Indian-American actor Vera Mindy Chokalingam, popularly known as Mindy Kaling, was presented with the 2021 National Humanities Medal by US president Joe Biden at a ceremony at the White House. Mindy Kaling is an American television actress, comedian, screenwriter and producer. The ceremony was also attended by first lady Jill Biden.
“For giving voice to a new generation of storytellers. Imbued with humor 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,” Biden’s military aide read the citation as Kaling came forward to receive the award. “The first woman of color to create, write, and star in a primetime sitcom, she empowers a new generation to tell their stories with their own irreverence and sincerity. The daughter of Indian immigrants — We know about that, right?” said the President. “Our Vice President is a daughter of Indian immigrants — a mother who was a great scientist,” he said. “Above all, she’s 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.”
The US government awards the National Medal of Arts, one of the most prestigious honor for artists, arts patrons, and groups. This award recognizes exceptional individuals and organizations that have promoted the arts in America and have served as a source of inspiration to others through their distinguished achievements, support, or patronage.
The first National Medal of Arts were awarded in 1985 with the initial recipients including renowned artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Martha Graham, and Richard Diebenkorn. Other recipients of the award include legendary singers Bruce Springsteen, fashion designer Vera Wang, singer Gladys Knight, Judith Francisca Baca, Jose Feliciano, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Antonio Martorell-Cardona, Fred Eychaner, Joan Shigekawa, the International Association of Blacks in Dance and The Billie Holiday Theatre.