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Sasheer Zamata

Sasheer Zamata
Zamata performing at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival
Born
Sasheer Zamata Moore[1]

(1986-05-06) May 6, 1986 (age 37)
EducationUniversity of Virginia (BA)
Occupations
  • Actress
  • comedian
Years active2005–present

Sasheer Zamata Moore[1][2] (/səˈʃɪər zəˈmtə/; born May 6, 1986)[3][4] is an American actress, stand-up comedian, and writer. Zamata is best known for her tenure as a cast member[3] on the NBC sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live from 2014 to 2017. Since her departure from SNL, she has garnered wider attention for her leading roles in the TV series Woke (2020–2022) and Home Economics (2021–2023). She has served as a celebrity ambassador for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Early life

Zamata is the daughter of American parents, Ivory Steward and Henry Moore, a lieutenant colonel in the US Air Force.[5] She was born in Okinawa, Japan, because of her father's military career.[6] She is the great-granddaughter of Leroy Washington Mahon, a formerly enslaved man who founded the town of Fargo, Arkansas.[7]

Zamata was raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is a graduate of Pike High School.[8] She stated her parents named her after the alien flower-like crystal called the "Sahsheer" from the Star Trek episode "By Any Other Name".[9]

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.[10] While a student at UVA, she participated in the Disney College Program for one semester, where she portrayed various costumed characters.[11]

Career

Zamata in 2011

Zamata has performed regularly at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City since 2009.[12] She co-starred in the ABC News hidden camera series Would You Fall for That?[13] and was a cast member on MTV's series Hey Girl.[14] Zamata also appeared in sketches on Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell and Inside Amy Schumer.[12] She stars in the webseries Pursuit of Sexiness.[14] Additionally, she has appeared in sketches for CollegeHumor.[15]

Videos on Zamata's YouTube channel include impersonations of Michelle Obama, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Tyra Banks, and Beyoncé.[16]

Zamata also voices the character Sally in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Zombie mode. In 2021, Zamata voiced the character Mary in Muppets Haunted Mansion.

She co-hosts Best Friends, a podcast with best friend and fellow comedian, Nicole Byer.[17]

Saturday Night Live

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 TV critics and black comedians had criticized the show 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).[18] Zamata was the first black female cast member on SNL since biracial Maya Rudolph departed midway through the show's 33rd season in 2007.[18][19][20]

Zamata debuted on SNL as a featured player in the January 18, 2014 episode hosted by Drake,[21] in which she impersonated Rihanna.[22][23] She was promoted to repertory player in the first episode of Season 41.[24] 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, Kerry Washington, Nicki Minaj, Beyoncé, Solange Knowles, Diana Ross, Lupita Nyong'o, and Taraji P. Henson. She left the show in 2017 after the season 42 finale.[25]

ACLU and work with women's rights

Zamata was named a celebrity ambassador to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 2015, and began work with the Women's Rights Project.[26] The ACLU Women's Rights project seeks to break down gender biases and "ensure equal economic opportunities, educational equity, and an end to gender-based violence".[27] She has spoken out on gender discrimination in the U.S. today, and has advocated for equal rights among women of color, in particular.[28] In an interview with Allure, Zamata opened up about her experiences with discrimination and colorism. She has stated that although she has often been 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.[29]

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
2005 Sticks and Stones Short film
2009 Michelle Obama's Breaking Point Michelle Obama Short film
2010 Tyra Banks Exclusive 2010 Tyra Banks Short film
2011 Subway Rush Short film
2012 White Powder Short film
2012 Three to One Short film
2013 Black Superheroes Short film
2013 Tie Short film
2013 Best Buy Real Home Theater Experience Short film
2013 Little Horribles Short film
2014 The Re-Gift ACE Party Girl Short film
2014 The Crumb of It Sasheer Short film
2014 Intimate Semaphores Sasheer Segment "Cake"
2014 Grow a Guy Friend Short film
2015 The Jay Z Story Beyoncé Knowles Short film
2015 Prom Queen Teacher #2 Short film
2016 Sleight Georgi
2016 Yoga Hosers Principal Invincible
2017 Deidra & Laney Rob a Train Ms. Spencer
2017 The Outdoorsman Mona
2018 I Feel Pretty Tasha
2018 The Weekend Zadie Barber
2020 Spree Jessie Adams
2021 The Mitchells vs. the Machines Jade Voice

