February 28, 2014
Image 19 The BluePrint. (None) 2013-????, February 28, 2014, Image 19
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Newspaper Page Text
SNLs Diversity Issue “Solved”
With Single Hire?
By. Sarah Brokenborough C’2016
NBC’s Saturday Night Live
(SNL) has been on-air for almost
40 years. However, up until the
recent hire of Sasheer Zamata,
there have only been 15 cast
members of African descent. Of
those 15 only four have been black
women: Yvonne Hudson (1980-
SI), Danitra Vance (1985-86), Ellen
Cleghorne (1991-95), and Maya
Even though Kenan Thompson,
the longest black show member to
date, stated that he will no longer
dress as women on the show in
protest of the show’s lack of black
female cast members, he blamed
SNL’s lack of diversity on the lack
of quality black female comedians.
Since 2007 when the show lost
Maya Rudolph, whose versatility,
talent, and melanin were used to
portray her as white, Asian, Latina,
and Black all with a change of a
wig, SNL has gone seven years
without a single black female
comedienne on the show.
SNL relies on what they believe
to be is a tried and true method of
finding new black cast members.
They find a reliable, relatively
young, and unknown actor or
actress in the New York Area
whose credentials can be backed
up by some member of the already
established cast. Then they make
sure he or she can do a myriad of
impersonations, an essential skill
because he or she will be relied on
to impersonate any and all types of
black people, without objection.
Zamata is a veteran of The
Upright Citizen’s Brigade in New
York City, which has long been
recognized as a feeder of sorts
for the show. Instead of looking
elsewhere for black actors and
actresses, possibly Atlanta, the
mecca of black entertainment, or
Hollywood, they have chosen to
stay in their comfort zone and hope
for talent women of color to come
“I think it’s great that there’s a
new black actress on SNL,” said
Karys Belger, Sophomore English
major at Spelman College. “But I
think it’s sad that discrimination is
so prevalent that we feel the need
to celebrate these small victories.”
Zamata debuted on January
18th of this year with Drake as the
host and musical guest. Although
her first skit had her act as Drake’s
auntie she seemed to be treated
more as a prop than a character.
However, to be fair it is common for
new cast members to have non
speaking parts and little airtime.
Besides Zamata’s role as
Rihanna, all her characters were
race neutral during her debut show.
Hopefully she will continue to play
memorable characters besides
the expected black celebrity
Zamata’s hire is an important
step towards the visible
representation of people of color in
the media. We all want her range
to shine through instead of being
typecast and performing as the
By: Paris Clark C2015
It excites me...
I cant wait to listen
It lulls me into a calm trance
That hypnotizes me into a world wind of peace
That sound is the background to my dream.
I dance to the up beat
I sway to the low beat
And I walk towards you when I hear...
A slight pause...
In my ear...
And then I wake up!
You’re still sleeping
I love to listen to your heart
SpelmanPaper@gmail.com Feb/March 2014