Lectures Coordinate Board to bring W. Kamau Bell to speak at Macalester

The Lectures Coordination Board (LCB) with Campus Activities and Operations (CAO) has invited W. Kamau Bell to deliver his talk, ‘The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour.’

The event will take place on Wednesday, March 11 at Kagin Commons, in the Alexander G. Hill Ballroom.

W. Kamau is a San Francisco-based sociopolitical stand-up comedian, known for his role as former-host on the TV show Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, which was featured on FX and FXX.

As part of the selection process, Suresh Mudragada, Assistant Director of CAO, said that because the fall speaker, Ezra Klein, “focused on political climates,” the spring focus would be on race and media.

“Bell came up with his rising popularity and his experience as a comedian that would be different from other speakers we’d looked into,” Mudragada said.

LCB members Zane Vorhes-Gripp ’17, Annie Gurvis ’15, and Cole Yates ’17 encouraged students to attend the event, noting that the speaker selection process reflected student body interest in talks regarding social justice issues.

“After reviewing the responses from a survey that LCB sent out to the student body, it was clear that a large amount of students wanted a speaker that would focus on issues surrounding race and ethnicity,” Yates said.

The LCB also emphasized Bell’s comedy method as a unique and provocative way to start important conversations about race around campus.

“I personally hope that many people attend because we [the LCB] exist for the student body, to bring speakers to campus who can talk about issues relevant to the student body,” Vorhes-Gripp said. “We thought [Bell] would be a very salient choice. His comedy routine targets racism in the United States, which I think is an issue that needs more attention from the Macalester community. Hopefully his talk ignites discussions on campus that won’t end.”

“We’re hoping for an excited and engaged audience that really wants to hear what Bell has to say,” Gurvis said, noting that his comedy routine helps “expose and discuss serious issues. We think the student body will really enjoy his lecture.”

Bell was originally booked to speak at Macalester on March 3.

“With Bell’s popularity, we adjusted the date of the program so that he could also take on another exciting opportunity,” Mudragada said. “I hope that many students will be able to attend and enjoy the event!”