By Arturo R. García
Expectations were high surrounding this past weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live, as it unveiled a more diverse lineup both in front of and behind the camera.
While the ostensible lead was guest star Drake, pulling double-duty as the show’s musical guest, the show also marked the debut of Sasheer Zamata, the first woman of color in the ensemble since Maya Rudolph’s — who is of multi-racial heritage — departure. Zamata’s hire was precipitated at least in part by the furor over Kenan Thompson’s infamous “they never find ones who are ready” remark in November. But, perhaps even more crucially, the show also added two women of color to the writing team in Leslie Jones and LaKendra Tookes.
So far, the results appear to be positive: the show scored decently enough ratings-wise, and Drake’s performance has been well-received enough to suggest he should get the Justin Timberlake open-door policy.
But how do you feel the episode did? Did Zamata get enough opportunities to spotlight herself? Do the new additions make you more optimistic about the show? And is anybody else stuck seeing Rick Ross as a Red Teletubby now? Here’s a couple more videos for those of you who didn’t catch the show.
by Special Correspondent Wendi Muse
“There’s mama drama at the mall!”
Do you ever just want to throw a very heavy object toward your television? I don’t even own a functioning television at present, using my laptop instead to get caught up on all the shows I miss (thanks Netflix, ABC, NBC, MTV, etc etc), but I still want to throw something very heavy and with a lot of force towards the LCD screen when Keenan Thompson comes onto the set of Saturday Night Live. Most of his depictions of black people, be they male or female, are racist and steeped in tired, overused stereotypes. When I see Keenan in drag, however, I become even more enraged because, considering the already heavy dark cloud of negative stereotypes of black women in film and on tv, I don’t think a black man needs to be adding to the fray simply because SNL hasn’t cast a black woman since, to the best of my recollection, Ellen Cleghorn (it’s sad that I even had to GUESS this!). Former cast member Maya Rudolph, who is of a multiracial background (she is the daughter of the late singer Minnie Riperton and producer Richard Rudolph), often played black female characters, but in a way that I felt was often humorous without being offensive. Thompson, however, cannot seem to follow in Rudolph’s footsteps. Continue reading