Comedian W. Kamau Bell took a big risk to jump off his new CNN show The United Shades Of America, and it paid off.
For the premier episode that aired on Sunday (April 24), Bell went to rural Arkansas, drove down a country road in the middle of the night and met an active member of the Ku Klux Klan. Not just any member either. He met with the Imperial Wizard of the International Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. In short, the president of the organization.
In the brief encounter, Bell asks why KKK members still wear their white robes, how they feel they differ from the Klan of the past and what are the qualifications to join.
But the most interesting part of the meeting comes when Bell tells the Klan member that he, an African-American, is married to a White woman. To that, the Klan member says that their interracial marriage is an abomination. He also goes on to say that interracial marriage is higher on the sin list than murder. Yes, he thinks that. Check out the video to hear it for himself.
According to Deadline, the episode clocked some big numbers ratings wise:
About 900K viewers caught W. Kamau Bell’s visit with the Ku Klux Klan on the debut of his new CNN series United Shades of America Sunday night at 9 PM ET. Kamau & KKK got edged out by Fox News’ 888K in the timeslot, but torched MSNBC’s 292K.
In the news demo, Bell clocked No. 1 in timeslot among cable news networks with 361K viewers aged 25-54 – 93% more viewers than Fox News’s 187K and 668% ahead of MSNBC’s 47K. Among all CNN Original Series season premieres, last night’s debut of United Shades ranks 5th among adults 25-54.
Be sure to check out W. Kamau Bell’s interview with Bossip’s Don’t Be Scared podcast on Wednesday, April 26.