Television

Year Title Role Notes
2010 Acid Tests Karen
2011 Beyonce as a Mommy Beyonce
2011 Jest Originals Chelsea Episode: "TOMS 'One 4 One' Gone Wrong"
2012 Blue Ivy Episode: "Blue Ivy in the Nursery"
2012 UCB Live! Herself
2012–2013 Fodder Various 14 episodes
2012–2015 CollegeHumor Originals Various 5 episodes
2013 The Morning After Herself Episode: "Once You Go Black..."
2013 Thingstarter Woman on Street Episode: "iNotRacist"
2013 PITtv Mom Episode: "Gay-Doh"
2013 Above Average Presents Various 3 episodes
2013 Inside Amy Schumer Sales Girl Episode: "Bad Decisions"
2013 Would You Fall for That? Herself
2013–2015 UCB Comedy Originals Various 9 episodes
2013–2015 Pursuit of Sexiness Sheer Main cast
2014 Dream Jobs Madison
2014 Inside Amy Schumer Tess Episode: "Slut-Shaming"
2014–2017 Saturday Night Live Herself/Various Main cast; 74 episodes
2015 Lucas Bros. Moving Co. Blackneficent Voice, episode: "For the Love of Moving"
2016 Night Train with Wyatt Cenac Episode: "Cleve & Steve"
2016 Transparent Asra Episode: "Elizah"
2016 People of Earth Marcy Episode: "Significant Other"
2016 Albert Maisie Voice, television film
2017 The Special Without Brett Davis Episode: "Raddisson"
2017 Sasheer Zamata: Pizza Mind Herself Internet streaming special
2017 BoJack Horseman Jewelry Store Clerk Voice, episode: "Ruthie"
2017 At Home with Amy Sedaris Ms. Stern Episode: "Making Love"
2017–2018 Loosely Exactly Nicole Kim Whitfield Recurring
2019 Corporate Jessica Recurring
2019 Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Guest Correspondent Episode: 110 (Season 4)
2019 Historical Roasts Rosa Parks Episode: "Martin Luther King Jr."
2020 Finding Your Roots Herself Episode: "Homecomings"
2020 The Last O.G. Isis 3 episodes
2020 Robbie Ava Main cast
2020–2022 Woke Ayana Main cast
2020 The George Lucas Talk Show Herself Episode: "Yoda Hosers"
2020 The Fungies! Cool Mom / Mama Lemon Voice, 2 episodes
2021 Tuca & Bertie Kara Voice
2021–2023 Home Economics Denise Main cast
2021 Muppets Haunted Mansion Mary TV special
2023–present Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Adria Lafayette, Flying Fox Voice, main cast
2023 Waco: The Aftermath Angie Graham 4 episodes
2024 Agatha: Darkhold Diaries Jennifer Kale
Video game roles
Year Title Role
2016 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: Zombies in Spaceland Sally

References

  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). virginia.edu. University of Virginia. May 21, 2008. p. 39. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "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. ^ Lindquist, David (January 9, 2014). "Sasheer Zamata's mom: 'SNL' player is late-night ready". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  6. ^ Finding Your Roots, January 7, 2020
  7. ^ "Sasheer Zamata's Great-Grandfather Founded the Town of Fargo". Finding Your Roots. Retrieved June 22, 2022.
  8. ^ Scott, Jonathan (January 7, 2014). "Indy Native Sasheer Zamata Joins SNL Cast". Indianapolis Monthly. Emmis Communications.
  9. ^ "12". Match Game. Season 2. ABC. May 14, 2017. Zamata was a panelist for this episode, and the topic of her name came up when introduced by host Alec Baldwin.
  10. ^ "Friends & Alumni |". 4mcveys.com. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  11. ^ "Sasheer Zamata Tells Desus and Mero About Her College Job at Disney World". messynessychic.com. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "UCB Theatre – Sasheer Zamata". Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  13. ^ ""Would You Fall for That?" Airs Friday, August 9, 9 p.m. ET on ABC". ABC PR. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "'SNL's' Sasheer Zamata: 5 Funny Sketches and Impersonations (Video)". Hollywood Reporter. January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 31, 2014.
  17. ^ Zamata, Sasheer; Byer, Nicole. "Best Friends". Spotify.
  18. ^ a b Rhodan, Maya (January 6, 2014). "SNL Finally Gets a Black Female Cast Member". Time. Time Warner.
  19. ^ Gennis, Sadie. "Kenan Thompson Blames SNL's Diversity Issue on Lack of Talented Black Comediennes". TV Guide. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  20. ^ De Moraes, Lisa (December 13, 2013). "UPDATE: 'SNL' To Audition Black Female Cast Hopefuls Monday, Pick One For January Start". Deadline: Hollywood. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  21. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (January 6, 2014). "Sasheer Zamata Joins Saturday Night Live as New Cast Member". Deadline Hollywood. PMC.
  22. ^ 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.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ "SNL Promotes Beck, Bennett and Sasheer to Repertory Players". Splitsider.com. 2015.
  25. ^ Antoinette Bueno (May 21, 2017). "Sasheer Zamata Leaving 'Saturday Night Live'". Entertainment Tonight.
  26. ^ Report, Electronic Urban (October 29, 2015). "'SNL's' Sasheer Zamata is ACLU Celebrity Ambassador on Women's Rights - EURweb".
  27. ^ "Women's Rights", American Civil Liberties Union
  28. ^ "Saturday Night Live's Sasheer Zamata: Let's Talk About Privilege". October 20, 2015.
  29. ^ Siegael, Elizabeth (March 21, 2017). "Saturday Night Live's Sasheer Zamata Speaks Out About Colorism". Allure. Condé Nast. Retrieved May 3, 2019.
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Sasheer Zamata
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