Saturday Night Live writer Leslie Jones made her first on-air appearance on the show this past weekend, and wow did she make an impact. The black comedienne went on during Colin Josts' "Weekend Update" segment to congratulate Lupita Nyong'o's "Most Beautiful" award and ended up joking about the changing definition of black beauty.
Jones poked fun at honoring black women for being the most beautiful and argued in favor of a "most useful" category instead. She asked Colin if he would pick her or Lupita if he were faced with three Crips in a dark parking lot. He picked Jones, whose large frame and even larger personality might actually have a fighting chance against some gang members.
The way we view black beauty has changed. See, I’m single right now, but back in the slave days, I would have never been single. I’m six feet tall and I’m strong, Colin. Strong! I mean, look at me, I’m a mandingo ... I’m just saying that back in the slave days, my love life would have been way better. Massah would have hooked me up with the best brotha on the plantation ... I would be the #1 slave draft pick.
Did she just call herself a mandingo? Whaaa? Why?? But wait, there's more. Jones went on mimic making a pick for which plantation she would choose, but now she can't even get a date. "Now, I can’t even get a brotha to take me out for a cheap dinner," she said. "I mean, damn. Can a b— get a beef bowl?"
After the sketch aired, the backlash on social media was swift and rapid, because obviously she can't say that! Jones took to Twitter on Sunday to defend her jokes, and what she had to say about it is definitely worth taking to heart.
Ok I wasn't gonna say any thing 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 fucking morons. I was talking about being match to another strong brother ... Not being rape by 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 shit. 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 fuck 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 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.
This exactly why black people are where we are now cause we too fucking sensitive and instead of make 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 proud of where I came from and who I am.
Please tell me I'm not the only one that feels like giving Leslie Jones a slow clap. She's right -- she is one strong woman, obviously mentally and emotionally as well as physically. Saying her love life sucks now that we're out of slavery is a way of saying, "Thank God my lack of a boyfriend is my biggest gripe at the moment! #FirstWorldProblems."
Instead of being paired off with another slave for the sole purpose of popping out babies, she now has the freedom to choose how to live her life. She can even become a comedic writer for one of the most well-known shows ever and appear live on-screen to joke about how overcoming slavery has "ruined" her love life.
It's a joke, people. It shows grace and intelligence to be able to look at your painful roots of oppression with humor and not let it get you down. Bemoaning fake problems like not being involved in a romantic relationship because you weren't forced into an arranged marriage is a good way to keep perspective on how far we've come.
Besides, she showed some awesome pride in the strength of her own body rather than feeling awkward or ashamed for not fitting into today's stereotypical definition of beauty. She is owning it out there, and that's the furthest thing I can think of from being oppressed. In fact, I think she's rather inspired.
Do you think Jones was off-base with her jokes?
Image via SNL/Hulu