On Tuesday night, Doug Jones became the first Democratic candidate to win a Senate race in Alabama since 1992. This was thanks in large part to massive black voter turnout—and in particular, to black women, who made up 17 percent of voters and overwhelmingly chose Jones over opponent Roy Moore. Late-night comedy is still an overwhelmingly white and male scene, but on Wednesday night, Seth Meyers and Trevor Noah stepped back and let their black, female contributors seize the limelight for a victory lap—and some advice about what to do next.
Dulcé Sloan over at The Daily Show accepted Trevor Noah’s thanks on behalf of Alabama’s black women (even though she isn’t from Alabama) and pointed out just how thoroughly they came through compared to other demographics: “The only thing 98 percent of black women agree on is: No Roy Moore, Idris Elba is fine as hell, and do not get our hair wet.”
Sloan was also happy to accept the gratitude of white people, though she stressed that black voters voted for Jones out of self-interest. “You’re welcome, white people,” she said. “You’re welcome. But let’s be honest, we didn’t do it for you—we did it for ourselves. No black woman cast her vote going, This one’s for Scott! Fuck Scott.” If white people really want to say “thank you,” she suggests they do so in a language that matters—maybe by eliminating those voter suppression laws?
Amber Ruffin, a writer for Late Night With Seth Meyers, had another suggestion for white people: that they follow black women’s example in a rare, positive example of cultural appropriation. “So while you’re busy appropriating our music and our fashion and our big fat booties, try appropriating our common sense,” she said. “Stop trying to rap and start getting up on a Tuesday to go vote.”
Like Sloan, Ruffin was more than ready to say “you’re welcome” for saving Alabama, but added, “when you’re done thanking us, why don’t you try voting for us and putting a few of us in office so we can run this shit?”