In The LA Times, Whoopi Goldberg is quoted on her response to the recent debate about the lack of African-American women on SNL:
“These folks are 15 years late on this question,” Goldberg told Showbiz411. “‘Saturday Night Live’ has looked like this for 15, 16 years. I don’t understand. Why is everyone up in arms? Didn’t anybody see it before? Clearly not.”
The story goes on to report that Goldberg has never been asked to host SNL.
I had to read that sentence again. Here it is:
The president of Goldberg’s production company said the Oscar-winning actress and comic had never been asked to host “SNL.”
Not only is Goldberg a comedian, she has been nominated for 13 Emmy awards. She is one of the few entertainers who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award.
Recently, Kenan Thompson, one of the show’s African-American male actors, complaining he was tired of dressing as females for skits, lamented the slim pickings out there for funny black women: “It’s just a tough part of the business. Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.”
Who could possibly think veteran Whoopi Goldberg isn’t ready to host SNL?
Or do you think, perhaps, the reason we haven’t seen Goldberg host the show has nothing to do with her talent and everything to do with her body? Not only is she female and black, Goldberg doesn’t look like Kerry Washington.
Washington, with her skinny physique, big eyes, and high cheekbones, in spite of her skin color, manages to tick off our current ideals of what a “beautiful” woman is. That, my friends, is why SNL let her host the show, because she is “beautiful” along with being talented. Let me add here that I love Kerry Washington. I’m a fan of “Scandal.” I’m psyched Washington busted a barrier. But the reason Whoopi Goldberg didn’t do the same “15 or 16 years ago” is because she doesn’t look like a Vogue model, a magazine, by the way, which has had a number of African-Americans on its covers that I could count on my own two hands.
Now, take a second to imagine if the success and exposure of white, male comics was determined by how “attractive” they are. It’s ridiculous to even think about.
People wonder how smart women get so obsessed with their appearance and why the pursuit of female “beauty” is an ever-growing multibillion dollar industry. Are women vain, crazy, superficial? Sadly, it’s more like they’re practical, recognizing how the world opens or slams doors based on how well they taper to a cookie cutter image of how women should look.
One of my favorite quotes about the power of media over little kids comes from Whoopi Goldberg:
“Well, when I was nine years old Star Trek came on. I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.”
Hopefully, children today see Whoopi in the media and believe in their own potential. Of course, It would help if more of the guys in charge would put her on the stage, front and center. It would be even better if the guys weren’t the ones in charge of where she gets to stand.