SNL‘s Stereotype-Filled Africa Sketch — & Adele’s Reaction — Is Facing Backlash

Photo: Courtesy of NBC.
British superstar Adele made her highly anticipated Saturday Night Live hosting debut this weekend, but unfortunately left people more unsettled than elated.
During a particular sketch called "Africa Tourism" alongside Kate McKinnon and Heidi Gardner, the 15-time Grammy winner broke character and couldn't stop laughing. The three white women played divorcées advertising tourism to Africa, praising the continent using sexual innuendoes about having sex with well-endowed "tribesmen."
Adele started cracking up over lines like "I found such a deep, deep connection here" and when she said that visitors would enjoy the "massive bamboos." Shirtless Black men walked by carrying white women on their shoulders in the background throughout the sketch.
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People historically love seeing SNL actors break character (especially the more seasoned comedians) — so much so that there are countless YouTube supercuts dedicated to it. So a lot of people found Adele — who is rumoured to be in a relationship with Nigerian rapper Skepta — breaking character to be very funny and endearing. But others were upset by the sketch, saying that it was perpetuating racist stereotypes about Black men and objectifying them. Historically, Black men (and women) have been fetishized and even targeted based on racist stereotypes that they are well-endowed or more sexual.
And while you can blame it on the SNL writers, many felt that Adele laughing along with the sketch, especially given the fact that she's been in hot water recently for cultural appropriation (she posted an Instagram wearing Bantu knots), and especially especially given that Nigerians are currently fighting for their lives and protesting against rampant police abuse, doesn't look good. Others also pointed out that in contrast, musical guest H.E.R.'s band was wearing "#EndSARS" shirts in support of Nigerian protests.
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