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Kevin Hart: Race Not A Factor In 'Saturday Night Live' Uproar & Casting

by Natasha Greeves
January 7, 2014 5:56 PM
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I thought I'd share this very interesting reaction by Kevin Hart to Saturday Night Live's "lack of a black woman cast member" problem, as we've come to summarily label it.

SNL did eventually cast a black actress/comedian/writer (Sasheer Zamata, announced yesterday HERE), by the way.

Hart's reaction to the casting, and fuss that preceded, and we could argue, inspired it, came during a CNN interview today, while doing press for his upcoming dramedy, Ride Along (which he co-stars in with Ice Cube, who joined him in the interview).

In short, he believes race wasn't at all a factor in Sasheer's casting, nor should it have been, as he suggests, used as an argument for adding a black woman to the variety show's cast. He added that all the uproar that led up to her casting, was really "much ado about nothing."

He ended saying that she was cast, not because she's a black woman, but because she's "qualified." 

I don't think anyone would argue against the fact that she was cast because she's "qualified," to use his words. But we can't dismiss race from the conversation (before and after her casting) entirely. The fact that NBC and SNL producers held a casting session specifically for black women, suggests that race does or did matter, whether we want it to or not, especially in this case.

The show was criticized for its lack and need of a black woman cast member (a fact so glaringly and painfully obvious to many), and, likely in response to that onslaught of accusations (at least partly), producers of the show reacted, held an audition only for black actresses/comedians, and eventually cast whom they felt was the best fit.

The headline for every single article I've read about Sasheer's casting are some variation of "'SNL' Hires First Black Female Cast Member in Years." So how could we ignore the racial aspect of the entire thing, starting from what led SNL to eventually do something?

I suppose, pondering a bit more about what Hart says in the interview, maybe his argument is that her race shouldn't trump her talent and abilities as an actress, a comedian and a writer, maybe in an attempt to quell any suggestions of that Affirmative Action fear that some white people have: that her race was the main reason why she was hired for the job, so that they could fill a quota, and her talent was secondary. 

But wasn't that the point of the whole thing?

Or maybe he's just trying to be contrarian as he promotes his new movie.

What am I missing?

Watch and discuss:

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  • chris | March 2, 2014 9:40 AMReply

    Why does SNL have to have a black female cat member? When did this become a requirement? I am sick of people complaining about pointless crap. No show needs anything in regards to race. What are Asian women or Indian men? There is certainly a shortage of Icelandic women on the show. What the hell are we talking about? Is a show that hasn't been funny or relevant for years. Also, Kevin Hart is a run of the mill comedian, actually he is below average. Users tired unoriginal joints work decent delivery. Super overrated. Get over yourselves.

  • judiko | January 9, 2014 11:23 PMReply

    Kevin is funny but not brilliant like Chris Rock or even Eddie Murphy. So maybe we shouldn't expect brilliance from him. The real question is why would snl still be on TV when "in living color" and even "mad tv" were better shows? Snl with the exception of Adam Sandberg has sucked for years. Kev doesn't know what he's talking about. None of the current white women or men for that matter on snl are funny. Black guys aren't that funny either.

  • Donella | January 10, 2014 12:05 PM

    He's certainly no Dave Chappelle either. I also suspect his out-of-nowhere "success."

  • Priv Aders | January 8, 2014 7:43 PMReply

    Kevin Hart is not funny. He's a very a-n-n-o-y-i-n-g storyteller that ONLY exists because Dave Chappelle is blacklisted. Also, SNL primarily opened a job vacancy for a "black female" - after being called out! Therefore, SNL created this race issue, as a result. Furthermore, for many years, no matter what SNL may have attempted, they have not KEPT a black female cast member. Therefore, to conclude, in all these years, that not one black female comedian was qualified is yabsolute bullshit. Perhaps, since SNL never bothered with this "employment" issue - until recently called out - which implies that they could not find a black female comedian willing to "act" like a coon. Thus, the ones that are willing to step to their plate may misrepresent their gender and race~ Anyway, SNL is wack now-a-days!

  • Paul Piro | April 2, 2014 11:04 PM

    You're just a racist, angry, probably unemployed black man. We have a lot of you here in Houston, Texas and I am honestly sick of it. Maybe they haven't kept a black female cast member because black women have serious entitlement issues when they get a single iota of fame. You can give one favorable comment to a black woman and all of the sudden, they are the Queen of Sheba. Unfortunately, in my experience, black women are only good for spitting out more "coon babies" as you put it. They are inferior in every way to my white wife. Be it mental, emotional or physical well-being, I would put my wife up against any of these talentless hacks you call "comedians". Up to the challenge? Email me at ppiro_at_mhinc_dot_com and we can setup a date and time to throw down, you racist PoS. Now excuse me while I throw away some perfectly good watermelon, grape soda, chicken wings and collared greens. Cry more?

  • Troy | January 8, 2014 4:45 PMReply

    Any black male comedian with professional success and recent sold out tours any of you readers like? I never read anything positive about black male comedians on this site. This site is becoming mediatakeout full of click bait and race wars.

  • Daryl | January 8, 2014 7:21 PM

    Nobody is talking about this sambo because of his sucees, we talking about him and these other rich black folks in hollywood who continue to play ball to keep that racist institution in effect. To say race is not involved in the SNL thing is crazy or like I said to let white hollywood know I'm not going to be that black person who is going to be a problem and call you out on your bs.

  • | January 8, 2014 3:53 PMReply

    ima need Kevin Hart to go sit his corny ass down

  • Daryl | January 8, 2014 1:34 PMReply

    Spoken like a true sambo. I keep saying these rich black folks in hollywood do not care about the black community, they only care about themselves but we continue to suport their self-hating selves. He said this to assure white hollywood that I'm not going to be a black guy that's going to be a problem for white hollywood. Why you think this sambo has gotten famous all of a sudden because he is the safe coon that white people love that's going to play ball.

