When NBC announced that ‘Empire’ star Taraji P. Henson would host ‘Saturday Night Live’ on March 11, #CookieMonsters ’round the world rejoiced.
SNL, now in its 40th year, has launched the careers of scores of this country’s premiere comedians, including Eddie Murphy, but has had its share of “issues” around its diversity—namely that there is not a lot of it. This is especially true as it relates to black women in the cast.
The same could be said for Black female hosts.
Henson will only be the 10th Black woman to ever host SNL, though the show has welcomed more than 500 hosts since its 1975 premiere. That’s only at about 2 percent of all hosts. Reports Fusion:
The nine other African-American women to have hosted Saturday Night Live are Cicely Tyson (1979), Oprah Winfrey (1986), Halle Berry (2003), Janet Jackson (2004), Queen Latifah (2004), Rosario Dawson (2009), Maya Rudolph (2012), Gabourey Sidibe (2010), and Kerry Washington (2013).
That’s right: not a single black woman hosted in the ’90s.
Saturday Night Live could be said to be doing better these days, with two black women in its regular cast — Sasheer Zamata and Leslie Jones. Add these two to Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah, and folks might get a flashback to ‘In Living Color’ this weekend. There will actually be enough black folks to do some culturally expansive and black-themed skits — at least one of which is guaranteed to be a send-up of ‘Empire.’
Who’s going to tune in?