W. Kamau Bell won an Emmy award at the Creative Arts Emmys on Saturday for Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program for his CNN show “United Shades of America.”

The series follows Bell around the United States, where he discusses race with various groups. It’s the third year in a row he’s won the Emmy category.

During his Emmy award acceptance speech, W. Kamau Bell said the television industry needs to do better with inclusion and diversity. (Photo: Amy Sussman/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

During Bell’s acceptance speech, he called out the TV industry for a lack of diversity, particularly behind the scenes. And he said much more needs to be done.

“White people, I’m asking you to bring more diversity and inclusion on these shows,” said Bell on stage.

Then after his speech, when the 46-year-old spoke to the press backstage, he was asked what he “would like to see white allies do as far as diversity and inclusion behind the camera?”

Bell said when he won the Emmy the first two times, he gave the obligatory thank yous to his family and colleagues. So this go-around, he felt the need to speak about diversity, because things haven’t changed since his first award.

One example he gave was having to “work to get people of color behind camera, black people behind camera.”

“It’s still not perfect; it’s still not great,” stated Bell. “So I feel like I have to not only call my team out, but I have to call the industry out.”

“Because as we talk about more diversity and inclusion on screen, I still see in a lot of meetings mostly white dudes,” he added. “So it’s not about white allies, it’s about white power brokers who want to be allies … If I’m going to be about it, I’ve got to talk about it.”

Bell then said the awards he’s winning doesn’t represent progress for Black people in entertainment, because real forward movement occurs when Black folks help open doors for other Black folks.

You can see what else he said backstage below.


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