New Hollywood Podcast: W. Kamau Bell Talks ‘United Shades Of America’, Spending Time With The KKK & Cultural Appropriation

By Dino-Ray Ramos, Amanda N'Duka

Stand-up comedian and activist W. Kamau Bell is known for many projects. He has two podcasts: “Politically Re-Active” with Hari Kondabolu as well as “Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor Of All Time Period” with Kevin Avery. He also has his own comedy special Private School Negro which debuts today on Netflix. He combines his talent for socio-political commentary and comedy in United Shades of Americaa different kind of CNN travel series that dives into lives of different communities around the country….and it all started with an episode where he talked to members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Bell visited the New Hollywood Podcast to talk about United Shades of America and his experience in witnessing a cross burning and spending time with the KKK in the deep South. The gut-wrenching episode still resonates three years later — he still gets messages from people who are worried about his well-being from that episode. He talks about his Bay Area socio-political upbringing and how it has influenced his career in stand-up comedy. We also dive deep into cultural appropriation in Hollywood, his interview with Richard Spencer, Kanye’s mid-life crisis and his campaign to reboot the overlooked CBS classic sitcom Frank’s Place. Listen to the episode below.

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