It seems like only yesterday that Sasheer Zamata became the first African American female to join Saturday Night Live in five years. Actually, it was two days ago that SNL finally addressed the elephant in the room and decided to add their first African-American woman cast member since the departure of Maya Rudolph. It turns out that she’ll be joined by two more women of color, as The Hollywood Reporter confirmed earlier today that LaKendra Tookes and Leslie Jones have joined the writing staff of the show starting this coming Monday (13). The two were among the comedians that auditioned in New York and Los Angeles recently.
It’s been no secret that SNL had suffered from a bit of a diversity problem. With Kenan Thompson and Jay Pharoah the only African Americans in the cast, they even addressed the problem when Scandal star Kerry Washington appeared on the show back in November. Zamata, Tookes and Jones will all be part of the show’s return on January 18th, when Drake hosts the show. Tookes had been a news reporter in Florida, and Jones has been on shows including The League and Sullivan and Son. THR notes that while there are no immediate plans for the two to make the transition from writers to performers, a number of SNL writers have gone on to perform on the show.