The One Story: HBCUs And The Gatekeeping Of Black Culture
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Saturday Night Live‘ responded to intense criticism over its lack of Black, female actresses in the way that only ‘SNL’ can — with a joke.

Hosted by Kerry Washington, the cold opening begins with Washington portraying First Lady Michelle Obama speaking with her husband President Barack Obama, portrayed by Jay Pharoah.

It is moments before the White House state dinner, and a cast member portraying White House Press Secretary Jay Carney enters the room and tells “Michelle” that Oprah Winfrey has arrived, so she better go change clothes.

“Michelle” looks confused, then she realizes that “Carney” is telling Washington that she has to change into her Oprah costume.

She then asks, “Oh, because of the whole… and Kenan won’t do it?”

After she exits the room, words scroll across the screen apologizing to Washington for the number of Black women she will have to play during her hosting gig because they don’t have any Black, female cast members.

Once she returns as “Oprah,” she has to quickly leave because “Beyonce” has arrived. And, of course, Mrs. Knowles-Carter will be played by Washington.

‘SNL’ then acknowledge their over-abundance of White, male cast members with “Carney” saying that the state dinner will feature six Matthew McConaugheys. Six White, male cast members then enter the room.

MSNBC’S PoliticsNation host and The Rejected Stone author, Rev. Al Sharpton then appears and says that “nothing” has been learned from the previous skit, before closing with the classic, “Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”

In a recent interview with The Grio, Pharoah said that ‘SNL’ needs to follow through on their pledge to hire Black actresses and revealed his choice.

“They need to pay attention,” Pharoah said. “Her name is Darmirra Brunson…Why do I think she should be on the show? Because she’s black first of all, and she’s really talented. She’s amazing. She needs to be on SNL. I said it. And I believe they need to follow up with it like they said they were going to do last year.”

As previously reported by NewsOne, 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 who audition not being “ready” enough.

Read more here: Kenan Thompson: Black Comediennes Not ‘Ready’ For SNL