Sasheer Zamata’s Unreasonable Burden on SNL

Ideas

The burden of expectations Sasheer Zamata shouldered in her debut episode of Saturday Night Live must have been heavy indeed. The actor is the first black woman to join the regular cast of Saturday Night Live in six years. She is only the fifth black woman to join the cast in the show’s 38 year history. These figures make no sense, not in this day and age. And yet here we are.

In recent months, Saturday Night Live has been smug if not disdainful about the show’s lack of diversity. When Kerry Washington hosted, there was an arrogance to her cold open. The show mocked itself about the cast’s lack of black women. Then they offered a voice over explaining why Kerry Washington was playing so many roles in her opening skit. Saturday Night Live only began to address this problem for real when public outcry reached a fever pitch…

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