Jimmy Fallon addressed his blackface controversy in conversations with NAACP president Derrick Johnson and CNN's Don Lemon
Jimmy Fallondelivered a somber opening monologue during his Monday night show, where he apologised again for the 2000 "SNL" sketch in which he donned blackface.
- Fallon said he was advised to stay quiet after the footage resurfaced, but "I can't not say I'm horrified, and I'm sorry, and I'm embarrassed."
- Fallon also said he wanted to educate himself on how to be a better ally, and introduced NAACP president Derrick Johnson and
CNNTonight anchor Don Lemonas guests.
- Johnson said: "Racism is a learned behaviour, and for us to unlearn a behaviour we have to be honest about it and create spaces where we can talk about it."
- Lemon said: "Use whatever platform you have, wherever you are and try to do something for a person of color, or understand a person of color or improve conditions."
- Both men thanked Fallon for his "powerful" and "honest" monologue.
After a weekend of nationwide protests, Jimmy Fallon apologized once again for his blackface controversy and, in a somber edition of his show, spoke with NAACP president Derrick Johnson and CNN Tonight anchor Don Lemon about how the United States can move forward in the wake of George Floyd's death.
Fallon used his opening monologue to readdress the controversial "SNL" sketch of him doing an impression of Chris Rock, which reemerged last week.
"I had to really examine myself, really examine myself in the mirror this week," Fallon began, saying he was "horrified" to see the sketch again.
Fallon said he was advised "to just stay quiet and to not say anything," but after thinking about it, he realised he wanted to speak up: "I can't not say I'm horrified, and I'm sorry, and I'm embarrassed."
Fallon then said that that gesture broke his own silence, made him speak to experts, and helped him to realize "that the silence is the biggest crime that white guys like me and the rest of us are doing."
Fallon then introduced one of the experts he referenced in his speech: NAACP president Derrick Johnson, who thanked Fallon for his "powerful" and "authentic" monologue.
Fallon asked Johnson how to be a better ally, to which Johnson replied: "We are all born flawed, but flawed is part of the journey we are on to get to perfection. If anyone can stand up and say 'I haven't made a mistake,' run, because that person is clearly a liar."
"One of the worst things about these moments of realization is people want to have a quick-fix outpour, and then go back to their corners. The way we keep the momentum going is keeping the dialogue open, of appreciating the uniqueness we all bring to the table, and celebrating that uniqueness and not allowing demigods to create otherness from people who be different."
Fallon asked the NAACP president about how white people should talk to other white people about racism, to which Johnson advised:
"Racism is a learned behaviour, and for us to unlearn a behaviour we have to be honest about it and create spaces where we can talk about it," Johnson said. "Most importantly, be the example we want to see. And so peer to peer conversations, using one's platform to promote a more positive outlook at life as a relation to other people's uniqueness and difference becomes important."
Later in the show, Fallon introduced another guest, CNN Tonight anchor Don Lemon. Again, Fallon's guest was complimentary of the host's opening monologue: "That's exactly what we all need to do, examine ourselves. That was very honest and brave of you," Lemon said.
"I wish more people would do that because we can't go back to the way we were."
Lemon impressed the importance of not cancelling others for past mistakes, and stressed that people should be allowed to be flawed.
"I lead from the heart and I'm very candid ... I don't always say the right things but I always say what I feel in the moment and it's always real," Lemon said.
"We have to stop beating people up for mistakes because we're all human. We have to allow people to be human. We all have pasts and we're not perfect. We have to allow people to be flawed and have conversations like the one we're having."
Lemon also encouraged white people to "examine your social circles" and "get some black friends," arguing that who we spend time with most in our own social networks can greatly influence our outlooks on the world and society at large.
"The biggest thing is to take some action," Lemon said. "Use whatever platform you have, wherever you are and try to do something for a person of color, or understand a person of color or improve conditions. When something happens in the workplace that you perceive to be discriminatory, don't stand by, speak up!"
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