Posted on February 28, 2016

W. Kamau Bell Blends Comedy and Activism at UNT Performance

Student Life

Stand-up comedian W. Kamau Bell stopped by the University Union Ballroom Thursday night to perform his comedy lecture “The W. Kamau Bell Curve: How to End Racism in About an Hour” for UNT students and faculty.

With a few hundred people in attendance, Bell talked and joked about the primary causes of racism and, as advertised, how to end it. Bell discussed the hypocrisies that exist in everyday things we do in our lives. He covered topics ranging from President Barack Obama to the Oscars controversy to Black Lives Matter, even shedding light on the fact that only one black person has ever been picked as Sexiest Man Alive by “People” (despite the title existing for over 30 years).

“The thing about racism—it’s not just anecdotal,” Bell said. “There is actual proof of racism happening that needs to be talked about too.”

Bell began his career in the San Francisco comedy scene and is the former host of FXX’s television series “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.” He has done two stand-up shows, and in 2013 was named the American Civil Liberties Union celebrity ambassador on racial justice. He co-hosts the podcast “Denzel Washington is the Greatest Actor Ever Period,” with fellow comedian Kevin Avery and is the host of a new show called “United Shades of America,” premiering in April on CNN.

One of the pivotal moments of the performance was when Bell showed a news clip that involved him personally being subjected to racial profiling, in which he was talking to his wife (a white woman) and her friends and was told to “scram.” He said he is still asked today how he knows it was racism.

“I’m an expert in racism,” Bell said. “We’re in like the Ph.D. level racism seminars all day. And we didn’t sign up for the class, but we’re in the class.”

Bell compared the question to asking someone, “Who had pizza for lunch?” and, “How they can be sure it was pizza?” He said the main issue with the incident was white people don’t hold each other accountable, saying black people are expected to be “the spokesperson for the race” when something bad happens, but the same is not expected from white people.

He used this to call on white people to hold each other accountable the same way we look for black people to, for instance: holding Donald Trump liable for when he is talking about “punching people in the face.”

“I know a lot of white people say ‘oh well I’m not voting for him [Trump],’ but it’s not about that,” Bell said. “White people, get your boy. The way we have to get our people.”

Bell closed by saying white people were missing “white pride,” and it’s something they need to have, even going as far as asking all the white people in the audience to chant “I’m white and I’m proud!”

“You need to find something to be prideful about,” Bell said. “Black people have this whole month of trivia to be proud of. White people you have things you can be proud of too.”

Photo by: Will Baldwin

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