'SNL's All Black Women Audition Can Teach Us a Lot About Female Camaraderie
I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of nasty stereotypes about the way women treat each other. We’re awful! We just hate each other! We’re enforcing the patriarchy more than men! Well, no, that’s certainly not the case in so so many ways. Our most recent evidence of women being champions for each other and womankind in general: Saturday Night Live ’s black-women-only audition that was held just last week. The industry and the Internet have been up in arms over the fact that SNL severly lacks diversity on and off-screen, and they finally listened.
The showcase was held at LA’s Groundlings Theater and featured the talents of Bresha Webb, Christina Anthony, Azie Dungie, Tiffany Haddish, Simone Shepherd, Darmirra Brunson, Beth Payne, Lakendra Tookes, Amber Ruffin, Nicole Byer, and Misty Monroe. Considering the fact it was such a major audition and such a coveted and truly history-making spot, you’d think that the competition could have been absolutely cutthroat. Right? Wrong.
Just take a look at the image of the women holding hands and praying together before stepping on stage. Or as Christina Anthony said herself on Twitter, “Tonite was epic. I cried watching LA's SNL black girls only showcase. So good, so brave. It's not a competition, it's a sisterhood.”
In an interview with The Jasmine Brand, Bresha Webb shared:
We were all honored to be selected...We were all very supportive of each other and there was no sense of competition or pettiness. We were just happy that some new black women in comedy were being considered and given a shot. We even held hands prayed after the showcase. It was refreshing. The show was also sold out. It was packed to the max.
And what’s more, the showcase was the result of the industry and American culture-consumers at large standing up to a network and saying, “Your choice to select six new cast members, all of whom were white and one of whom was a woman was wrong and you need to change it.” And they are changing it. I’d call that a victory.
By the looks of the comedians’ and audience’s tweets, Instagrams, and interviews, they all felt it was a win, even if only one or two of them might make it to Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center:
The women who were selected for the audition were supportive, proud, and ecstatic for each other. The very fact that the issue of misrepresentation is being rectified and a black woman may soon, finally, after a ridiculously long gap, be a part of the full-time cast of SNL means that doors can only continue to open and opportunities will only continue to rise.
When one woman makes an impact, she changes the game for women in so many ways. As Geena Davis pointed out in a recent editorial for The Hollywood Reporter, "In the time it takes to make a movie or create a television show, we can change what the future looks like." In the spirit of improv comedy, I then ask "If that's true, then what else is true?" Well, then we will be seeing a much clearer picture of who and what is funny onscreen. It will be the result of people standing up and saying something wasn't right; and whoever lands the role will have gotten there with the support of the women all working toward the very same goal. And that’s something we can all be grateful for.