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article image‘Saturday Night Live’ mocks diversity issue with Kerry Washington

By Yukio Strachan     Nov 4, 2013 in Entertainment
New York - Those who didn't expect Saturday Night Live to address its recent controversy over its lack of black female cast members were in for a treat last night when Kerry Washington, from ABC's hit drama "Scandal," made up for lost time. Literally.
As the Associated Press notes, while Eddie Murphy, Garrett Morris, Chris Rock, Tim Meadows, Tracy Morgan and current cast members Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah have been major "SNL" players, the 137 people who have been cast members since the show started on NBC in 1975 include four black women.
So when founding producer Lorne Michaels had the opportunity to replace six cast members for this season, the problem didn't change.
Yet again for another season, no black women are among the 16 repertory or featured players currently on the show.
As a result, current feature performer Jay Pharoah let his feelings be known during an interview with the Grio, The Atlantic said.
"They need to pay attention," Pharoah said, suggesting SNL producers hire comedienne Darmirra Brunson.
"Why do I think she should be on the show?" he said. "Because she's black, first of all, and she's really talented. She's amazing. She needs to be on 'SNL.'"
The domino effect took off from there, with many noting there's no black woman in the cast to play the Michelle Obama to Pharoah's Barack.
That all changed on Saturday night in the show's opening scene (video shown above):
From the Daily Beast:
Seconds into the episode’s cold open, Washington entered the Oval Office set dressed as the first lady. “I feel like it’s been years since I’ve seen you,” Jay Pharoah’s President Obama said, winking at the diversity brouhaha. Taran Killam, playing a president’s aide, then enters, announcing that Oprah Winfrey has arrived to pay the first couple a visit. Killam and Pharoah look expectedly at Washington. “Kenan won’t…?” she asks. They shake their heads. Washington then darts out to change into her Winfrey outfit as the following message scrolls on screen:
“The producers at Saturday Night Live would like to apologize to Kerry Washington for the number of black women she will be asked to play tonight. We made these request both because Ms. Washington is an actress of considerable range and talent, but also because SNL doesn’t currently have a black woman in the cast. As for the latter, we realize this is not an ideal situation and look forward to rectifying it in the near future...unless, of course, we fall in love with another white guy first.”
At the end of the cold open, the Rev. Al Sharpton appeared and delivered this line:“What have we learned from this sketch? As usual, nothing.”
Maybe, the show will prove him wrong.
More about Kerry Washington, Saturday night live, Diversity, Black women
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