Ellen DeGeneres taped the first episode of her talk show since the George Floyd protests erupted around the country, and she dedicated her time to discussing Black Lives Matter and the need for white people to speak up against racial injustice.
She spoke first to the show’s resident dancer, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, who told her that getting called out on social media is a necessary discomfort for educating oneself in this moment. “You have people that can call you and, from a place of love, say, ‘Yo, I saw what you were trying to say, but next time word it this way, because this,’” he said. “And you know it’s coming from a place of love rather than, ‘We’re gonna tear a celebrity down.’ We don’t have to worry about that right now.”
Ellen also invited Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on, who outlined her discussions with local activists in her city to work toward racial justice.
“We have articulated our grievances, we’re angry, but now we’ve gotta formalize it, so that we’ll know what the point of satisfaction is in this country, and there’s so much work to be done,” she said. Bottoms mentioned collaborating with Killer Mike, sharing civil rights documents that she had pulled from the Sixties. “What I said to him is, ‘We’ve gotta leave this conversation and create a true framework.’ Our young people don’t have any direction, and there is no clear leadership, but we’ve been through this before.”
Later, Van Jones appeared on the show, characterizing Floyd’s death as a lynching and explaining the existence of black Americans and white Americas as “two different countries.”
“The person sitting next to you in a cubicle or on the bus or on an airplane — if they have skin that looks like mine, we are literally in a different movie,” he said. “And it’s so hard to believe that. You don’t get to the point where a police officer could literally kill a man in broad daylight — and in his own mind think he was doing something good — if you hadn’t had a whole bunch of other disrespects and contempt for black life that were never checked along the way.”