Sasheer Zamata: ‘Saturday Night Live’ adds first black female cast member in 6 years

Sasheer Zamata

Sasheer Zamata. Photo taken by Robyn Von Swank, courtesy Sasheer.com

After receiving  considerable backlash for not having a black female cast member for several years, NBC’s Saturday Night Live has hired Sasheer Zamata as a featured player.

Zamata will make her SNL debut January 18 alongside Drake who will be pulling double duty as the show’s host and musical guest.

The actress, who has been featured in The New York Times, Time Out New York, Jezebel, and Vulture represents the first African-American female to be a part of SNL‘s regular cast since Maya Rudolph left the show in November 2007.

SNL became the target of much debate and discussion this fall when its six new cast-member additions didn’t include a single person of color.

During an interview with the New York Times on December 12th, SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels said that he had committed to adding a black female cast member to the show by January 2014.

“It’s not like it’s not a priority for us,” Michaels said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It will happen. I’m sure it will happen.”

Zamata graduated from the University of Virginia and has performed with Upright Citizen’s Brigade. She has done stand up at numerous comedy festivals including the Letterman Showcase at the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival and Comedy Central’s Comics to Watch Showcase.

Zamata’s has also been featured on the NBC’s Today and Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell on FX, and performed in online videos for The Cooking Channel.

Check out some clips of her work below:

Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter for more entertainment news at @WitherspoonC