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For the past year or so, Saturday Night Live has been getting a lot of flak from the seemingly lack-luster cast, the loss of too quickly rising stars, and as of late the lack of black female cast members. Well that has all changed. Saturday Night Live was quietly interviewing a few black females of interest to fill in their gaping hole. Then as of recently, the world has learned that SNL has not only chosen their new Afro comedic cast member to the enclave, they have also just added two (actually 3) African-American female writers to the SNL script team.
Sasheer Zamata has taken the comedy world just like this week’s artic vortex on America, seemingly out of nowhere, quick, and strong. Good thing she has such a warming smile, as she will be taken into American homes on Saturday nights to liven-up us in the frigid cold. As an experienced actor, writer, comedian, and performer, we all can expect to be quite entertained with her around the SNL cast. Plus – the sister can sing!
Now it had taken me a while to catch on to SNL, as I was fighting the television bug/addiction. However, after careful consideration of my favorite comedians who were once SNL cast members such as Chris Rock, Eddie Murphy, Will Ferrell, and Steve Martin, and the ear-bashing of my brother who is a faithful fan, I started following the show. The first thing I noticed was the lack of melanin (black and brown) people. Though I loved Maya Rudolph, when I could catch it, in my conversion I only found half of Keenan and Kel, and a later add on of Jay Pharoah. As a man of deep connection with his roots, I found myself asking: “Uhm, where the black queens at?” “Are there really no black women on here?” Well, officially turned off I quickly continued my fight against television, until they had features as Kerry Washington, Kanye West, or Frank Ocean came on. Even Kevin Hart in a tiara couldn’t fill the void they obviously needed full, outside of Kenan Thompson’s out “talk.”
However, behind closed doors NBC Universal was listening and got to work. Out of several good choices of black women, Sasheer made it! Though she is not a newbie to television, stage, or media, she has been seen recently in ABC’s Primetime: ‘Would You Fall For That?’, and has been seen on ‘Totally Biased’ with W. Kamau Bell. She even holds her own very funny web series called Pursuit of Sexiness. SNL is yet another check mark on her resume in her brilliance, as she does sketch, improve, and stand-up comedy shows in New York – check out the Upright Citizen’s Brigade (UCB) Theater.
Even more exciting now, the skit parody show has picked up two dark and lovely writers. YES! Now we can finally have some good, eloquent, gut-busting black jokes on a majority white show! The interesting thing about them being brought in is that they were interviewed with the casting that brought in Zamata. Plus, SNL is wasting no time. Leslie Jones is a veteran comedian having been seen on Def Comedy Jam and 1st Amendment Stand Up – and even had her own show broadcasted on Showtime called Problem Child. Queen Jones never misses a punch with her jokes. LaKendra Jones comes in from being a newscaster as a comedian-actor, and has performed at iO West, bringing us to capture the laugh and the picture. This awesome combination of the hilarious Leslie Jones and LaKendra Tookes will cap off the “unnoticeable” lack of a good black joke that will not cross “coonery” and feminization of another black male on live television.
As a king in melanin, I am excited to see how these combinations of growth will come to show on the Saturday Night Live platform. I do not believe we should expect the same flat jokes as of late, however, I understand that change needs time to take place. I will patiently and happily watch the growth of the work of these beautiful black queens as I will get to see the beautiful natural curls of hair flowing on set. And then I will sign the petition for more black, brown, yellow, and tan casts members when Kenan gives another belching! Congratulations ladies and even bigger congratulations to SNL and NBC.
Check out some videos of these beautiful women below:
Leslie Jones on her first-ever comedy DVD “Problem Child”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hX2dRd541do
Lakendra Tookes comedy reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1T9vrTPHWQ
Sasheer Zamata appearance on Inside Amy Schumer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QIcEbr2HmKQ
Sasheer Zamata’s web series The Pursuit of Sexiness: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6pKQF7TzGCsf