'SNL' and Kerry Washington Tackle Diversity Issues

Saturday Night Live screengrab/NBC
Saturday Night Live screengrab/NBC

Before Kerry Washington's portrayal of Michelle Obama on Saturday Night Live last night, no one had played the first lady during her husband’s presidency, Buzzfeed reports. The last time Michelle Obama was portrayed on the show was in 2007, when she was played by regular Maya Rudolph.

"I feel like it's been years since I've seen you!" President Obama, played by Jay Pharoah, said to Washington in the "Cold Open" comedy sketch.

The show didn't lose any time before addressing its diversity issues, namely the lack of black female cast members.


During "Cold Open," a White House staffer announces the arrival of Oprah Winfrey to the Obamas. As a frustrated Kerry Washington leaves the stage, the following voiceover can heard:

"The producers at Saturday Night Live would like to apologize to Kerry Washington for the number of black women she will be asked to play. We make these requests because Ms. Washington is an actress of considerable range and talent — and also because SNL does not currently have a black woman on the cast. Mostly the latter. We agree this is not an ideal situation and look forward to rectifying it in the near future, unless, of course, we fall in love with another white guy first."

Watch "Cold Open" video here:

In another sketch, "My Girl," Washington plays Pharaoh's girlfriend, who catches him texting another girl:

Read more at Buzzfeed.

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