CNN network’s acclaimed show “United Shades of America” has won yet another Emmy Award-this time for its episode “Sikhs in America” which was aired in May earlier this year.
Show’s editor Bryan Eber took home the Emmy for Outstanding Picture Editing for an Unstructured Reality Program at the Creative Arts Emmys held in Los Angeles, Calif., Sept. 8.
“United Shades of America” follows comedian and political provocateur Bell as he explores communities across the U.S. to understand the unique challenges they face. In the episode, Bell visited Yuba City, Calif., saying, “I’m hoping to find out more about the most misunderstood religion in America.”
Emmy Ward or an Emmy is an American award that recognizes excellence in the television industry, and is the equivalent of an Academy Award for film or a Tony for theater and the Grammy for music.
Throughout the episode, Bell interviews Harpreet Singh, co-founder of the Sikh Coalition; Sikh Coalition Social Justice Fellow Winty Singh; Yuba City’s Indian American Mayor Preet Didbal; Karandeep Bains, Yuba City farmer and community leader; lawyer and filmmaker Valarie Kaur; Lt. Colonel Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi; actor/designer Waris Ahluwalia; and Harpreet Singh’s son, Dilzafer Singh.
After the win, Kaur tweeted: “Our episode Sikhs in America on #UnitedShadesofAmerica w @wkamaubell won an EMMY! It was the 1st time the nation saw Sikhs tell our own stories, in our own voices, & now it has received the highest honor in the industry! Why this win is a little beacon: http://valariekaur.com/2018/09/watch-sikhs-in-america-more-resources/…”
The show opens with the host walking around the streets of America showing random people a picture of a Sikh man in a striking yellow turban on his mobile phone, asking them if they could identify his religion.
While most of them fail, one of them thinks the man in the picture is a Muslim, with the host establishing that indeed “very little is known about the Sikh religion.” So Mr Bell sets out to clear the “misunderstanding.”
The episode came about after Harpreet Singh reached out to Bell on Twitter. “The Sikhs as a community have had their fair share of hate so I thought this would be an excellent venue for people to learn more about the Sikhs and the issues we face in America,” Singh said at the beginning of his interview. “Sikhism is a religion of love, and this love requires sacrifice for others, especially for the oppressed, the marginalized, the downtrodden, for example, we had Sikhs showing up in war-torn Syria, providing humanitarian aid… in Haiti during the earthquake. There has never been an instance when Sikhs have not opened their gurudwaras during calamities like Katrina.”
When asked to describe Sikhism, Didbal, the first female Sikh mayor in America, said: “I may not look like a typical Sikh woman, but I’m 100 percent Sikh. Under God, we are all equal, that’s how Sikhism is. We are all created equal, men and women, it doesn’t matter. I say, ‘We need to walk the talk.’”