Sasheer Zamata

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Sasheer Zamata
Sasheer Zamata.jpg
Zamata in December 2016
Born Sasheer Zamata Moore[1]
(1986-05-06) May 6, 1986 (age 31)
Alma mater University of Virginia
Occupation Actress, comedian
Years active 2009–present

Sasheer Zamata Moore[1][2] (/zəˈmtə/; born May 6,[3] 1986),[4] known professionally as Sasheer Zamata,[3] is an American actress and comedian who was a cast member[3] on Saturday Night Live from January 18, 2014 until May 20, 2017. She also has served as a celebrity ambassador for the ACLU.

Early life[edit]

Zamata was raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is a graduate of Pike High School.[5] She is the daughter of Ivory Steward and Henry Moore, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force.[6] She stated her parents named her after the alien flower-like crystal called the "Sahsheer" from the Star Trek episode "By Any Other Name". [7] She attended the University of Virginia, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.[1][2] Zamata was a founding member of the University's long-form improv comedy troupe, Amuse Bouche.[8]

Career[edit]

Sasheer Zamata in 2011.

Zamata has performed regularly at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City since 2009.[9] Zamata co-starred in the ABC News hidden camera series Primetime: Would You Fall For That?[10] She was a cast member on MTV's series Hey Girl.[11] Zamata has also appeared in sketches on Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell and Inside Amy Schumer.[9] She stars in the webseries Pursuit of Sexiness.[11] Additionally, she has appeared in sketches for CollegeHumor.[12]

Videos on Zamata's YouTube channel include impersonations of Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Tyra Banks, and Beyoncé.[13]

Zamata also voices the character Sally in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Zombie mode.

Saturday Night Live[edit]

In 2014, Zamata joined the cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live (SNL) during its 39th season. She joined the SNL cast amid a season in which black cast members Jay Pharoah and Kenan Thompson, TV critics, and other black comedians had criticized Saturday Night Live for not being ethnically diverse (specifically, not hiring any black female cast members at the start of the new season and only having five of them in the near-40 years the show has been on the air).[14] Zamata is the first black female cast member on SNL since Maya Rudolph departed midway through the show's 33rd season in 2007.[14][15][16]

Zamata debuted on SNL as a featured player in the January 18, 2014 episode hosted by Drake,[17] in which she impersonated Rihanna.[18][19] She was promoted to repertory player in the first episode of Season 41.[20] Some of her recurring characters include Janelle, a teenage girl who hosts a Youtube channel called How 2 Dance with Janelle but is unaware of how her developing sexuality is coming off to viewers, and Keeley, a contestant on an African-American centric version of Jeopardy! called Black Jeopardy!. Some of her celebrity impressions have included the aforementioned Rihanna, Michelle Obama, Nicki Minaj, Beyonce Knowles, Solange Knowles, Diana Ross, Lupita Nyong'o, and Taraji P. Henson. She left the show after the season finale of season 42.[21]

The ACLU and Work with Women's Rights[edit]

Zamata was named a celebrity ambassador to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 2015, and began work with the Women's Rights Project.[22] The ACLU Women's Right's project seeks to break down gender biases and "ensure equal economic opportunities, educational equity, and an end to gender-based violence." [23] She has spoken out on gender discrimination in the U.S. today, and has advocated for equal rights among women of color, in particular.[24] In an interview with Allure Magazine, Zamata opened up about her experiences with discrimination and colorism.[25] Though often stigmatized for her darker skin tone, she hopes to turn her experiences into a message of self-acceptance and body positivity for women in all shades.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Friedman, Molly (January 8, 2014). "Sasheer Zamata's path to 'Saturday Night Live'". Daily News (Web ed.). New York City. ...Zamata, who at the time still used her last name, Moore, suffered during college. 
  2. ^ a b "Graduates and Degree Candidates" (PDF). University of Virginia. May 21, 2008. p. 39. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Bios: Sasheer Zamata / Featured Player". NBC. Retrieved January 18, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Sasheer Moore, 23: McCarren Park, Williamsburg, Brooklyn". Time Out New York. New York City. July 21, 2009. 
  5. ^ Scott, Jonathan (January 7, 2014). "Indy Native Sasheer Zamata Joins SNL Cast". Indianapolis Monthly. Emmis Communications. 
  6. ^ Lindquist, David (2014-01-09). "Sasheer Zamata's mom: 'SNL' player is late-night ready". Indystar.com. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  7. ^ ABC's Match Game Season 2 Episode 12, aired 14 May 2017; Zamata was a panelist for this episode, and the topic of her name came up when introduced by host Alec Baldwin.
  8. ^ "Friends & Alumni |". 4mcveys.com. Retrieved 2015-03-09. 
  9. ^ a b "UCB Theatre – Sasheer Zamata". Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  10. ^ ""WOULD YOU FALL FOR THAT?" AIRS FRIDAY, AUGUST 9, 9 PM ET ON ABC". ABC PR. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b O'Neal, Sean (January 6, 2014). "Saturday Night Live has officially added its first black female cast member in years". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 8, 2014. 
  12. ^ Friedman, Molly (January 8, 2014). "Sasheer Zamata's path to 'Saturday Night Live': 'SNL's' first black female cast member in several years, a star of the web series 'Pursuit of Sexiness,' shares a college and an improv troupe with Tina Fey". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  13. ^ "'SNL's' Sasheer Zamata: 5 Funny Sketches and Impersonations (Video)". Hollywoodreporter.com. January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b Rhodan, Maya (January 6, 2014). "SNL Finally Gets a Black Female Cast Member". Time. Time Warner. 
  15. ^ Gennis, Sadie. "Kenan Thompson Blames SNL's Diversity Issue on Lack of Talented Black Comediennes". TV Guide. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  16. ^ De Moraes, Lisa. "UPDATE: ‘SNL’ To Audition Black Female Cast Hopefuls Monday, Pick One For January Start". Deadline: Hollywood. Retrieved January 7, 2014. 
  17. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 6, 2014). "Sasheer Zamata Joins Saturday Night Live as New Cast Member". Deadline Hollywood. PMC. 
  18. ^ Thomas, Rebecca (January 19, 2014). "'Saturday Night Live': Sasheer Zamata Debuts, But How'd She Do? - Music, Celebrity, Artist News". MTV.com. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  19. ^ Chan, Robert (January 19, 2014). "Sasheer Zamata, the First Black Woman on 'SNL' in 6 Years, Makes Her Debut | Yahoo TV - Yahoo TV". Tv.yahoo.com. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  20. ^ "SNL Promotes Beck, Bennett and Sasheer to Repertory Players". Splitsider.com. 2015. 
  21. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Sasheer Zamata Leaving 'Saturday Night Live'". Antoinette Bueno. Entertainment Tonight. May 21, 2017. 
  22. ^ http://www.eurweb.com/2015/10/snls-sasheer-zamata-is-aclu-celebrity-ambassador-on-womens-rights/#
  23. ^ https://www.aclu.org/issues/womens-rights
  24. ^ https://www.aclu.org/blog/speak-freely/saturday-night-lives-sasheer-zamata-lets-talk-about-privilege
  25. ^ a b http://www.allure.com/story/sasheer-zamata-talks-diversity-in-hollywood

External links[edit]