i fought with myself about whether or not to post my feelings about this entire snl-diversity situation. i figured since i didn’t get burned at the stake and maintained possession of my black card after my kanye post that i should be fine. so here it goes…
my family nickname growing up was “little republican”. why, you ask? i had a long convo at like 6 years old with my grandfather about my disdain for affirmative action.
is everyone okay? just follow me. i promise to go easy on you.
i never had to deal with affirmative action, so after that talk a zillion years ago, i hadn’t thought about it again. the affirmative action issue crept its way back into my brain a few months ago however, because the internet (no gambino). #blacktwitter was up in arms about the lack of diversity on snl and they weren’t going down without a fight. the angry mob was heading straight for lorne michael’s door hungry for blood. keenan thompson obviously doesn’t value his life because he jumped into the discussion saying that “in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready”. i thought that to be a valid reason, but the internet did not. the posse split up and they were off to destroy keenan’s mentions as well. it turned into a dragging session that led to a mid-season hire of not only a black female castmate, but two additional writers. hooray! ::confetti explodes:: victory has been won, right?
as a generation that merely reaped the benefits of the civil rights movement, we need to be clear about pacification and real change. this snl victory like others in recent times (JHud in “sex and the city”, donald glover on “girls”, all black girls at rick owens) was pacification. you cannot bully people into real change. bullying/dragging/killing mentions/protesting, whatever you want to call it, in the name of diversity always comes back and bites us in the butt. lorne michaels is seeing all of this hoopla and rewarded the efforts by insulting our intelligence. i can see him leaning back in his chair, legs crossed saying “hmmm, if they want diversity, let’s give them a black female cast member and don’t forget, she must have an afro. they like that kind of thing. oh and you know what? i really don’t wanna have to deal with that sharpton guy, so find two dark-skinned female writers too. that should keep them off our backs for a while.” if that’s okay with you, awesome, just make sure your thumbs are ready to cyberfight with michaels in a few years about replacing these 3 lovely ladies once they bounce. black media has accused him of being racist/sexist, but he seems more like the biggest troll to me. again, no gambino.
now i know that cyberbullying is the new cool thing to do and all, but for the sake of the advancement of the race, let’s channel that energy into something bigger and most importantly lasting. that “something” is a little thing called “build our own”. not to get all nostalgic a la “midnight in paris”, but building our own was all the rage in the 90s. black film and tv programming was at an all time high. i mean, think about it, who didn’t have a show? for chrissake, even tone loc had a popular cartoon! now pull up the names of the black people with their own shows/films and think about where they are now. ::jeopardy song:: crossover big bucks! steve harvey, ice cube, kevin hart. i could go on and on, but the point is, they grew their careers to such a height with us that when mainstream media came along, they could command a hefty paycheck on their own terms. i get it that with integration and post-racial america (still unsure what that even means) black folks want to be included in everything, but let’s have some self-respect here. i mean integration was awesome, don’t get me wrong, but geez, it really killed our spirit a bit ya’know? are we really going to sit on our brilliant ideas until #blacktwitter tweets our names enough to get abc to pay attention? tuh! not when issa rae is walking this earth like a bawse. tyler perry is the devil in human flesh, but look what he amassed beginning his career on the good ol chitlin’ circuit.
i’m saying all of this to say that diversity should be an organic process. cyberbullying and government policy creating it is only a temporary band-aid and you know how quickly those things fall off. For real change, two things need to go down, creation and support. let’s put value into black media before seeking a mainstream co-sign. being included shouldn’t mean forsaking/belittling/forgetting our own. support black writers, comedians, actors, publications, etc and their endeavors. subscribe to black youtubers’ channels. tweet and blog about dope projects you come across. praise their excellence making their names ring so obnoxiously loud that mainstream media has no other choice but to take notice. it will be a win-win for all races involved.
that my friends, is real change.
*editor’s note: for anyone involved in the twitter protesting, make sure all of you watch snl on saturday. more importantly, make sure that the ratings will be as high this time next year as they will be this weekend.