  • Paul Piro | April 2, 2014 11:13 PM

    What is wrong with the darkies wanting to return to our side, where they belong? It's only natural for a lower species to want to return to the guidance and protection of their previous masters when they find that they cannot obtain chicken wings on their own. We were fair to them, we let them go out into the world and try to make their own way. The only thing they have accomplished is turning the downtown district of every major city into a miniature version of a starving, disease infested, murdering African village. Give it another decade and there will be little coon kids sitting around with swollen starvation bellies and flys sitting on their eyelids. It's their natural state of existing to be subservient to the white man. It's not even about white people...any race with the semblance of intelligence and a plot of land that needs to be harvested can use these buckets of flesh and muscle. Sure it's hard to train them to stop shitting in their drinking water, but in the end, who wants to pick their own cotton? LOL! I see them here in the Galleria area in Houston, Tx all the time...just sitting on a curb somewhere drinking some malt liquor waiting for a white women to walk by that they can rape. That's all they do! Just looking for a white women to curse with a little rape inflicted tar baby.

  • Walter Harris Gavin | January 8, 2014 12:36 PMReply

    My question: Is Hart "qualified" to even comment cogently on the subject? I don't think he's funny at all. And in a world where there are indeed "black" women why wouldn't a comedy show troupe that wants to be hip, relevant, and cutting edge not have an African American female as an integral part of the cast? Or should they stay away from references to "black" females as subjects altogether or indeed go back to having "white" actors "blacken-up," burnt cork and all?

  • urbanauteur | January 8, 2014 11:52 AMReply

    This is the coming of the ahistorical, apolitical court jesters of 2014.

  • beemooree | January 8, 2014 3:11 AMReply

    Hmmm this reminds me of what Zoe told essence or ebony. "Black actresses need to stop complaining and get out there and hustle" im sure she wouldn't be saying that if she was still a D lister

  • | January 8, 2014 3:55 PM

    thought Zoe still was a D lister??? could be wrong tho

  • Audiodramatist | January 7, 2014 11:48 PMReply

    Reminds me of when Clarence Thomas said the upheavals of the sixties and affirmative action programs that followed had no effect on his pulling himself up by his bootstraps.
    Brother Hart is not a comedian in the tradition of Lenny Bruce or Dick Gregory or Richard Pryor or even W. Kamau Bell as far as political insight is concerned.

    ...Nothing like that fame of Hollywood bubble.

  • Miles Ellison | January 7, 2014 10:43 PMReply

    Judging from the quality of SNL over the last decade plus, they clearly aren't hiring people because they're qualified.

  • | January 8, 2014 3:58 PM

    @ERNCHAMP yea i stopped watching SNL after Eddie Murphy, Garrett Morris, & all them other good comedians left cause i knew it wasnt gon be the same after that

  • ernchamp | January 8, 2014 4:24 AM

    here here miles. snl is terrible . it hasn't been good for at least 20 years. the skits are nothing but mimicry and the writing sucks. adding a black female won't do anything to improve the show! i started watching snl in 1975....the golden years of the program.

  • jasmine | January 7, 2014 10:02 PMReply

    Didn't you say Kevin you weren't going to wear a dress in some interview and you did on SNL? Everything I see him in I cringe. I saw a minute of his stand up show and didn't laugh. And Ice cube can you take the damn sunglasses off?!?!

  • Katie | January 7, 2014 9:39 PMReply

    Now see, this is one of the reasons why I don't respect this man and will never support anything he stars in. He's a sellout and has been in hot water before about his actions toward black women and girls. He makes me sick and this does not surprise me at all.

  • Bforreal | January 7, 2014 9:53 PM

    Yup. My thoughts exactly.

  • Donella | January 7, 2014 9:13 PMReply

    This is the fool who put on a dress on SNL to mock a little girl who did nothing to no one.

  • johnalynn | January 7, 2014 6:25 PMReply

    Everybody's not paying attention to the controversies on the internet. Maybe he's not reading the blogs. Maybe he didn't know about the special casting. Maybe he was completely in the dark and tried to give a diplomatic answer to the question by giving Zamata the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he didn't want to throw her under the bus by assuming she's a diversity hire.

  • C.P. | January 8, 2014 10:23 AM

    EXACTLY @JohnaLynn! This is what I took from the interview as well. The interviewer didn't give him any background to the story, and I have no reason to believe that Kevin Hart is up on the latest "internet controversies" of the world. If you didn't know the back story, it would have sounded like this white woman from CNN was diminishing this black woman as a "diversity hire" for SNL. I think Kevin was trying to defend her as a comedic artist. Nothing more.

  • Missing This | January 7, 2014 6:08 PMReply

    What you're missing is that you shouldn't expect a professional minstrel coon bug-eyed fast-talking buffoon to comment intelligently on anything of significance. Don't try and clean it up for him....just let him be what he is.

  • E.A.D! | January 7, 2014 6:34 PM

    STFU with that pseudo righteous Bullsh*t you're yapping'. He's a "coon"... "minstrel", because what... you don't find him funny? Who the f*ck cares!
    I'm sick of blacks turning on each other once someone achieves success by insinuating that they're sellouts for some reason.
    Just say you don't agree with his comment. To go on that extra troll sh*t is ignorant and fast becoming tiring on black blogs.
    I think the writer was right in further explaining Harts comments.
    Don't trivialize someone by saying she's just a quota player.

    Now eat a d*ck and go to some other blog to complain about Beyonce and who else you feel is part of the illuminati.

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