1. Mindy Kaling was presented with the National Medal of Arts by President Joe Biden at the White House in March 2021.
2. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the arts in the United States, and Kaling was among several other recipients including Bruce Springsteen and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
3. Kaling attended the ceremony with her daughter and longtime friend B.J. Novak, and expressed both gratitude and a desire to continue to earn the award in honor of her late mother.
Actor and television producer, Mindy Kaling was one among other distinguished guests of honor invited to the White House on March 21. At the ceremony, President Joe Biden presented her with the National Medal of Arts, which is bestowed upon individuals or groups who have made significant contributions to the arts in the United States. Other notable attendees, such as Gladys Knight, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Bruce Springsteen, were also present to receive the accolade. The National Endowment for the Arts defines the National Medal of Arts as an honor for those who have demonstrated “outstanding contributions to the excellence, growth, support and availability of the arts in the United States.”
In an Instagram post following the event, Kaling recounted the story of the call she received from Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, relaying that the National Endowment of the Arts and the office of the President wanted to award her the National Medal of Arts for her work in television and as an author. Kaling attended the ceremony with her 5-year-old daughter, Katherine, and long-time friend, B.J. Novak, who recently presented her with the acclaimed Norman Lear Award at the Producers Guild of America Awards in February.
The ceremony, which was originally slated to take place two years earlier but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was also attended by the First Lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. Other 2021 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal recipients included Vera Wang, philanthropist Fred Eychaner, artist-activist Judith Francisca Baca, film producer Joan Shigekawa, painter Antonio Martorell-Cardona, and musician José Feliciano.
For Kaling, receiving the award was both a triumph and a reminder of the loss of her mother, Swati Roysircar, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2012. Kaling expressed her gratitude for the honor in her Instagram post, promising to spend the rest of her life earning the accolade because she did not feel like she had earned it yet. She hoped that her mother, who had dreams for her, could have been there to join her. Kaling also noted that to hear President Biden speak about her parents, their journey to the United States, and the power of comedy was almost too much to take in.
Kaling’s celebrity friends chimed in with congratulations in the comments section of her Instagram post. Reese Witherspoon wrote, “YOU ARE AMAZING! Congrats,” while Maitreyi Ramakrishnan added, “COOL KID ALERT!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!” Kaling’s achievement is a testament to her hard work and dedication in the field of television and literature.