The timing could not have been better, whether intentional or not. On Wednesday, Saturday Night Live announced that Emmy Award-nominated actress Kerry Washington will host the show on Nov. 2 with musical co-host Eminem, Deadline reports. NBC's announcement comes amid a heated online debate over remarks SNL cast member Kenan Thompson made to TV Guide.
Thompson weighed in on why he feels there has been a lack of black female comedians added to the SNL cast over the years. "It's just a tough part of the business," Thompson said. "Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready." Fellow cast member Jay Pharoah also addressed the lack of a black women on SNL, saying that Lorne Michaels, the late-night show's creator and person in charge of talent, needs to do something.
In the category of black woman who have hosted SNL, the list is short. According to Buzzfeed, Kerry Washington will be the ninth black woman in the show's 39 seasons. The last black woman to host SNL was Maya Rudolph (who was also a cast member). The other hosts were Gabourey Sidibe, Rosario Dawson, Halle Berry, Janet Jackson, Cicely Tyson (the first black woman to host), Oprah Winfrey and Queen Latifah, who hosted twice.
Washington, fresh off an Emmy nomination for her role as Olivia Pope on Scandal, is fast becoming a household name. The season 3 premiere of Scandal drew its biggest audience yet.
Read more at Deadline.
Jozen Cummings is the author and creator of the popular relationship blog Until I Get Married, which is currently in development for a television series with Warner Bros. He also hosts a weekly podcast with WNYC about Empire called Empire Afterparty, is a contributor at VerySmartBrothas.com and works at Twitter as an editorial curator. Follow him on Twitter.