SNL Leslie Jones

Last year, Saturday Night Live was called out for its lack of diversity. After poking fun at itself for not having any Black female cast mates, Lorne Michaels’ crew embarked on a series of “secret” auditions to find a Black comedienne to add to its ranks.

Back in January, SNL announced that it was not only adding Sasheer Zamata to the cast, but also bringing two Black female writers, Leslie Jones and LaKendra Tookes, on board.

Saturday night, Jones stepped in front of the camera for a controversial skit on SNL’s Weekend Update.

In the three-minute routine, Jones posed as an overly aggressive “image expert” brought on to discuss Lupita Nyong’o topping People magazine’s “Most Beautiful People” list. While I’m not sure how the clip could have played out, the predictable turn toward slavery (because Nyong’o’s most noticeable role to-date is from 12 Years A Slave) led to disastrous and downright offensive results.

During the sketch, Jones said though she loved that Lupita was honored by People magazine, she wished the glossy would compile a list of “the most useful people” instead of the most beautiful.

Jones explained her reasoning to her “delectable Caucasian” co-host, Colin Jost.

“Let me ask you a question: If you walked in a club and see me and Lupita standing at the bar, who would you pick? Yeah, I know, you’d pick Lupita,” she said. “But let me ask you this: If you was in the parking lot and three crips is bout to whoop yo’ ass, who you gon pick then?”

The skit goes downhill from there.

Jones continued: “The way we view Black beauty has changed. Look at me. I’m single right now. But back in the slave days, I would have never been single.”

*record scratch*


Unfortunately, it got worse.

“I’m six-feet tall and I’m strong, Colin. STRONG!” Jones yelled. “I mean look at me, I’m a Mandingo!”

Although Jones assured her co-host she would not want to be enslaved today, the comedienne explained she’d have more romantic options during slavery because she would’ve been paired with other Mandingos.

“Massa woulda hooked me up with the best brother on the plantation,” Jones quipped, “and every nine months I’d be in the corner having a super baby.”

Jones concludes: “I’d be the number one slave draft pick. All of the plantations would want me!”

While there may be a way to make slavery humorous (although I have yet to see one), Jones and SNL completely missed the mark. Like Russell Simmons’ YouTube channel’s disgraceful “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape,” Jones’ skit not only made light of slavery, but also joked about the horrific rapes Black women endured during enslavement.

Though Jones claimed she’d never be single as a slave, she could also never legally marry; never decide how to raise, or even keep, her children; never refuse to be raped without incurring the ire of her master; never dictate her own future; and she could never control her body because she would have been seen as nothing more than a mule.

Between Jones’ disgusting skit, “28 Reasons to Hug A Black Guy,” and “Black Jeopardy,” I’m wondering when SNL and its writers will realize that Black comics can be funny without talking about race or capitulating to the stereotypes.

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  • I’ve Lost My Smile

    Wow just wow wow wow.

  • RectPropagation

    I like how half the comments here are criticizing her for “self-hate” and the other half are “this is what you get for hiring black women“. Hypocrites much?

  • Secret87

    1) She is very ugly. Naturally ugly. Not because what she is saying, but ugly exists in all races and for the black race she is ugly.

    2) I don’t like her joke as in saying black women ugly or not can fight off a gang that is no joking matter. As if she a black woman is stronger then a man. I hate that because people don’t even treat us as women. Yes that includes black men how they treat us. Other races of women ugly, manly and all are ignored as not the face of their race. As black women only the bad is pushed as the face of us. If she had joked about white women this way…..she would not have a career. Like famous blacks they target black women, never non black women in a hateful way in their lyrics or jokes. Think instead of nicki minji saying nappy headed hoe, but wet dog smelling white….she would be long gone.

    3) I been reading about slavery on my own since I was a little girl. Her joking about not being single….picture being a black man slave being forced to be with her because the master said so? Thats not funny or right. Of course she wouldn’t be single. Blacks were viewed as live stock. In the barn Betsy the cow could be having her calf, and right in the slave quavers Connie can be having her 3rd child born into slavery to help pick the cotton in a few years. After having your baby you didn’t get the white woman treatment of being fanned by tired blacks, waited on by the faithful black mammy of the house oh no. If your lucky you got to rest at night like the other slaves and sick, tired and maybe near death back in the fields or over a hot stove cooking all the meals and cleaning the home with the baby on your back.

    4) Her being a black woman and calling herself a b..word.

    They hired her because she says jokes they wish they could get away with. (Not all whites, but a good amount in my opinion)

    She puts her ace and culture,history down to please whites and get a pay check.

    Soon latinos will be the majority and to please them how will she down our history to uplift theirs? Time will tell.

    But again she is awfully ugly :(

  • Secret87

    And the only ones laughing were white. Listen to it.

  • stampece

    This was not the most sophisticated comedy, and yet it was way over the heads of the author of this article and many of the people commenting, which is a sad commentary on the intelligence level of too many people.