Don Lemon Advises Sasheer Zamata To Be Funnier Than She Is Black

January 8, 2014  |  

A few days ago, we happily reported Saturday Night Live hired their first black female cast member in five years. On January 18, Sasheer Zamata will premiere her comedy and acting skills on SNL, but of course before she does so, Don Lemon had to send a word of advice to her. While on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Lemon revealed how he felt about Zamata receiving her new position.

“Look for a Beyoncé spoof for sure, something Zamata says she’s good at, and you’ll probably see a wicked Michelle Obama impersonation. You can also look for a whole lot of scrutiny and criticism from some who are looking for an excuse to say she got her job to fill a quota because she’s black. That always happens from people who don’t understand the need for diversity and who don’t understand why it’s important to expand and enhance traditional recruiting methods to find diverse talent. That said, it probably won’t be easy for Zamata—who, in the glaring spotlight that’s about to be trained on her, is going to have to be a whole lot funnier than she is black.”

While his last statement regarding Zamata to be funnier than her race perplexes some, Lemon makes sense. Black women are complex when it comes to their concerns about their identity and how they would like to be portrayed in the mainstream. By being the only black woman on SNL,  Zamata will need to learn how to balance the pressure from the African American community to take into account multiple layers and identities. Also, though humor varies among black women, most of us would rather laugh about certain social/race issues behind closed doors. With the humor SNL indulges in, do you think the producers will make Zamata perform controversial spoofs?

Listen to Don Lemon’s full view on the subject here. What do you think?

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