Don’t say you haven’t been warned: Saturday Night Live writer Leslie Jones’ on-screen debut this weekend — built around the idea that her romantic prospects would’ve been much better “back in the slave days” — may merely have been an opening salvo.
Indeed, the comic took to Twitter last night to address critics of her “Weekend Update” monologue — and not only did she eschew contrition, she promised to “go even harder” going forward.
For those of you who missed the bit (embedded at the end of this post), Jones’ used Lupita Nyong’o’s making the cover of People magazine’s “Most Beautiful” issue as a jumping off point to lament her own single status, then segued into an eyebrow-raising spiel about how her strong, 6-ft. frame would’ve made her the “No. 1 slave draft pick” and how “Master would’ve hooked me up with the best brother on the plantation and every nine months, I’d be in the corner having a super-baby.”
In the wake of social media response to the piece, Jones seemed particularly upset by negative response from black viewers. We’ve transcribed Jones’ 17 Tweets into one full statement below (with just a few edits from Twitter-ese for clarity/grammar):
“OK, I wasn’t gonna say anything because I know that dumb people know how to use the computer too, but now this is so ridiculous. Where is the rape, idiots? I said nothing about rape you f—ing morons. I was talking about being match[ed] to another strong brother. Not being raped by [a] white man. What part of this joke that wasn’t true? I would have been used for breeding straight up. That’s my reality.
And it saddens me that BLACK PEOPLE bitch and moan about the most stupid s—. I’m a comic, it is my job to take things and make them funny, to make you think. Especially the painful things. Why are y’all so mad? This joke was written from the pain that one night I realized that black men don’t really f— with me and why am I single. And that in slave days I would have always had a man cause of breeding. If anybody should be offended, it is white folks, ’cause it’s what they did. Y’all so busy trying to be self-righteous, you miss what the joke really is. Very sad I have to defend myself to black people. Now I’m betting if Chris Rock or Dave Chappelle did that joke, or if Jay Z or Kanye put in a rap, they would be called brilliant. ‘Cause they all do this type of material. Just ’cause it came from a strong black woman who ain’t afraid to be real, y’all mad.
So here is my announcement black folks: You won’t stop me and I’m gonna go even harder and deeper now. Cause it’s a shame that we kill each other instead of support each other. This exactly why black people are where we are now, ’cause we’re too f—ing sensitive, and instead of making lemonade out of lemons, we just suck the sour juice from the lemons.
Wake up. I wouldn’t be able to do a joke like that if I didn’t know my history or wasn’t proud of where I came from and who I am. My dad is the biggest militant in the world, and he would have loved that joke. My grandmother went to jail for whooping two white men asses for attacking her; she also was 6’2 and strong. And she laughed her ass off. Get over yourself and you might as well get used to it, ’cause I’m good at what I do and I ain’t going NOWHERE!
Sorry, I had a moment, can’t [win] over the haters; I am not the jackass whisperer. That is all…”
It’s worth noting that earlier this season, SNL faced widespread criticism after cast member Kenan Thompson said the show had failed to hire a black female cast member since Maya Rudolph’s exit in 2007 because “in auditions, they just never find ones that are ready.”
In January, SNL added Sasheer Zamata to its cast, and shortly thereafter added Jones and fellow African American LaKendra Tookes to its writing team.
What did you think of Jones’ “Weekend Update” debut? Would you like to see more of her edgy brand of comedy or was her slavery-themed monologue a misfire? Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments!