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SilverStormm

United Shades of America

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Good to see him get back on TV again, with the Showtime special and CNN show.

 

Just in time for the elections.

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He was on The Daily Show last night. Trevor mentioned that he'd been a guest on Totally Biased, and I don't remember that. But it was nice to see Trevor say TB had been his favorite show, and a little sad to see WKB seem to almost be embarrassed by it, and to downplay its significance. I still miss TB, and while I will watch United Shades, and am expecting to think it's a good show, I think TB was one of the best things I've ever seen on TV. It completely changed my view of what might be possible to get on air, and made me feel less alone as I went about my daily life in what is a relatively liberal environment, but still extremely limited in terms of what I'd call awareness.

 

Or... did WKB have a different show that I'm unaware of? I can't remember if they actually said "Totally Biased" or if they just kept saying "your other show."

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WKB is going to be a contestant on the CNN Quiz Show this Sunday. (It airs here at 4 PM, so I'm assuming it'll be on at 7 on the East Coast.) Hoping he'll do better than last time, when he and teammate Morgan Spurlock went down to defeat.

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Ah, crap! I missed the CNN quiz show.  Anyone know if they re-air them?

 

Also - if you're in the NYC area: the Museum of the Moving Image is having a screening of United Shades on Wednesday.  It's free, but you must RSVP. More here.

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Ah, crap! I missed the CNN quiz show.  Anyone know if they re-air them?

I sat down to watch it yesterday, and noticed that my TiVo had moved the taping of the quiz show from yesterday to this coming Friday, so I don't know if it actually aired. Maybe it was bumped due to news coverage? (The CNN website now lists it as airing April 22 at 9 PM ET.)

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Someone over on Twitter mentioned that it's a good thing WKB is so tall; all those KKK guys actually had to look up to him.  Then again, that's probably just another reason for them to fear the black man!  I enjoyed the task force he met in Harrison AR; he showed remarkable restraint in not hauling off and hitting those three "new-age" racists.

 

It was a good show.  I didn't know there were going to be the interstitial bits of him on stage.

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I liked it a lot. I was amazed that the Klansman were so open about their racism. Of course, they didn't think of themselves as racist--just "pro white." 

 

I really like W. Kamau Bell. He's smart, funny, and personable. Although I live tweeted with him, and he didn't re-tweet any of my questions. Jerk. 

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I really like W. Kamau Bell. He's smart, funny, and personable. Although I live tweeted with him, and he didn't re-tweet any of my questions. Jerk. 

Ha, me neither, and he has responded to me in the past on Twitter, so I can only guess that he was getting deluged with questions and Tweets. He seemed surprised at first that CNN had put his Twitter handle up on the screen so prominently! #UnitedShades was trending, so I guess it paid off. Not bad considering the rest of the Sunday TV lineup (including a little show called "Game of Thrones").

 

He did answer one question (asked by somebody else) that my husband & I had wondered about: the bagpipe "Amazing Grace" during the cross burning, uh, cross LIGHTING scene was not added in post-production. The Klansmen were playing it on a boom box.

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I really like W. Kamau Bell. He's smart, funny, and personable. Although I live tweeted with him, and he didn't re-tweet any of my questions. Jerk. 

 

 

Ha, me neither, and he has responded to me in the past on Twitter, so I can only guess that he was getting deluged with questions and Tweets. He seemed surprised at first that CNN had put his Twitter handle up on the screen so prominently! #UnitedShades was trending, so I guess it paid off. Not bad considering the rest of the Sunday TV lineup (including a little show called "Game of Thrones").

 

He did answer one question (asked by somebody else) that my husband & I had wondered about: the bagpipe "Amazing Grace" during the cross burning, uh, cross LIGHTING scene was not added in post-production. The Klansmen were playing it on a boom box.

Me three on the lack of Twitter re-tweeting - and I complimented him on his restraint at not popping that dude in Harrison.

 

He did mention (either on The Daily Show, or Fresh Air) that Amazing Grace was playing on a boom box.  I think that's HI-larious!!! I'd never have thought that the Klan felt the need to soundtrack the "lightings".

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The show did well in the ratings, so maybe he'll get that second season order?

United Shades of America, a new eight-part series that follows W. Kamau Bell as he explores communities across the country and uses comedy to start conversations about race and how our differences unite and divide us, got off to a strong start.  In the provocative premiere episode, Bell meets the ‘new’ Ku Klux Klan, ranking #1 last night with 361k, +93% more than Fox News’ 187k and a whopping +668% advantage over MSNBC’s 47k.  In 18-34, United Shades had 119k to Fox News’ 50k to MSNBC’s 22k.  In total viewers, CNN had 855k, Fox News averaged 888k and MSNBC trailed with 292k.  Among all CNN Original Series season premieres, last night’s debut of United Shades ranks 5th among adults 25-54.
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Keep fingers crossed but I think Totally Biased had some peaks and valleys ratings-wise.

