Saturday Night Live, which has recently drawn much criticism from bloggers for its lack of diversity on its cast—namely, the dearth of black female comedians—has now come under fire from civil rights groups as well.
As THR reports, executive director Rashad Robinson of ColorOfChange.org, penned an open letter to SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels, lambasting him for the lack of diversity on the variety show. Robinson cites cast members Jay Pharoah's comments to The Grio about the lack of diversity, as well as Kenan Thompson's comments to TV Guide about black women who audition for SNL not "being ready." As Robinson states:
I was deeply troubled by SNL cast member Kenan Thompson’s recent comment that Black women comics just aren’t “ready” to join your show. Thompson’s remark gives cover to disturbing, long-held industry myths that Black women entertainers as a whole are untalented, unrelatable and unprofitable — while conveniently sidestepping SNL’s glaring (and much-remarked) deficit of Black onscreen talent that has come to define the show for nearly four decades now.
In the 39-year history of SNL, just three Black women have joined the show’s repertory cast. The first, Danitra Vance, was hired after the show had already been on air for a decade, and quit after a short period because she was only given tired roles written expressly to demean and dismiss Black women, including baby mamas, maids and women with a bad attitude. That was 1986 — when I was in elementary school — and it seems little has changed over the course of my lifetime.
Michaels has yet to respond, though he did tell the Associate Press on Thursday that ""It's not like it's not a priority for us. It will happen. I'm sure it will happen." Though I'm not at all advocating for Michaels to hire performers who don't deserve a role, given that he's in charge of finding and approving talent for the cast, how many people have to speak up before he changes the status quo?