“SNL” adds black female cast member

LOS ANGELES — After auditioning actresses in cities across the country, “Saturday Night Live” has hired actress Sasheer Zamata as a featured player. Zamata’s first episode will be Jan. 18, with Drake as the host.

According to Zamata’s website, she appears regularly at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in New York as part of the weekly variety show “School Night.” She is also on two improv teams that perform at the theater.

She will be the first black female in the cast since Maya Rudolph left as a regular cast member in 2007.

Last fall, the show’s lack of black females came to a head when Thompson told TV Guide that he wouldn’t dress in drag to play black female characters anymore.

Many of the criticisms against the show were parodied in the episode hosted by “Scandal” star Kerry Washington in early November. But even then, executive producer Lorne Michaels was beginning the process of finding someone to fill the gap in the show’s cast. He told the Associated Press at the time that finding a black female cast member was a priority.


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