W. Kamau Bell's new HBO documentary '1000% Me' explores being mixed-race in America

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Thursday, June 1, 2023
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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Emmy Award-winning TV host, comedian, author, filmmaker, and Berkeley resident W. Kamau Bell doesn't shy away from tough topics. In fact, he tackles them head-on but does so with his trademark humor.

His latest work is a new one-hour documentary "1000% Me: Growing Up Mixed." Bell explores the joys and challenges of being of mixed-race in America through the eyes of Bay Area children and their families -- including his own.

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Bell was on ABC7 News Getting Answers and told ABC7 News Anchor Kristen Sze that this project is a "deeply personal and profound journey of discovery."

Bell, who is Black, and his wife, Melissa Hudson Bell, who is white, have three mixed daughters. 10-year old Sami and 7-year old Juno are among the kids featured in the documentary, talking frankly about their identities. One commonality across the interviews: they reject being seen as half of this and half of that, and instead embrace being 100% of each of their heritages.

Eleven-year-old Myles inspired the title when he told Bell, "I'm 100% Filipino, I'm 100% African American, and 1000% a person."

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Bell asked another child, "Is there anything you think us non-mixed race people need to know about mixed-race people?"

The response: "It's not being less of one culture. It's having the opportunity to have a deeper connection to more cultures."

The provocative and humorous Bell, whose previous work includes hosting CNN's "United Shades of America" and authoring "Do the Work! An Antiracist Activity Book," hopes this documentary will spark conversations.

The mixed race population is growing in America, especially in the Bay Area, where the 2020 consensus reported between 5 and 7% in Bay Area counties.

"1000% Me" premiers May 2 on HBO and streams on HBO Max.