I thought I’d share this very interesting reaction by Kevin Hart to Saturday Night Live’s “lack of a black woman cast member” problem, as we’ve come to summarily label it.
SNL did eventually cast a black actress/comedian/writer (Sasheer Zamata, announced yesterday HERE), by the way.
Hart’s reaction to the casting, and fuss that preceded, and we could argue, inspired it, came during a CNN interview today, while doing press for his upcoming dramedy, Ride Along (which he co-stars in with Ice Cube, who joined him in the interview).
In short, he believes race wasn’t at all a factor in Sasheer’s casting, nor should it have been, as he suggests, used as an argument for adding a black woman to the variety show’s cast. He added that all the uproar that led up to her casting, was really “much ado about nothing.”
He ended saying that she was cast, not because she’s a black woman, but because she’s “qualified.”
I don’t think anyone would argue against the fact that she was cast because she’s “qualified,” to use his words. But we can’t dismiss race from the conversation (before and after her casting) entirely. The fact that NBC and SNL producers held a casting session specifically for black women, suggests that race does or did matter, whether we want it to or not, especially in this case.
The show was criticized for its lack and need of a black woman cast member (a fact so glaringly and painfully obvious to many), and, likely in response to that onslaught of accusations (at least partly), producers of the show reacted, held an audition only for black actresses/comedians, and eventually cast whom they felt was the best fit.
The headline for every single article I’ve read about Sasheer’s casting are some variation of “‘SNL’ Hires First Black Female Cast Member in Years.” So how could we ignore the racial aspect of the entire thing, starting from what led SNL to eventually do something?
I suppose, pondering a bit more about what Hart says in the interview, maybe his argument is that her race shouldn’t trump her talent and abilities as an actress, a comedian and a writer, maybe in an attempt to quell any suggestions of that Affirmative Action fear that some white people have: that her race was the main reason why she was hired for the job, so that they could fill a quota, and her talent was secondary.
But wasn’t that the point of the whole thing?
Or maybe he’s just trying to be contrarian as he promotes his new movie.
What am I missing?
Watch and discuss: