On May 20, Sasheer Zamata took her final bow on the Saturday Night Live stage, leaving some viewers disheartened and confused.
The 31-year-old comedian joined the show in it’s 38th season in 2014, at a time where the show was being criticized for its lack of diversity. She was the first Black female cast member since the departure of Maya Rudolph seven years prior.
While Zamata never publicly announced her departure, she posted on Instagram the Sunday morning after her final appearance.
This was also the final episode for cast members Bobby Moynihan and Vanessa Bayer. Their planned exits had been announced weeks in advance, however, and as Vanity Fair points out, both have enjoyed recent success via film and new television projects that make their departures unsurprising.
SNL has poked fun at its own lack of diversity in the past, including a 2013 skit starring Kerry Washington as Michelle Obama, Beyoncé and Oprah that criticized for being “arrogant and not funny” for choosing to make light of the issue while failing to address it.
“It’s not like it’s not a priority for us,” longtime show runner Lorne Michaels said in an interview shortly before the Washington episode. “It will happen. I’m sure it will happen.”
Which it did — they hired Zamata shortly afterwards, along with two Black female writers, Leslie Jones and LaKendra Tookes. Unfortunately, it seems the attempt at diversifying the cast and writer’s room failed to create space for memorable Black female characters.
A rep for the actress did not immediately respond to a request for a statement; NBC declined to comment.