This season of NBC weekend staple “Saturday Night Live” has seen its fair share of changes, from the addition of Darrell Hammond as announcer to several cast changes. But the most noticeable could arguably be the change at the anchor desk of SNL’s “Weekend Update.”
The faux news segment last season was co-anchored by Colin Jost and Cecily Strong, though SNL’s “Weekend Update” this season is now anchored by Jost and veteran SNL writer Michael Che, who spent an illustrious three months reporting for “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart.
But the move to make SNL’s “Weekend Update” an all-male anchor desk has apparently upset some of the show’s female cast members, according to a New York Daily News Report.
The New York tabloid reports that Sasheer Zamata, who was hired last year after a controversy about lack of racial diversity on the SNL cast, is apparently not keeping her feelings about the “Weekend Update” all-male anchor desk to herself, the newspaper reported a source told them.
“She was saying that it’s bull—- that in 2014 there would be two males and no women in such a prominent position on the show…. She said that there should be at least one man and one woman or, if anything, two women. She was incredulous about it…. It’s obviously something that she feels very passionately about. She said they think it’s unfair.”
Zamata’s outrage may just be the start of what NPR’s Eric Deggans was talking about in his article about Zamata’s hire in January. The article, titled “Conversation About ‘SNL’ And Diversity ‘Just Getting Started,'” said the show’s issues with diversity were about more than just hiring Zamata and two African-American female writers.
“Which means it’s time to have a larger discussion. Because black women aren’t the only important groups woefully underrepresented in SNL’s cast. Since Fred Armisen left, the show hasn’t had anyone with Hispanic heritage on the show — it has never had a Latina cast member — and it doesn’t have an Asian cast member, either. The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts and the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda pointed out the show’s sad history with Latinos in a letter to Michaels back in November….”
“SNL’s move also validates another truth about diversity that’s hard for some to accept: It often doesn’t happen without deliberate effort. If diversifying TV casts were easy, open auditions would solve every problem. But people of color are underrepresented in many of the traditional pipelines for talent, so SNL had to hold special auditions to find a black woman for their cast. This isn’t about lowering standards or making excuses to add a black face somewhere. It’s about changing where and how you look for talent to find fresh faces wherever they may flourish.”
What do you think? Is Zamata right to be outraged over the all-male “Weekend Update” anchor desk? And has SNL done enough to diversify its cast and writing staff? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.
[Image via NBC]