And so it has happened. In this season of rampant prejudice and racial injustice in the news, Saturday Night Live attempted to ingest and metabolize racism. This past weekend, writer Leslie Jones was allowed to do a monologue on the Nightly News segment of SNL with Colin Jost.
In it, the 6 ft tall Jones went on to say how she would be a better mating prospect had she existed in slave times or under those living conditions. Stretching to find comedy, she alluded to the breeding of the largest African slaves with one another in order to breed larger slaves – a practice that was common in the Antebellum south.
Now, the backlash has escalated toward a near crescendo since the show aired. This all comes on the heels of last month’s skit in which slavery was the punch line – again – as Keenan Thompson played 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen, recounting an imaginary reel of white actors being introduced to the dialogue of southern plantation owners and overseers.
The jokes were obviously not written for the black crowd. Even though for African-Americans, humor and laughter has been an elixir for all that has ailed us. It's a fact that made us rally for more diversity on SNL. In January, Sasheer Zamata became the first black female cast member in six years. With the addition of writers Lakendra Tookes and Leslie Jones, the SNL cast has been pushing the racial brand of humor more than any time in the history of the show.
But when has slavery ever been funny to anyone other than a slave owner? And how do we as blacks ask for diversity on TV, and then expect a show with a track record of racism to change what they've always done – on screen or in their writing and hiring practices?
It's a sword with two sharp sides. And we hate to cut to the truth, but there are likely going to be more insensitive racial jokes coming from SNL. Get ready.
Check Leslie Jones' Slave Ranting Monologue below: