This past weekend Saturday Night Live poked fun at the controversy around the paucity of Black women cast members over the years, with an opening bit featuring actress Kerry Washington. In it, she was called upon to play Michelle Obama, Oprah, and Beyoncé, in rapid succession, because she was the only Black female performer available.
As previously reported, SNL cast member Kenan Thompson, who has played everyone from Jennifer Hudson to Maya Angelou on ‘SNL,’ said that he will no longer play Black, female characters, even though he blamed the show’s lack of diversity on Black comediennes, themselves.
This morning on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Roland Martin talked with Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of Color of Change, about the online activism group’s demand that SNL’s founding producer, Lorne Michaels, meet with them by Nov. 6 to tell them how the show will remedy the situation.
“When Kenan Thompson went out in the media and said that Black women simply weren’t really ready for that show, that’s when we started to look at this matter,” said Robinson. “In 39 years of SNL, only 3 Black women have been part of the cast, but the show consistently covers and highlights the images of Black women.”
Continued Robinson: “We want to get some definitive answers, in terms of what they plan to do next to ensure that this does not simply continue to be a laughing matter, but something that they solve.”
Listen to the full exchange in the clip below for what he and Martin had to say about Rev. Al Sharpton’s participation in the skit, and how the representation of Black people behind the scenes in entertainment is affecting what we see on the screen.
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