Real ‘Live’ Pressure: Zamata Needs to Be ‘Funnier Than She is Black’

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    It’s hard to believe in 2014 we are still talking about the importance of diversity on television; more specifically the importance of African Americans on television.

    Here’s why it’s even more surprising, Nielsen, the respected company in America that tracks television use and ratings show African-American consumers are 43 million strong and are more aggressive consumers of media and they shop more frequently.

    Blacks watch more television (37%), make more shopping trips (eight), purchase more ethnic beauty and grooming products (nine times more), read more financial magazines (28%) and spend more than twice the time at personal hosted websites than any other group.

    That’s why it comes as a shock to many people in America that a show as popular and revered as Saturday Night Live has not had a black, female cast member since 2007. Six years.

    Many people on social media believe it’s not a big deal, writing, “Maybe because they didn’t find a funny one? Why is it quantity over quality?

    Another person wrote, “Slow it down a bit. Maybe there aren’t enough black female comedians who meet SNL’s criteria. How come no Asians? Riddle me that.

    As I said to a television writer last night on CNN, not having an Asian or another minority on the cast is not an excuse.

    It only serves to magnify the problem.

    Saturday Night Live hired six new cast members in 2013, five white men and one white woman. Not one black woman was in the group.

    Every night in America you can walk into any comedy or improv club and see black women doing their thing and doing it well.

    Don’t believe me?  I challenge you to go to a comedy club this weekend.

    Now, bowing to public pressure and criticism the show announced on Monday that it had hired New York comedian Sasheer Zamata just four years after she graduated from The University of Virginia.

    She makes her premier on the show on January 18 when Drake is the musical guest.

    Look for a Beyoncé spoof for sure, something Zamata says she’s good at.

    And you’ll probably see a wicked Michelle Obama.

    You can also look for a whole lot of scrutiny and criticism from some who are looking for an excuse to say she got her job to fill a quota, because she’s black.

    That always happens from people who don’t understand the need for diversity and who don’t understand why it’s important to expand and enhance traditional recruiting methods to find diverse talent.

    That said, it probably won’t be easy for Zamata who in the glaring spotlight that’s about to be trained on her is going to have to be a whole lot funnier than she is black.

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    6 thoughts on “Real ‘Live’ Pressure: Zamata Needs to Be ‘Funnier Than She is Black’

    1. It won’t be Zamata’s comedic abilities that are questionable but whether SNL has writers who can craft material to fit her talents. Strange that five white men and one white woman weren’t considered a “quota.”

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    3. I haven’t watched SNL in several years. My DVR is set for January 18, 2014 for Zamata’s first appearance on the show. My best wishes for a successful show for Ms. Zamata!

    4. i apologize but I’m one of those die hard skeptics who feels as though she is filling up the black women void of the show. and she will not get the opportunity to become what a Tina Fey is to SNL. let’s see what happens… I really hate to sound like Mr. Pessimistic. I’m gonna become Mr. Realistic unfortunately. y’all still don’t know how things are designed yet..

    5. Don I hate to keep this race thing going; but in reality I wonder how many black people watch SNL on a regular basis. I’m sure that with the addition of Zamata the numbers will increase. For me one of the I, or 2 times I watched SNL in the last year was when Kerry Washington was on. I’ll be watching more often now that Zamata has been added. Lots of curiosity as to how she will do.

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