The pressure has been mounting on Saturday Night Live to diversify its mostly-white cast this season and it seems they've done something about it. SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels told The New York Times that the show is now holding mid-season auditions for a female black cast member to add to the show.
A special audition was held last Monday night and a new cast member or two will start on the show in January. The move is extremely unusual and speaks to the strength of the public outcry when the season premiered. Many fans and media critics were outraged after SNL announced their new season lineup over the summer and there was a stunning lack of diversity.
The show hasn't had a black female cast member since Maya Rudolph left in 2007. Cast member Kenan Thompson made headlines when he said he would no longer dress in drag to play black women on the show leaving the cast with few options. Should SNL be adding a new mid-season cast member? Is it important for the cast to always include a specific range of diversity? Should SNL consider cast members of other ethnicities?
Eric Deggans, TV critic for NPR
Tracy “Twinkie” Byrd, casting director for films including “Black Nativity”, “Stomp the Yard” and “Notorious”.