages to traffic in dehumanizing portrayals that make race and gender the butt of the joke,” reads the letter from ColorOfChange.org Executive Director Rashad Robinson. “SNL seems committed to aggressively continuing to push images of black women as incompetent, rude, hypersexual and financially dependent. Frankly, we’re tired of this disrespect.”
Since, the show opened up casting auditions for a black female comic. And ultimately chose Zamata — receiving much praise from fans and celebrities.
Former writer and cast member Tina Fey told The Hollywood Reporter, “I think Kerry Washington did such a great job on the [Nov. 2] show [in a sketch that addressed the controversy]. And you saw how great it was for Jay Pharoah to have someone playing Michelle Obama opposite [his President Obama]. So I feel like they registered that really quickly and they’ve acted on it really quickly.”
Washington also commented via Twitter: “Congrats to #SasheerZamata @thesheertruth on joining @nbcsnl ‘Saturday Night Live’ #SNL !!!!! Have FUN
“People tend to put a race issue on everything. ‘SNL’ has existed for years. I was a person who audition for ‘SNL’. I didn’t get ‘SNL’. It had nothing to with my race at the time. I wasn’t right for the part. I’m quite sure several women of all races have been going out for ‘SNL’ and who have been turned away. What people don’t understand there’s literally one part that’s available every two seasons or season in a half, how Lorne Michaels does his system… He picks who he feels should be in that one part — rather it’s [man] or woman.”
“They’ve made this black woman thing an issue. And I don’t think it’s fair to other black women because other black women [are like], ‘yeah yeah yeah, we do need a chance.’ And now you got 3,000 black women coming out for this one opportunity for what seems to be the black woman part. Yes, it’s so much about nothing. Congratulations to her. She had an audition; she got the part. Not because she was black because she was qualified.”
Although Zamata is very much so qualified and her talent should have been the many component to her hiring, but wasn’t that the show’s intention to hire a black female comic? Many black women did turn out for auditions because the show felt it needed to do something about its lack of diversity and having black males (like Hart) play black female parts since Rudolph’s departure was becoming played out.
And would Zamata be taking on every black female role now? “SNL” shouldn’t be about filling a quota, but when “Mad TV” was on air — many cast members of color were part of the show.
Shouldn’t that be the case for “SNL” in general — to have both a diverse and talented lineup?