Hot on the heels of the news that “Saturday Night Live” will hire their first Black comedienne in 5 years, the sketch comedy show announced that it will also add two Black women to their writer’s room, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
LaKendra Tookes (left) and Leslie Jones, were discovered during the show’s recent secret auditions in New York and Los Angeles, held specifically to cast Black women, after the show drew criticism that it’s cast lacked diversity (because, really, that was enough of Kenan Thompson playing every. single. Black. woman in sketches). While Tookes and Jones were passed over for the acting role that eventually went to Sasheer Zamata, their new appointments are undeniably just as important. The show seriously needed a shakeup in point of view in that writer’s room or else the sketches would’ve been more of the same anyway. Even the funniest actor or comedian can only do so much with dry material (Exhibit A: Kevin Hart’s widely panned appearance on the show back in March 2013)!
Actress-comedian Tookes, is a former news reporter from Florida who has performed at iOWest (watch her character reel here). While Jones is an actress (“The League” and “Sullivan & Son”) and stand-up comedian who has performed at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles as well as written for and appeared on “Def Comedy Jam” and “1st Amendment Stand Up.” In 2010 she starred in a comedy special “Problem Child” was broadcast on Showtime.
I’m always excited to see more Black women representing in the entertainment industry, especially on a show that’s known for launching huge and lasting careers in the past. But to be honest, I’m still not sure how I feel about SNL’s antics. The fact that it took a national outcry for them to go through binders full of Black women and fit these limited spots…five years after having a Black woman on the show? Hmm….
But there’s more incentive than ever to tune into the show this month. Tookes and Jones start work next Monday, to write for the first episode that Zamata will also make her appearance in, January 18th. As we previously reported, Drake will host that episode.
Will you watch?
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Celebs Tweet Their Thoughts About #JusticeForSandraBland
1. Jesse Williams
#SandraBland's treatment while attempting to travel freely on HER public roadways has been acknowledged as unlawful. She is already dead.
2. Taraji P. Henson
"SAY HER NAME #SandraBland"
3. Ava DuVernay
"'Why are you arresting me?' Because you know your rights. Because I can. Because no one'll believe you. #SandraBland"
4. Kim Kardashian
#WhatHappenedToSandraBland We need answers!!!! This is NOT ok! This is all shady! They need to own up to this & tell the truth!
5. Jussie Smollet
"A loss 4 words. #SandraBlandMatters #BlackLivesMatter 👈🏿tell me this should change once the nation shows that we do. "
6. Snoop Dogg
🙏🌹. Sandra. Rip. 🌹🌹
7. K. Michelle
R.I.P to this queen. This could've been any of us. My prayers go out to her family. #sandrabland https://instagram.com/p/5fvlO_AhCf/
8. Gabrielle Union
SAY HER NAME!!! #SandraBland #SandraBland #SandraBland #SayHerName
"We must get to the cause of #sandrabland death because this CANNOT happen again #deathorfreedom"
10. David Banner
"When will we fight back. A man's duty on earth is to protect women and children. Where are the gangsters? Preachers? We need you. Please."
11. Nicki Minaj
"Rest In Peace #SandraBland"
12. Talib Kweli
"We the people ask @LorettaLynch to investigate #SandraBland #KimberleeRandleKing RETWEET "
Signs. Signs. Signs all around us. The Message is Here. #SandraBland
14. Missy Elliot
"When I look at the #SandraBland traffic video it brings so many emotions😳😢😡😡😤!"
15. Jessie J
"God bless your soul Sandra | #sandrabland | Change needs to come |Justice needs to be served | Heart… https://instagram.com/p/5fV79mQ0aw/ "
16. Jackee Harry
"It's time y'all, it's time.." #SandraBland #BlackLivesMatter
"In memory of #SandraBland these things don't make no kinda sense "
18. Holly Robinson Peete
I really don't look forward to having ANOTHER difficult conversation w my kids tonight...but here we go again😧💔 #SandraBland #SayHerName 😢
19. Jeffrey White
Sadly, doesn't matter by whose hand she died. Unjustified arrested set the outcome in motion. The state murdered her. #JusticeForSandraBland
Sandra could have been your mother, sister, aunt, friend or if she wasn't killed the community outreach advisor A&M. #SandraBland
21. Joan Smalls
"My heart is broken. Sending my deepest condolence to her family and friends. May you find Strength, Peace and Justice. When will this stop? #EqualityForAll #RIP #Why #SayHerName
22. Gladys Knight
Sandra Bland.... #SayHerName #SandraBland
23. Cara Delevigne
Things need to change NOW #SANDRABLAND #Justice #Equality
24. Meek Mill
"Rip to that young lady that lost her life about a traffic stop! 🙏 ima make sure I pray for her and her family! 🙏😄😄😄"