“Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.” –Isaiah 40: 1
“I don’t live in a socio-economically deprived neighborhood. I haven’t been denied a good education by my local government. I don’t generally feel trapped by my circumstances. But I do feel every bit of my six-foot-four-inch, 250-pound body, and every bit of my black skin.”
–W. Kamau Bell, Vanity Fair, November 26, 2014
Friends, this is W. Kamau Bell. I had the pleasure of attending his stand up show last week–where he blessed me and the rest of the audience with the gift of CATHARSIS–and I got to meet him after the show. He’s a writer, a thinker, a crusader for the equal rights of Black Folk, and an absolutely hilarious truth-teller. One of the biggest ways in which white, privileged Americans can support those who are fighting for their rights and their lives right now is to listen, to hear the stories of what it’s really like to be not white in America. So today, I invite you to enjoy getting to know W. Kamau Bell by reading a piece of his that was recently published in Vanity Fair (click here for the link). And to give you a taste of his comedy and the truths it reveals, you can watch the video below.
When I had the privilege of listening to Mr. Bell last week, and getting to briefly chat with him after the show, I couldn’t help but notice we had far more in common than not. Both fairly nerdy (no offense, Kamau), similar glasses and wardrobe (we were both rocking sports coats with elbow patches), similar sense of humor, both pursuing truth and healing via the spoken word and bringing creative catharsis to congregations. One of the major differences between Mr. Bell and myself: The anxieties that unsettle my mind are different from the things that unsettle W. Kamau Bell. I worry about my future in the long term, like the health concerns I may have down the road. Bell worries about his future while buying ice cream.
Until justice be done, and dearly beloved people like W. Kamau Bell and his family don’t have to worry about being perceived as an enemy every single day, or being put in harm’s way by simply living their lives…may we find brief respite…brief moments of restorative peace…through laughter…through tears…through the true gift of catharsis. And may that release of stress and anxiety lead us to action.