By: Mohnish Singh
Indian-American actor, screenwriter, and producer Mindy Kaling, among others, was presented with the 2021 National Humanities Medal by United States President Joe Biden at a ceremony at the White House on Tuesday, 21 March.
The National Medal of Arts is the highest award given to artists, arts patrons, and groups by the US government and honours exemplary individuals and organisations that have advanced the arts in America and offered inspiration to others through their distinguished achievement, support, or patronage.
It honours individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities and broadened citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages, philosophy, and other humanities subjects, the White House said.
The awards being bestowed, however, are for 2021, owing to a backlog due to the Covid pandemic.
Presenting the award to Kaling at the ceremony attended by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the Second Gentlemen, Mr. Biden said that Mindy Kaling is the first woman of colour to create, write, and star in a primetime sitcom.
He added that the 43-year-old actress empowers a new generation to tell their stories with irreverence and sincerity.
“The daughter of Indian immigrants — we know about that, right? Our Vice President is a daughter of Indian immigrants — a mother who was a great scientist,” the U.S. President said.
“Above all, she is hardworking and an adoring mom, just like her own mom was. And, Mindy, we know your mom is always with you in your spirit. We know that,” Mr. Biden added.
“Imbued with humour and heart, Mindy Kaling’s work across television, film, and books inspires and delights—capturing and uplifting the experiences of women and girls across our Nation,” the White House said, releasing the list of 2021 National Medal of Arts Recipients.