SNL has had a storied history with diversity. The late night comedy show is an institution. It’s broken countless comics and writers who you know and love. It put comedy and comedy writing at the forefront of a broadcast program. And it’s just a remarkable set up, to turn around weekly shows filled with original, timely material, acted out live, with musical performances, and also work in a celebrity host to perform. It’s magic. But for a long time, it has only been white magic.
That luckily has changed recently, with the addition of incredible cast members like Leslie Jones, Shasheer Zamata, and Michael Che. But despite the new hires, SNL only changed course once they began being publicly mocked in the ever-wokening media for failing to represent diversity.
Even worse, the show not only missed the mark on representing people of color, but they specifically had a huge deficit in hiring women of color. It’s no secret that women of color have the most oppressive time wading through the world, as they must face both misogyny and racism at the same time. Which is a double order of fucked. Luckily as social justice comes to the forefront of the fight for progress, feminism is learning to be more intersectional, to make sure the most vulnerable are protected first. But we’re still a long ways away from equality.
Luckily some men are willing to speak out for the sake of humanity. And Jay Pharoah, in addition to being hilarious, is one of them. Appearing on Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning, Pharoah discussed his sudden firing from the show, despite being a fan favorite. The situation, as most are, seems to have been complex, but there was one big unfortunate factor that may have contributed to him getting the boot.
He elaborated, “When the hiring of the black women happened—[Sasheer Zamata], Leslie [Jones], LaKendra Tookes—It was Lakendra Tookes and Leslie both were hired as writers, and it was Sasheer on the show. And I was at the audition and, me speaking up, they were ready to get rid of me 2013, September, when I spoke up. When I said what I said, and it got on the Grio, and it went viral, I almost freaking lost my job.”
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