“Live From New York, it’s Kenan in drag” is spot on. Writer Tambay A. Obenson shares his thoughts on ‘Saturday Night Live’ overlooking the sisters in light of the announcement that six new cast members were recently added to the series.
How many black women cast members has SNL had in its history? Four (4) in its 38-year history: Yvonne Hudson, Danitra Vance, Ellen Cleghorne, and finally Maya Rudolph.
None since 2007, when Maya Rudolph left the show. That’s about 1 black woman cast member every 9 to 10 years. The first 2 were on for no more than 2 seasons, during the early to mid-1980s; Cleghorne was on for about 4 in the early 1990s; and Rudolph carried the torch from 2000 to 2007.
You can count them all on one hand. And there were large gaps between each’s tenure as “Black Woman On SNL This Season,” meaning there were many years during the show’s 38-year run, when there wasn’t a single black woman cast member.
Not that black male cast members have fared well. In total, over the series’ 38 years, it’s seen about 11 black male comedians pass through, including the most recent in Jay Pharoah.
But I single out black female cast members because, in part, the show so CLEARLY needs to have one. Just one, at least! For the last 6 years, since Rudolph left, whenever a skit involved a character that was black and female, she would either be played by the show’s guest host (assuming the guest host was black and a woman, which was rare), or by whomever the black male cast member was during that season, as we saw Kenan Thompson do more than a few times during his tenure.