Emmy-nominated United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell is an eight-part CNN Original Series that follows the sociopolitical comedian as he explores subcultures across the county using humor to start a conversation about race and how our differences unite and divide us.
Each episode of the hour-long series strives to show that our country is not built upon just one, by many diverse and colorful definitions of America.
I became acutely aware of Bell when I stumbled upon his episode and interview with the Imperial Wizard of the KKK during his first season. I thought anyone brave and bold enough to have that conversation has my full and undivided attention.
This season, I was treated to an episode very timely titled, “Immigrants & Refugees”. Living in a country where our Cheeto-In-Chief is itching to give the boot to hundreds of thousands of people who have helped “Make America Great” is disturbing to say the least. Mostly, due to the fact that his wife is an immigrant and so was his father.
Kamau finds himself in the nation’s capital the day after the Presidential election and is gleefully steeped in the extraordinary stories of ambitious immigrants, as well as, those who have escaped to seek a safer life. Bell literally goes from meeting the Mayor of Gaithersburg, Maryland (which apparently is the most diverse city in the US) to having a sit down with Alt-Right leader Richard Spencer (who happily confesses “I want to bathe in white privilege”).
Meeting with a young man who escaped the a father who was beating him and his sister with a machete gives a whole new meaning to abuse and made me really appreciate being born in America to sane parents. Gaining insight into an immigrant/refugee home specifically for the LGBT community educated me on how far we really have to go with the subject of inclusion.
While I appreciate Bell’s encouragement to “debate the message”, my curiosity can’t wait for the episode which he debates whether or not he should buy a gun. Did you know that there is a class in Atlanta, GA on “arming while black”? Me neither…but I will be sure to turn into the United Shades of America to find out where, when and how.
United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell will premiere its second season April 23rd on CNN. Check your local listings for times.