Neal Marshall Black Culture Center Reunion – W. Kamau Bell

By Crystal Hill

After a full day of events, attendees of the Neal Marshall Black Culture Center Alumni Reunion shuffled into the Whittenberger Auditorium at 6:00 pm. for a comedic performance by comedian W. Kamau Bell. Bell is a comedian, social activist, and social justice commentator. The performance was put on by the union board, and was free for both students, and non-students.

Bell gave a two hour long performance that consisted of social and political commentary, namely about the subject of race. Bell used humor to discuss a series of controversial issues and pulled no punches when it came to calling out explicit acts of racism. Bell challenged notions of being color blind and the thought of living in a  “post-racial society” in America.

Accompanied with a slide show, Bell offered a funny and thoughtful commentary on how America handles issues of race, race tensions, what racism is [and isn’t], and what we can do to help eliminate or identify racism. No topic was off limits for Bell, who approached many topics along the spectrum of contemporary society. From having an African-American president, to the characters in the hunger games, to Kim Kardashian, Bell managed to delve into all of these through a racial lens.

Bell’s jokes were frequently met with applause and laughter, as well as some disapproving groans. He did not hesitate to engage the audience and even asked white people and black people in the audience to loudly express pride for their race. “Pride is a good thing,” Bell said excitedly.

The highlight of the performance appeared to be when Bell launched into a spiel about what questions should never be posed to black people. Loud shouts of affirmation echoed through the auditorium, along with laughter and nodding heads as Bell recounted his experiences being asked awkward and invasive questions about everything from his hair to his interracial marriage.

Kamau Bell has a show called “Totally Biased” that airs nightly at 11pm on FX network .


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