A Very Brief History Of Black Women On ‘Saturday Night Live’

Leslie Jones. is saying farewell to the late-night sketch series, further shedding light on the show’s history of Black female cast members.

A Very Brief History Of Black Women On ‘Saturday Night Live’

Saturday Night Live has served as the starting point for the careers of numerous comedians.

Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Garrett Morris and more have all called Studio 8H home at one point in their careers.

However, the show’s absence of inclusiveness–especially concerning Black women–has once more sparked concerns in light of the recent announcement of Leslie Jones.’s exit.

Throughout its extensive history, the show has featured a limited number of Black women as part of its cast. Presently, following Jones’s departure, Ego Nwodim. stands as the sole Black female member on the show.

Where are the Black women who have graced the stage of SNL and now, will SNL make a move to hire more?

Article continues following the video.

Throughout the show’s past, the African American women who have entertained viewers with their humor on those late Saturday nights, we can provide you with some details about the latter but we cannot respond to it.


Yvonne Hudson.

In 1985, Motown Returns to the Apollo featured a production assistant, as mentioned on IMDB. Her only additional credit was her time on SNL before completely leaving the entertainment industry. While working as an extra, she made appearances in several sketches but was among the many individuals let go at the season’s conclusion. Hudson joined SNL as an official member during its sixth season (1980-1981), becoming the first African-American woman to be part of the cast. Initially, she was not credited for her role on the show.

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A Very Brief History Of Black Women On ‘Saturday Night Live’


Danitra Vance.

In 1994, Vance passed away after battling breast cancer. In accordance with her wishes, her funeral took place at an amusement park where friends and family participated in the park’s activities. Vance also received an Obie and NAACP Image Award for her outstanding performance in the off-Broadway play Spunk. Following her time on SNL, Vance went on to appear in Sticky Fingers, The War of the Roses, and Little Man Tate. Comedian and writer Marina Franklin shared in an interview with Vulture that despite seeming dissatisfied with the roles she was given on the show, Vance’s unique approach set her apart from others at the time. Despite being underutilized, Vance received praise for her contributions to the sketch series in a 1984 Village Voice review, which applauded her ability to challenge stereotypes and create a “disturbing tension” between stereotypes, reality, and the circumstances that perpetuate them. Vance also made history as one of the show’s first openly lesbian actors, although she did not publicly come out. In 1985, Vance became the first Black woman to join the Saturday Night Live cast as a repertory player.

A Very Brief History Of Black Women On ‘Saturday Night Live’


Ellen Cleghorne.

In 1995, Nicky Little appeared in the second act and 2 Ups Grown, featuring Morris Garrett, an alum of SNL. She had her own series in which she became a recognizable face for anyone obsessed with comedy. There wasn’t even a joke about your name’s roll in the credits, so how’s that for residuals? They didn’t even give them to you. It was cold-blooded that they didn’t use contracts on SNL to give black people a chance or even bother to read them. During an interview with Slate, she revealed that she was the first black female to be on the series and she opened up about diversity on the show. Sometimes, Zoraida Page and Shenequa Queen would appear as social Afrocentric critics and she also tackled a number of celebrity impressions. Cleghorne was the first black female cast member on SNL to appear for more than one season, from 1991 to 1995.

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A Very Brief History Of Black Women On ‘Saturday Night Live’


Maya Rudolph.

The actress Rudolph, who has been a part of the show since her own show “The Martin Short Show” in the 6th season of SNL, had an overall great experience on the show. Despite moments like “What’s burning here? Is something burning here?” And walking down the hall to hear some guy say “[expletive] white [expletive] hair,” she added that the wigs she wore were so thick that she had to get her natural hair under them but when Saturday Night Live started, her hair was natural. Rudolph also opened up about how being a mixed-race actress has affected her career, including the struggles she faced behind the scenes at Studio 8H. She added that she loved being a part of the duo Beat Bronx with Amy Poehler and couldn’t do an impression of Cleghorne, but like Cleghorne, she may arguably be the most recognizable Black woman from Saturday Night Live.

A Very Brief History Of Black Women On ‘Saturday Night Live’


Sasheer Zamata.

Recently, she completed work on Hulu’s pilot comedy, “The Weekend,” landing a role in the upcoming film “America 2 Coming.” Since then, she has moved on to other cool projects, such as starring in Stella Meghie’s “In Between.” I am excited to work with people who make me feel fulfilled and excited, and it makes me want to try something else. Maybe I’ll just stay and take it as it comes, or maybe I’ll decide to leave and figure things out. It’s not a decision I take lightly, but it’s one that feels right after spending a couple of years trying to figure out what I really want. During a panel hosted by The Cut Magazine in 2017, Zamata revealed her decision to leave “Saturday Night Live” quietly before Leslie Jones. joined the series in 2014.

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A Very Brief History Of Black Women On ‘Saturday Night Live’


Leslie Jones.

According to Maurice, I have three projects in the works, including Queenpins and America 2 Coming. I am not dead, just graduating! I am very excited to see all of you soon and share some amazing adventures and projects. On Tuesday, she tweeted her appreciation for the cast and the series, adding that she would be leaving Saturday Night Live last week, as previously announced by Jones.

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