SNL to hire first black female performer since 2007

BY newsdesk  December 13, 2013 at 5:42 PM EST

Under fire for the absence of black female performers, Saturday Night Live held special auditions Monday night for seven to eight performers in order to find a new cast member come January. Executive producer Lorne Michaels told The New York Times Thursday he’s committed to that timetable.

The last female black performer at S.N.L. was Maya Rudolph, who left in 2007.

“All told we’ve seen about 25 people,” Michaels said. “A lot of the people we saw are really good. Hopefully we’ll come out of the process well.”

The criticism began when cast member Kenan Thompson announced he did not want to continue performing as black women in drag, and fellow black cast member Jay Pharaoh said the show needs to hire a black woman.