Does 'SNL' Have a Diversity Problem?

Grantland's Rembert Browne checks in on Saturday Night Live's history of race issues after some media critics and viewers complained loudly about the show's six new cast members, all of whom are white.

Saturday Night Live is a storied franchise that has found ways to cultivate stars until they're ready to be released into the wild, while continually finding the next generation of comedians to keep the show relevant. But many feel that the show refuses to be truly progressive because of the racial homogeneity of its cast.

Last week, as the 39th season began, some were taken aback by the introduction of the six new featured players, because all of them are white.

When asked about this, Jay Pharoah, a black cast member too often used to impersonate the people Kenan Thompson (and, until recently, Fred Armisen) cannot, told The Grio about his feelings on SNL's hiring practices and the show's blatant lack of diversity, referencing the star of Tyler Perry's Love Thy Neighbor:

They need to pay attention. Her name is Darmirra Brunson … Why do I think she should be on the show? Because she's black first of all, and she's really talented. She's amazing. She needs to be on SNL. I said it. And I believe they need to follow up with it like they said they were going to do last year.


Read Rembert Browne's entire piece at Grantland.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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