The Late Late Show with James Corden was appropriately somber on Monday night (June 1) in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests happening across America in response to the death of George Floyd.
After opening the show with an impassioned plea for viewers to focus on the message “of the protestors who have voices that need to be heard right now,” host James Corden checked in with Late Late Show bandleader Reggie Watts via satellite.
During the chat, Watts, who is half Black, touched on the overt racism he faced while growing up — from being called the n-word as a child (“my mom was a fierce fighter and would get in people’s faces”) to his parents’ interracial marriage not being recognized due to prohibitive anti-miscegenation laws. “I have this history in the Black community in the Midwest that I don’t access a lot because there’s a lot of pain and emotion there, you know?” the Late Late Show bandleader said before suddenly breaking down in tears. “So it’s hard; there’s so much happening, and I wanna use my platform for good.”
“I’m so sorry that you’re feeling this,” an emotional Corden replied, his voice breaking. “And I would give anything to be in a room with you and put my arm around you. You’re worth so much. I would give anything to be able to put my arm around you.”
The bandleader also spoke candidly about the “pressure” he’s been feeling to represent for his community during this fraught moment in history. “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,” he said. “So, you know, I’m trying my best to process and be responsible with the platform I have. But mostly I just…I’m feeling so much, it’s hard for me.”
Corden closed out the segment by sharing U.K. rapper Dave’s powerful performance of his 2019 single “Black” from this year’s BRIT Awards, held last February at London’s 02 Arena.
Watch the video below.