The talk about a lack of black women on SNL has gotten me thinking about racial issues a lot. From two different perspectives: On one hand I feel happy people are talking about it, it’s always good to gain consciousness and create awareness about certain media issues, specially regarding how certain groups of people are being represented in media.
On the other hand, and please note I’m “guilty” of talking from the POV of someone from a slightly different demographic group, I feel a little sad that the talks are so specific, I consider that talking about diversity could be approached in broader terms: black women BUT also Asian men, Latina women, Middle Eastern boys and Hindu girls.
Now, I know that, in a way, there are more black women to do impressions of, there are so many talented black female performers many of which inspire me on a daily bases, and also there’s a large palette of original characters that can be created by/for black women, that mixed in with the fact that black men often play black women in the show (though it can be funny it also seems dated) and that Kenan mentioned specifically black women factors in for the talk to be about this specific demographic. Also, if you think about it, truly there aren’t very many Asians, Middle Easterns or Latinos in media to do impressions of but… isn’t that is part of the problem? That there are SO few other people of a variety of races in media that we are not even talking about them at all?
I want it to be very clear that I agree there should be talk about black women in SNL, nothing would make me more excited it seems most natural to me that at least one should’ve been on the show already. I just don’t want that the big rising opportunity to talk about race inclusion in a TV comedy staple to be so specific that it leaves the big talk out. I don’t want the opportunity to be about the most terrifying thing a non-white person can hear “THE diversity slot” a big mixed bowl where they throw all the different colored people and pick only one to represent the others.
To help you better visualize this sometimes I go to auditions that are full of Asian women, black women and Hispanic women and we are all there thinking “They need someone of color and they can’t decide which so we’re all just the diversity spot for them.” But we all do the auditions anyway because we want to be in, we want to perform and get paid, we want the part… the diversity spot.
I dream of diverse casts on TV and films, in media in general, I dream of a day in which my Latin side is just a part of who I am, not a box to put me in. I think of someone like Mike Lane and how the show could benefit from having him on the cast. I don’t know how casting works, much less try to guess what’s Lorne Michaels’ process, I mean I respect the man immensely, him and Seinfeld (another notably white show) shaped my comedy mind growing up, but I sadly suspect that if there were three full spots open on the show and, somehow Mike Lane, Sasheer and I were auditioning, we would all still be “competing” for one slot… and that is if there WERE to be a new diverse person on the cast.
Just wanted to put this out there. Maybe it does nothing, maybe it does.
One last thing I want to put in people’s mind, something I always think about and makes me feel hopeful for everyone and the USA is Lucy, when she was told Ricky Ricardo couldn’t play her husband on TV because she wouldn’t be married to him, she stood up for him and said “But I am, I am married to him.” So, I thank all the Lucys out there, because I’ve been really lucky I’ve encountered a lot of them along the ride.