On September 16, 2019, YouTube star and cross-cultural kid Lilly Singh burst into the U. S. mainstream, premiering her new late-night talk show, A Little Late with Lilly Singh (ALL). Airing on NBC every weeknight at 1:30 a.m. ET/12:30 a.m. CT, Singh’s show makes her the first female late-night host on the network.
Born and raised in Canada, Singh grew up bridging the gap between Canadian culture and her parents’ Indian culture. Singh’s presence in the late-night space on a major network is huge progress in intersectional representation on television because, in addition to her cross-cultural identity, she is also a woman of color who openly identifies as bisexual. Her openness about her identity provides a breath of fresh air in a primarily white, male-dominated field and helps to represent a population that is not often shown.
In the opening monologue of ALL’s premiere, Singh uses her newfound TV platform to discuss why representation matters and raps the bulk of her message, beginning:
Hello, my name is Lilly and I ain’t a white man/My skin got some color and it ain’t a spray tan/I know you’re used to only Jimmy’s in the spotlight/But I’mma throw some melanin up in your late night.
In the three minute, 39-second performance, she discusses everything from growing up as a CCK to reproductive rights and sexuality to the pay gap to politics to representation in her writers’ room.
My writers’ room look like a mini United Nations/More than 50 percent women and people of all races/And that’s not because I had to/It’s because I could/This the new standard, so take notes Hollywood.
Singh’s new position in late-night television is a massive step forward in diversity and representation in mainstream media. While her YouTube fame garnered millions of followers and subscribers, getting her own show exposes her to a brand-new audience. Reaching new demographics and having open conversations about identity on television will not only help to create a more open-minded and empathetic population, but also help to represent the voices that are often ignored by the powers that be.
Catch A Little Late with Lilly Singh on NBC, weeknights at 1:30 a.m. ET/12:30 a.m. CT.