Tag Archives: CNN

Sikh American Story Airs on CNN May 6

CNN’s Emmy Award-winning United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell will feature the first-ever hour-long cable episode exclusively focusing on the Sikh American community. The episode is scheduled to air on Sunday, May 6th at 10 pm EST/PST.

W. Kamau Bell interviews Sikh Coalition co-founder, Harpreet Singh and Sikh Coalition Social Justice Fellow, Winty Singh along with Yuba City Sikh Mayor, Preet Didbal; Yuba City farmer and community leader, Karandeep Bains; Sikh lawyer, filmmaker and organizer, Valarie Kaur; Sikh soldier and doctor, Lt. Colonel Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi; Sikh actor and designer, Waris Ahluwalia; and Harpreet’s son, Dilzafer Singh.

“This will be an exciting and important moment for the Sikh community to come together and celebrate Sikh awareness,” said Sikh Coalition Executive Director, Satjeet Kaur. “We continue to make progress in our efforts to educate the American public and this is another milestone.”

Thanks to work by Harpreet Singh and Valarie Kaur, the Sikh Coalition media and communications team spent six months supporting United Shades of America producers with background resource material, fact-checking and B-roll footage. 

“The United Shades episode provides a nuanced portrayal of the Sikh experience in America,” said Sikh Coalition co-founder, Harpreet Singh. “It will educate mainstream America about Sikh values and beliefs that have enabled Sikhs to overcome adversity and thrive in this country for over a hundred years.”

Per CNN, all air dates for episodes of United Shades of America are subject to potential change. United Shades of America will also stream live for subscribers via CNNgo (at CNN.com/go and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Samsung Smart TV and Android TV). The series will also be available the day after the broadcast premiere on demand via cable/satellite systems, CNNgo platforms and CNN mobile apps.

The Sikh Coalition has worked on several high-impact television moments in recent years, including The Daily Show, NBC Evening News and CBS Evening News. For more information about the upcoming CNN episode or to interview Sikh Coalition staff and board involved with the project, please contact Mark Reading-Smith

 

South Asian Spelling Bee Documentary Debuts

The soon to be released “Breaking the Bee” documentary that details the rise and dominance of the Indian American diaspora in spelling bees has been accepted into major Film Festival circuits.

Starting this month, one can see “Breaking the Bee” at the Cleveland International Film Festival on April 6th & 8th, then on May12th at the New York Indian Film Festival in New York City.

“Breaking the Bee” follows four second-generation Indian-American children, ages 7 to 14, over the course of a year, or “bee season,” as they train to reach (and win) the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee. It’s an inside look at studying, family life, competing in qualifying bees, and being a kid with big dreams. Some are in their final year of eligibility while others are just beginning their spelling careers. With expert commentary from CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Fareed Zakaria, comedian Hari Kondabolu, ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi, and past Scripps winners, the film offers an analysis into what drives this trend, while exploring the ups and downs of chasing a dream and pondering just how long this incredible trend can last.

The film is directed by Sam Rega and produced by Chris Weller, both of whom worked at Business Insider when they got the idea to produce the film.

Since 1999, all but four contest winners have been Indian-American, and of the 285-plus children who make it to Scripps each year, roughly 25% come from families of Indian descent. This is something of an anomaly, as Indian-Americans make up just 1% of the United States population.

The perfect storm has been brewing for decades — from the 1965 immigration law that eliminated quota systems for Indian immigrants, thus driving a wave of highly-educated individuals to come to the United States, to the formation of Indian-only spelling bees, to the explosion of mainstream interest in competitive spelling, ever since ESPN began broadcasting the Scripps Bee in 1994.

The film details the South Asian Spelling Bee’s contribution to this phenomenon with expert interviews with its Founder Rahul Walia. The SASB as its fondly known amongst Desis was started in 2008 and has the distinction of being a precursor to the winners of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.  Winners of SASB have been winners at Scripps and while Scripps has produced 3 sets of co-champions, SASB has been considered tougher since only one speller ever becomes the champion.

On its Facebook page, one can see 5 star reviews from parents and spellers alike who attribute their overall success to the experience they got at SASB.

“It’s the Gold Standard of Spelling Bee,” says Usha & Ganesh Dasari, parents of the spelling bee duo Shobha and Shourav. Shourav is one of the four spellers “Breaking the Bee” follows.

The SASB is conducted every summer and starts June 16th this year. It will be conducted nationally in 6 major cities and registration is now open at www.southasianspellingbee.com. The series is shown on Sony Entertainment Television Asia and is sponsored by Kawan Foods and Touchdown Media Inc.