Putting to rest (for now) a controversy over why the iconic comedy show has not had a Black woman on the cast for five years, Sasheer Zamata has joined”Saturday Night Live” as a featured player. According to Deadline Hollywood, Sasheer graduated from the University of Virginia three years ago and trained with the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York City. You might even recognize her from her appearances on “Inside Amy Schumer” and in a number of viral YouTube comedy videos, including “How To Politely React To Your Friend’s Terrible Engagement.” “SNL” executive producer Lorne Michaels had promised to add a Black comedienne to the cast after the show was criticized during the fall following remarks by Black male cast members, Keenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah. Keenan had suggested there weren’t enough Black women who were “ready,” while Jay said the show needed to get with the program and be more diverse. Sasheer will appear on January 18th, with Drake as a musical guest and host. Looking forward to it! [Deadline Hollywood, Sasheer.com]
“It’s actually really funny how many people could watch my performance, and they think it was, like, sexist and degrading to women, and somehow people found that it was racist, which I couldn’t even wrap my mind around. Because I’m like: ‘How do I win? If I have white dancers, then I’m racist. If I have black girl dancers, then I’m racist.’ We know we’re not racist, and I know I’m not putting down women. People got a rise out of me saying that I was a feminist, but I am. I’m telling women be whoever you want to be.”
Oh Miley, Miley, Miley. Here she is in the New York Times this weekend proving she, still, so doesn’t get why people were offended that she spanked a Black woman onstage at the VMAs. I’m not entirely surprised that an ex-Disney star doesn’t have the a developed sense of racism and intersectional feminism, but I would have hoped she’d be slightly more intellectual than to think than employing black backup dancers makes her not racist.
Here’s what Miley had to say when she was asked by the Times whether her personal thinking about race changed this year: Keep reading »
The movie “12 Years A Slave” is being heralded as one of the best films of the year, is expected to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, and leads the Golden Globe nominations with seven nods. Its star is Chiwetel Ejiofor, who is winning accolades left and right for his performance as Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, who is abducted and sold into slavery. It is his image that appears on the majority of movie posters (right) promoting “12 Years A Slave” in the United States and around the world — except Italy, that is. Keep reading »
Frustrating as it is, racism in Hollywood is still prevalent in 2013. When USA Today explored the absence of Black women in Hollywood this week, they highlighted the approach behind the racial diversity that can be found on “Grey’s Anatomy” — color-blind casting. Linda Lowy, the casting director behind the oh-so-addictive hospital drama created by Shonda Rhimes, explained, “When I cast the pilot of ‘Grey’s,’ Shonda didn’t give anybody a last name. She just said, ‘Linda, I want you to cast it the way you see the world.’” Usually casting notices come with descriptions like “White male, late 30s to early 50s, musclar” or “Asian female, any age, must look 15 to 17.” But with little physical description or race tied to the casting of the characters, the opportunities for more equality expanded in a major way. Keep reading »
Earlier this week, Slate.com columnist Aisha Harris wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek piece arguing that Santa Claus needed a makeover. Instead of always being depicted as a jolly, fat, white man, Santa Claus should be a penguin. Harris wrote about growing up as a Black child and seeing two versions of Santa — on TV and at school, Santa was white, but at home, the Santa who decorated her house (and delivered presents) at Christmastime was Black, just like her. Harris described how this omnipresent white figure made her feel as a child:
I remember feeling slightly ashamed that our black Santa wasn’t the “real thing.” Because when you’re a kid and you’re inundated with the imagery of a pale seasonal visitor—and you notice that even some black families decorate their houses with white Santas—you’re likely to accept the consensus view, despite your parents’ noble intentions.
Depicting Santa as an animal, Harris argued, “could spare millions of nonwhite kids the insecurity and shame that I remember from childhood.” She continued: Keep reading »
Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, an anti-apartheid peace activist and Nobel Prize winner, is dead at 95. Mandela spent 27 years in prison for his activism on behalf of civil rights for South Africa’s Black people, living in a six-foot wide cell on Robben Island. Mandela had been sick for a long time and died at home. [NBC News]
Hey guys, meet your first black girlfriend! Her name is Akilah Hughes, and she’s a writer and comedienne. Lucky for you, this isn’t her first time at the interracial relationship rodeo — so she knows exactly what to say when it comes to the “unspoken anxiety” and those “cringe-worthy moments” that are pretty much an inevitable part of the “white guy falls for black girl, foot-in-mouth syndrome ensues” narrative. In fact, she’s so familiar with it that she’s gone right ahead and cleared some of the big questions up for you in one brief, hilarious video. So go ahead and get the fried chicken. She doesn’t care! [via Refinery29]