Saturday Night Live never seems to be able to get it right when it comes to the realm of Black women. After years of evading the issue of why they refused to include a women of color as regular cast members, they were forced to respond to the growing outage by hiring Sasheer Zamata and Leslie Jones.
But they still have a lot to learn when it comes to navigating the choppy waters of race and gender. This weekend, in honor of the upcoming movie “Annie” which showcases an updated more urban version starring Quvenzhane Wallis, SNL decided to have a little fun at the expense of the highly anticipated flick.
Cameron Diaz played the role of the drunken and evil Miss Hannigan, Jay Pharaoh served as Daddy Warbucks, the role assigned to Jamie Foxx, and Leslie Jones slid into role of “Black Annie”. ‘
The skit would have been hilarious if it wasn’t ridden with stereotypical fare. Jones’ depiction of “Annie” was soaked with the labels that continue to haunt black women. She was also accompanied by Vanessa Bayer who promptly initiated the antics of ebonics when Daddy Warbucks insists on seeing the “Black Annie”. As Jones appears to answer the call, she is done up to look like a Black woman who is typically up to no good. Her attitude reeks of the welfare reliant , over-sexed, lazy, and money-grubbing prototype that we are used to internalizing.
To most it comes off as delightfully hilarious but the underlining damage is hard to ignore. Laughter is the best medicine until it produces over-wrought themes that hit too close for comfort.