Y’all should flood Twitter with massive congrats to Empire‘s Taraji P. Henson for landing the job as host of Saturday Night Live. Once you see the shocking statistics, you’ll understand it’s a massive deal.
We were beyond excited to learn that Empire’s breakout star, Henson, was on the SNL lineup for the April 11 show with Mumford and Sons. That was until we caught sight of Fusion’s brilliant infographic that highlights the sketch show’s depressing lack of diversity. Henson’s hosting gig isn’t just an honor from a comedic standpoint; it’s also a huge deal for racial and gender bias on the show.
Unsurprisingly, of the 500 people who have hosted SNL in its 40 years on the air, a majority of the hosts have been white men — 59 percent to be exact. And, yes, the 29 percent of white women hosts seems low to us, too. But white people still run the game on Saturday Night Live, making up for 88 percent of all hosting opportunities. The most shocking numbers come not from when you look at gender but at race. In 40 years, we’ve had only 50 black hosts on SNL — nine black women and 41 black men.
Some (incredibly ignorant) people might suggest this has something to do with a lack of funny minorities, but that seems unfathomable. “Funny” isn’t a gene. If, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, 13 percent of Americans are black or African-American, there’s still a missing 3 percent in these stats. Though, one sweeping look at black people on television will tell you there are more than enough funny black people worthy of a hosting gig. One-third of the New Girl cast is black and hysterical, any of the cast of Black-ish could make for a fun Saturday night and any of Henson’s Empire costars would also make quick, funny work of the hosting gig.
So, congrats to Henson for beating truly depressing odds and landing front and center on the Saturday Night Live stage. But, hey, Lorne Michaels! Can we see a little more diversity, please?