(RNN) – The 39th season of Saturday Night Live brought six new cast members – five white men and one white woman – and not a new person of color in sight.
The loudest opinion from viewers and pop culture and entertainment watchers has been this: Where are the black female cast members and hosts?
One call has been answered - Scandal star and Hollywood it girl Kerry Washington will host SNL on Nov. 2, with musical guest Eminem.
As far as hosts, black women have been extremely underrepresented. As BuzzFeed writer Tracy Clayton wrote on Wednesday, in the 751 shows and 38 completed seasons of a show that started since 1975, only nine black women have been the host.
Even worse, four black women have been cast members during that time: Yvonne Hudson (fired midseason in 1980-81), Danitra Vance, Ellen Cleghorne and Maya Rudolph.
SNL's only two black cast members – Jay Pharaoh and Kenan Thompson - have both made comments about the situation. While Pharaoh says a black female cast member is long overdue, Thompson told TVGuide.com this week that "It's just a tough part of the business. Like in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready."
It's not like black women haven't existed in Hollywood in the combined 31 times that Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin have hosted since 1976; Justin Timberlake has hosted five times, and John Goodman hosted every year for a decade. Plus, with talented black women like Wanda Sykes, Retta, Yvette Nicole Brown, Aisha Tyler and Sherri Shepherd available on TV, the excuses for hosts and talent are just that.
TV moment of the week: Elizabeth Berkley recreates the best Saved by the Bell moment since the Zack/Lisa kiss.
I don't know what Elizabeth Berkley, otherwise known as Jessie Spano from Saved by the Bell, is taking to not look as old as she did in Showgirls, but she looks great.
Berkley also did what Saved by the Bell fans have long hoped she would do, reenact Jessie Spano's short-lived addiction to caffeine pills as one of the contestants on Dancing with the Stars on Monday. I have to admit, I was excited and scared to see how she would do, but she killed it.
I just hope she isn't going to push someone down a flight of stairs to win this year's disco ball trophy.
Having a tough time making sure your student reads or enjoys classic literature?
When I was in high school, way back in the mid-‘00s, we used Cliff Notes to help write book reports and pass tests in our Advanced Placement classes when we were too lazy busy to read.
The YouTube generation now has Thug Notes – hosted by the intellectual but ruggedly street Sparky Sweets, Ph.D. - who gives real talk on classics such as Animal Farm, Moby Dick, Pride and Prejudice, Of Mice and Men, Hamlet and more all in five minutes or less.
"The show was created out of Sparky's frustration with the state of academia. While pursuing his Ph.D. in Classics, he became disappointed by how academics were enshrouding the classics in a veil of academic 'one-upmanship,''' said Jacob Salamon, Sweets' press representative.
Salamon said Sweets' aim is to keep great literature from being exclusive to one educational and socioeconomic group, and to make it accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Many teachers and students have emailed him and left comments saying how much the videos have helped them learn literature in a way never done before.
"Teachers have used the show in their classrooms, and many students have said they find the combination of comedy and education refreshing, exciting and effective," Salamon said.
Sweets wants to educate and entertain, said Salamon. Why didn't this exist in 2006?
Here is the latest edition from Thug Notes on The Odyssey. The next Thug Notes will be on my favorite book - The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
The 2014 nominees for the Rock ‘n' Roll Hall of Fame were announced on Wednesday and several musical pioneers are on the list of 14 acts.
The headliners for the Class of 2014 are Nirvana, KISS, N.W.A., LL Cool J, Hall and Oates and Deep Purple. Other acts include The Replacements, the Meters, Linda Rondstadt, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Peter Gabriel, Cat Stevens, Link Wray and Yes and the Zombies, completing a list that spans 60 years of popular music.
Many of these acts are sure bets to make the hall of fame but will be without key members of their groups: Nirvana will be without front man Kurt Cobain, who committed suicide in 1994; gangster rappers N.W.A. will be without founding member Eric "Eazy E" Wright, who died of complications from AIDS in 1995.
Fans can vote on their favorite acts on the Rock ‘n' Roll Hall of Fame website until Dec. 10.
All nominees for the Hall of Fame are eligible 25 years after their first single or album is released, just so many of you don't feel old.
To honor at least one group, and to make many relive the early '90s, here's Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit.
Jam of the week: Eminem, Rap God (WARNING: THE FOLLOWING SONG CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE/LYRICS THAT MAY BE OFFENSIVE TO SOME) – The second single from The Marshall Mathers LP 2 definitely add to the notion that Slim Shady is back in his usual controversial way.
Gravity still remains in the No. 1 spot despite a strong showing by Hollywood titan Tom Hanks and Captain Phillips.
Here's last weekend's top 5, according to Box Office Mojo (listed next to previous week's ranking and weekend gross):
In theatres: Friday
The Fifth Estate – The drama on the beginnings of Wikileaks may or may not be based on the true events (Julian Assange seems to have a problem with it). The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Bruhl, Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie and Stanley Tucci.
12 Years a Slave – This film is sure to be a heavyweight throughout Oscar/Academy Awards season: the story of a free black man who was betrayed by associates and sold into slavery, where he spent 12 years of his life on a Southern plantation. The film's all-star cast includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Alfre Woodard, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Quvenzhané Wallis and Sarah Paulson.
Carrie – Yay, another remake! The classic Stephen King thriller that inspired the original 1970s film depicts a sheltered teenager who is bullied, but discovers her telekinesis holds a lethal power. It stars Chloe Grace Moretz and Julianne Moore.
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