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Reggie Watts and James Corden share an emotional conversation about racism

By Sam Haysom

“Who needs my opinion? Why is my voice relevant? There is not one person in the world who woke up this morning and thought, ‘I need to know what James Corden thinks about all of this.'”

So begins The Late Late Show host James Corden’s Monday night monologue, during which he addresses white privilege and the protests sweeping America in response to the the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after a former white police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.

After speaking about the privileges he’s been afforded by a system built upon injustice, Corden speaks to his colleague, comedian and musician Reggie Watts, about his own experiences and feelings towards the protests.

“I was fortunate to grow up in a place where I was pretty protected by my parents when it came to forms of racism that happened in my neighbourhood,” Watts tells Corden over Zoom. “My mom was a fierce fighter and would get out of the house and get in people’s faces about people calling me the N-word or whatever, growing up and being different and stuff. So I feel really grateful that my parents and my father fought so hard to make my life feel normal, and to have me grow up feeling like I’m a human being rather than a demographic.”

Watts goes on to talk about his father not being able to get a job after the Vietnam War because he was black, and his parents’ marriage not being recognised due to laws prohibiting interracial marriage. While he’s talking about the pain and emotion he associates with his own history, he tears up.

“It’s hard,” says Watts, “there’s so much happening. And I want to use my platform for good […] It’s a weird time. I go in and out, you know, I get set off by anything. And I feel like there’s also a pressure — it’s like, if you’re of colour, you’ve got to represent your whole crew. I grew up all my life really fighting to just be a human being, and to not have people affected by the way that they look. But I also know that that’s just a reality. So, you know, I’m trying my best just to process and be responsible with the platform I have.”

Corden ends the video with a replay of the British rapper Dave’s song “Black,” from his powerful performance at the BRIT Awards earlier this year.

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