After Much Uproar Over Lack Of Black Female Representation, Sasheer Zamata Joins 'SNL' Cast

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
January 6, 2014 4:48 PM
10 Comments
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Congratulations are in order for comedian, actress, writer Sasheer Zamata, who has been tapped by Saturday Night Live brass to join the late night show's cast, as its first black woman cast member since Maya Rudolph's exit in 2007.

This comes after last month's news that NBC held Saturday Night Live auditions, looking specifically for black women. 

The auditions are said to have taken place at The Groundlings in Los Angeles - an improvisational and sketch comedy school - and were set up exclusively for black women candidates to audition for the comedy sketch/variety show. 

This of course comes after an onslaught of criticism the show and its producer faced, over its lack of black female representation within its cast. 

This is an issue that S&A has addressed ad naseam, and not just this year. 

The conversation continued after Kerry Washington hosted the show (her first time) to season high ratings last fall - in an episode during which the show mocked the criticism it faced.

Zamata will make her debut as a featured player on SNL on January 18, which will be the first live show in the new year. 

Zamata is a University of Virginia alum who trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade.

Something tells me that her life is about to change, as her debut will probably be one of the most-watched, highest-rated episodes of SNL in its history, as many will surely tune in to see how she's used, as well as watch her perform for the first time.

By the way, she's on Twitter, if you want to follow her. Her just under 4000 followers, as of the time of this post, will likely balloon over the next 7 days.

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10 Comments

  • stp | January 7, 2014 6:03 PMReply

    I'm sure movies will follow like Kirsten Wiig. (Sorry, I'm jumping ahead of myself.)

  • Dean | January 7, 2014 4:13 PMReply

    This is the first black woman for at least 10 years. Correction: Maya Rudolph is not black. She's mixed, mulatto or biracial. The last black female cast member of SNL that I remember is Danitra Vance in the 1990s.

  • DJP | January 7, 2014 1:36 AMReply

    Get ready for Michonne skits.

  • Donella | January 6, 2014 10:39 PMReply

    SNL has had an empty space since Maya Rudolph left. I think she portrayed Michelle Obama one time back in 2008, since then, there's been a reluctance until Kerry in 2013. So many pop culture references unreferenced in the space of five years.

    Sasheer will bring some much needed "flavor" to an extremely monochromatic show. She'll have to do heavy lifting getting SNL caught up-to-date on high-profile Black women since Kenan refuses to put on a dress anymore. I don't think Jay Pharoah does either.

    Let's see--Oprah, Michelle, Rihanna, Beyonce, Kerry, etc.

    BTW, where is Debra Wilson these days? I can't believe she didn't line up movie after movie after her run on MadTV.

  • arnold_drummond | January 6, 2014 10:10 PMReply

    No pressure...

  • Tanya | January 6, 2014 9:20 PMReply

    Go girl!

  • stp | January 6, 2014 6:00 PMReply

    Stay tuned. Now Lena Dunham is next right? Find a black girl to hang with the other three girls. And I look forward to the new show 'Two broke girls and a black girl."

  • saadiyah | January 6, 2014 5:54 PMReply

    Hopefully she gets some good material. Kerry did a great job during her appearance, but she played some of the most stereotypical (unflattering) Black woman roles.

    SNL needs to now go on a quest for a Black writer!

  • saadiyah | January 6, 2014 11:27 PM

    Well I hope Sasheer will have some influence in the skits she appears in. I've watched some of her videos and they're great.

    I don't find Keenan's or Jay's skits very funny. As a matter of act, Keenan makes me cringe when I watch, which is why I rarely watch. Doesn't matter if they have Black cast members that write if they aren't very funny or they don't have any influence over what gets shown.

  • Donella | January 6, 2014 8:44 PM

    They have a Black writer now.

    Sasheer is a writer.

    Jay Pharoah and Kenan also write (usually their own sketches).

    But after Fred Armison and Seth Meyers leave Kenan will be the senior player on the show (in terms of longevity). I don't know how much Kenan can influence the direction of overall writing and which sketches are used on the air.

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