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United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell

United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell

  • Premiered: 
    April 24, 2016
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: CNN
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Current Events
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(That We Know Of)
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Plot Synopsis

UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA is a one-hour series that follows comedian and political gadfly W. Kamau Bell as he accepts the challenge to boldly explore the far corners of America and its various groups and subcultures. Along the way, he asks questions, gets himself into some awkward and at times unpredictable situations, and makes people laugh. Kamau travels from the far corners of Alaska to Florida's retirement homes to America's most notorious prison, revealing the diverse and colorful definitions of America. In the premiere episode, Kamau heads to the South to challenge the 'new' Ku Klux Klan. This generation of Klansmen claims they have rebranded and Kamau must see for himself.

On Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 10pm ET/PT, CNN premiered the eight-episode second season of UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA WITH W. KAMAU BELL. The second season covers topical issues including immigration, gun control and violence in Chicago, as well as explores the experiences of Muslims, Puerto Ricans, Chinese Americans and Native Americans in this country. In the season two premiere, Kamau heads to D.C. and its multicultural suburbs to hear the stories of immigrants and refugees, and sits down with Richard Spencer, leader of the white supremacist think tank the National Policy Institute.

Season 3 of UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA premiered on Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 10:15pm ET/PT on CNN, as W. Kamau Bell heads to the U.S.-Mexico border to find out what life is like for the people who live there. Later in the eight-episode third season, Bell visits the coast of South Carolina to meet the Gullah Geechee people, travels to Hawaii to talk to natives, heads up north to Canada, meets with students at Historical Black Colleges and Universities, explores Sikhism in America, talks to members of the disabled community, and visits his dad in Mobile, Alabama to retrace his family roots.

The fourth season of UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA premiered on Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 10pm ET/PT on CNN. In the season opener, "Megachurches," Bell heads to Dallas, the home of the megachurch, to learn about the business of megachurches and to discover what is creating the new face of Christianity today in a city where church and state are far from separate. In subsequent episodes he will explore the experiences of Hmong Americans, black Midwesterners, white activists in Seattle, women fighting for reproductive justice in Mississippi, the LGBTQ+ community in Salt Lake City, and residents of D.C. that represent a vibrant culture distinct from the politics surrounding them.

UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA returned for its eight-episode fifth season on Sunday, July 19, 2020 at 10pm ET/PT on CNN, with W. Kamau Bell continuing to explore communities across the country to understand the unique challenges they face. In the season opener, "Where Do We Even Start With White Supremacy?," Bell heads to Pittsburgh to examine white supremacy and systemic racism in America. In subsequent episodes, he explores independent farming, the gig economy, reparations, the homeless crisis in LA, the public education system, and the experiences of Iranian Americans in NYC and Venezuelans in Florida.
On Sunday, August 30, 2020 from 9-11pm ET/PT, CNN premiered the Season 5 finale of UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA, debuting back-to-back new episodes:

"Iranian-Americans in NY" (9pm): Kamau visits New York City to talk to recent Iranian immigrants and those who came here decades ago.

"The Homeless Crisis in LA" (10pm): Kamau spends time on the notorious Skid Row in Los Angeles and explores its racial, socio-economic and statistical dynamics.

Production & Distribution

  • Produced by Objective Productions
  • Produced by Main Event Media