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‘SNL’ Adding Two Black Female Writers to Staff With New Cast Member

SNL Black Female Writing Staff LaKendra Tookes Leslie Jones
LaKendra Tookes / Leslie Jones

SNL‘ certainly earned a bit of good faith in its commitment to addressing the racial diversity of the current 39th season cast, most recently confirming black female performer Sasheer Zamata as the newest addition to the featured players, but it seems the changes haven’t stopped there. Two more women of color have joined the team, adding fellow auditioners LaKendra Tookes (above left) and Leslie Jones (above right) to the writing staff.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tookes and Jones will join the ‘SNL’ writers’ room as early as this coming Monday, in time for Sasheer Zamata to make her January 18 debut alongside rapper Drake as both host and musical guest. Both Tookes and Jones took part in the audition process between comedy organizations from New York to Los Angeles organized by ‘SNL’ head Lorne Michaels, the first to focus exclusively on minority women.

In particular, Jones Jones has previously performed standup at LA’s Comedy Store, appearing in both FX’s ‘The League,’ and TBS comedy ‘Sullivan & Son.’ Meanwhile, Tookes is a standup comedian and former news reporter from Florida. Worth noting is that work on the ‘SNL’ writing staff can occasionally lead to a place among the cast, as has been the case with Tina Fey and, most recently, Mike O’Brien.

For those unfamiliar with the situation, the controversy began when current cast member Jay Pharoah spoke out against the lack of diversity among the cast, particularly a lack of black female women, for which co-star Kenan Thompson grew tired of being called on to perform. ‘SNL’ even tackled the controversy head on in Kerry Washington‘s cold open, which in turn referenced the 39th season’s generic additions to the cast.

Well, what say you? Has ‘SNL’ gone far enough in addressing its potential diversity issues? What would you like to see changed in the latter half of the show’s 39th season, moving into the future?

next: watch the 10 best 'snl' skits of 2013

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