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It was a really interesting show, but deeply disturbing.

I was really surprised at the cross b̶u̶r̶n̶i̶n̶g̶ lighting that the Imperial Whatever had to read off his recitation/invocation. 

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I about swallowed my tongue when the one Klan guy compared himself and his hillbilly compadres to "the finest racehorses" because of their whiteness whilst delegating other races to the status of mules who cannot be deigned to mix DNA with. Are you kidding, dude? Your gene pool could only benefit from some of Bell's intelligence and wit. Take a look in the mirror, you are a middle aged, dumb as dirt white guy playing dressup in a tacky robe. Pitiful.

I enjoyed this to an extent, but also: scary.

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I loved when the KKK guy said that God made white people.  OMG!  LMAO!  Yep, the inbreeding is showing.  If we believe in Jesus then we must believe his middle eastern genes are the ones God created.  If we believe in DNA and science such as archeology then we know Africa is the cradle of civilization.  I am a huge buff of prehistoric people and now with DNA projects going world wide......Blacks have the most pure genes, not neanderthal, or denisovans.

http://web.mit.edu/racescience/in_media/what_dna_says_about_human/

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I enjoyed the San Quentin episode, but I was very disappointed that they only allowed the show to visit the one "level"-- as much as admitting they have a lot to hide.

I've read some books by prisoners, and seen a number of very interesting documentaries about life inside various prisons, including ones discussing programs offered inside (such as "Shakespeare Behind Bars" which I think Netflix has), and United Shades was the most sunny, sanitized one so far. I wonder if that was CNN's decision, or San Quentin's.

Not to say it wasn't interesting and worthwhile, but it was a very small corner of life inside, and didn't really show the horrors of the system in any meaningful way. It wouldn't really cause anyone to worry about the desperate need for reform, or understand the injustices of how people get there. They only gave the most casual reference to racial disparities in prosecution and sentencing!

So it was a weird feeling, watching this thing. I wonder if the underlying theme if every show is going to be how no matter where you go, the USofA is basically friendly even in the most unfriendly places, so don't fret about anything, since even the worst things our society has to offer are basically harmless, even if they aren't perfect.

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Yeah it felt like Kamau was fed model prisoners, especially those who worked at the newspaper probably were the best behaved.

He didn't really try to delve into the crimes and it was too neat to say that it was just one bad moment in their lives, that they're all contrite.

They were all first or second degree murders, with little chance of parole.  The Filipino guy said the most about his crime, because he got his nephew into prison and they ended up killing the wrong people.

The ex-marine guy was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder.  Now he has a parole board review coming up.  Certainly their motivation is to be in a level 2 prison where there are opportunities like the newspaper to do something with their time.  Many of these guys will never get out so there isn't any value to any vocational training.

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This episode did seem kind of tame, compared to the KKK ep. But for me, personally, just the sight of that meal Kamau had was enough to keep me on the straight and narrow. That barely resembled food. One of the containers contained just ketchup, and I wonder if that served as the vegetable. Yuck. Enough to make any foodie's hair stand on end.

I still haven't forgiven FX for treating "Totally Biased" so shoddily. It's good to have Kamau back.

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I couldn't believe WKB had the chutzpah to calmly chat with the KKK people in their own spaces -- church, playground, cross-on-fire. My stomach was in knots watching, even though I knew that obviously he made it out of there!

Some of this just mystifies me. I mean, the fact that people can be racist, by itself, makes a certain tribal sense. It seems to be human nature to believe you/your country/your family are the right kind of people and everyone else is doing it wrong. Some people learn to get past that base instinct, and others remain ignorant. I can understand that, even if I don't like it. What I fail to understand is how people can shoehorn this tribal hatred into CHRISTIANITY without their heads exploding. These KKK dudes actually believe that they are honoring Jesus with the cross-burning. They think they can be followers of Jesus and view race-mixing as worse than murder. I mean, THAT...I don't get it. It doesn't compute. I know that this kind of hypocritical embrace of evil has been around for about 2000 years, but it's a hell of a thing to watch in action in 2016. (I'm an atheist Jew, but unlike these KKK dudes, I've read the Gospels.)

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I never watched TB; I came to know Kamau from the Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor of All Time podcast, so now I'm excited to have a double dose of him weekly.

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I generally like this guy.  I'm not familiar with anything he's done before but I like him hosting this show.  He seems genuinely sweet and funny without being obnoxious.  Good looking too!

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Did anyone watch this weekend's Portland episode? I grew up in that city, and the diminished community feeling of the city due to gentrification is sad.

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On 5/5/2016 at 0:49 AM, IvySpice said:

These KKK dudes actually believe that they are honoring Jesus with the cross-burning. They think they can be followers of Jesus and view race-mixing as worse than murder.

