The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6'4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian

"Some families have hardware stores. My family--especially me and my mother--has thinking about racism." W. Kamau Bell, host of CNN's United Shades of America, has experienced a lifetime of being on the outside. A blerd (black nerd) in school, Bell took little interest in sports or popular music, opting instead for comic books, martial arts and John Coltrane. When he started his career in comedy, he didn't fit in with the typical stand-up artists so he chose to make his own space with a multimedia solo stage show called The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour. And as a 6'4" African American male, he deals daily with being under-represented in all walks of life. The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell is a series of heartfelt, humorous essays about all of these aspects of Bell, as well as his roles as father, husband, friend, celebrity, even podcast host. Throughout, racism is intimately tied to it all.

At turns sarcastic, poetic and enraged, Bell's language is potent. His own realization of how racism intersects with other forms of discrimination, like sexism, broadens his platform and embraces a wide audience. Awkward Thoughts is definitely entertaining, but it also invites readers to look through different eyes. And those who aren't inspired to take action will at least have considered a new view. As Bell says, "that's progress." --Jen Forbus, freelancer

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