'SNL' casts Sasheer Zamata as first black female cast member in years

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After a long controversy that had both cast members and fans talking, SNL will welcome Sasheer Zamata as its first black female member since 2007. Zamata will make her debut on the January 18 episode of SNL, which also has Drake as the host and musical guest. Zamata trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City and this big break comes only three years after she graduated from the University of Virginia.

The lack of black females in the cast was apparent immediately after Maya Rudolph's departure five years ago, but recently fired up when Kerry Washington was on as host. The sketch that got everyone talking was the one that featured Washington playing all the black female roles, including Michelle Obama, Oprah, and Beyonce, but the humor was classically SNL with the show apologizing that Washington had to play all the characters. Even cast members Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah have spoken out about the situation, saying it wasn't ideal and that they would like to see a black female influence in the cast soon. Judging by this short sketch on Punch! Culture Shelf, Zamata has the energy and the comedic chops to nail it on SNL.

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