It is crazy.  Especially since if Jesus did exist he would not be white.

The Portland episode was sad.  Hipster gentrification?  So wrong!

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When I was a wee lassie, I got to launch a weather balloon. It was incredibly cool to be picked out of my class's lineup, since I normally was overlooked for everything cool (or so I believed, I'm sure). So I was inordinately pleased by Kamau getting to do that this week too. I'm easily amused, what can I say.

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According to Wikipedia, July is the warmest month of the year in Barrow, with an average high of 47° F. No matter how lucrative the jobs are, no way I would ever want to live in a place like that! But it was an interesting episode.

I wonder if it'll be picked up by CNN for a second season? Next Sunday is the season finale, and I haven't heard anything about a season 2 yet.

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I like cold weather, but 90 below is fucking bonkers. BONKERS. I was bugging out at that lady talking about balmy weather, standing there in shorts. 

I laughed when Kamau said he didn't expect to see black people in AK. I met a black person from AK when I was in high school and I was like "Wait, do we live there?" I think his father was military and they were stationed there. He told me that his town had a fairly sizable black population, which surprised me.

On May 31, 2016 at 10:41 AM, topanga said:

Did anyone watch this weekend's Portland episode? I grew up in that city, and the diminished community feeling of the city due to gentrification is sad.

Me too. I'm not from Portland (never been) but I talk about gentrification a lot, because pretty much every city in which I, my friends, and my family live is affected by it. I appreciated when the one guy said flat-out that he was part of the problem, because I've talked to a number of folks who are not that self aware. My family has lived in Brooklyn for a hundred years, and they are not happy with folks Christopher Columbus-ing their neighborhoods.

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Kamau certainly has had to eat some nasty stuff for this show. That disgusting chili-mac in the prison episode and whale blubber this week. Yikes. The guy has a braver palate than I do, for sure.

I was offered a job in AK a number of years ago, and that closed-off-from-the-world feeling that I got watching Barrow was the main reason I turned it down. This town wasn't as far north as Barrow, but like it, was accessible only by plane, so it was pretty remote. It's always fun to get a candid look at such places.

I'm really enjoying this show. Too bad there's only one episode left. The "seasons" for the shows on some of these networks are so ridiculously short, they can't even be called "seasons", IMO.

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WKB is starting a new podcast with Hari Kondabolu, "Politically Re-Active."

I'm kind of getting the feeling that "United Shades" isn't going to be renewed (the fact that the season finale seems to have been postponed indefinitely -- WKB said on Twitter that he has no idea when it'll be shown), but he sure has a lot of other projects going.

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Yay, Season 2!!!!!

I love his book title The "Cisgender." Hee! Not a dis to transgender or gender-fluid people. Just funny. But Kamau is a funny dude.

Did the remainder of the Season 1 episodes ever air? I know they were put on hold for a while, and I stopped checking for them. 

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1 hour ago, topanga said:

Did the remainder of the Season 1 episodes ever air? I know they were put on hold for a while, and I stopped checking for them. 

The only one that hadn't aired was the Spring Break episode, which will now air as part of season 2.

There was a report on Twitter that WKB was spotted filming on the South Side of Chicago.

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Season Two news.

Quote

 

“United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell” returns to CNN April 30, Variety can reveal exclusively.

In the first episode of the new season, Bell delves into the lives of immigrants and refugees, and he interviews white nationalist Richard Spencer, who tells the host, “I want to bathe in white privilege.”

 

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Surprised to hear this is coming back for a second season.

Maybe after the election of Trump, CNN figures it's useful to have around.

I didn't even see the last episode of season 1, which was pre-empted or something when it was originally scheduled to air.  But it's available On Demand so will catch it.

I'd actually canceled the season pass on my DVR, just put it back on.

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Kamau will be on Fresh Air Monday, to promote his new memoir and the new season of the show.

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11 hours ago, scrb said:

urprised to hear this is coming back for a second season.

Maybe after the election of Trump, CNN figures it's useful to have around.

 

It was renewed and a lot of it filmed before the election.

I saw them filming in SF's Unions Square which I am pretty sure was in October but things run together and they did the intro segments for all the shows at The New Parish in Oakland in January right before the inauguration, I missed it but a few friends went, so I don't think the election had much to do with it.

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I was glad to see an episode on Natives and how the casinos do not equal wealth in all cases. When my students discuss Natives in class, the all seem to think the tribes have tons of money. This episode helped dispel that notion.

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The "Coal Country" episode was like something out of the tourism bureau's PR department. I don't mind showing the beauty and goodness of a place, but they really glossed over the problems to a degree I found lacking credibility. I wonder what happened in the editing room, because it was like watching an entirely different show than usual. I hope they aren't going for a permanent shift in tone for the show going forward.

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