They choose love. Grammy winner Pharrell Williams was scheduled to perform on The Ellen Show on Thursday, January 5, alongside Kim Burrell, but her appearance was nixed after a leaked video showed the gospel artist making anti-gay remarks. Following the debacle, DeGeneres and Pharrell sat down together to address the situation, and reflect on what defines love and respect.
“She said some very not nice things about homosexuals, so I didn’t feel that was good of me to have her on the show,” DeGeneres, 58, noted on Thursday. “To give her a platform after she was saying things about me. So we’ll let you talk about it.”
“There’s no space, there’s no room for any kind of prejudice in 2017 and moving on,” Pharrell replied to applause. “There’s no room.”
The “Happy” hitmaker, from a diplomatic perspective, added that he thought Burrell was a “fantastic singer” and he harbored no ill will towards her. “I love her, just like I love everybody else and we all got to get used to that,” he said. “We all have to get used to everyone’s differences and understand that this is a big, gigantic, beautiful, colorful world and it only works with inclusion and empathy. It only works that way… Live and let live. Love and let love.”
DeGeneres, in agreement, shared a few thoughts of her own. “I say it all the time to [myself] when I say, ‘Be kind to one another,’” noted the TV personality, who’s been married to actress Portia de Rossi since 2008. “I feel that, because as someone who has received a lot of hate and prejudice and discrimination because of who I choose to love, I just don’t understand anyone who has experienced that kind of oppression or anything like that it only gives me more compassion. It gives me more empathy. I don’t ever want anyone to feel hurt because they are different.”
Pharrell, one of the coaches on NBC’s The Voice, replied with a challenge for viewers everywhere. “Whenever you hear some sort of hate speech and you feel like it doesn’t pertain to you — because you may not have anything to do with that — all you got to do is put the word ‘black’ in that sentence, or put ‘gay’ in that sentence, or put ‘transgender’ in that sentence or put ‘white’ in that sentence and all of the sudden it starts to make sense,” he mused. “I’m telling you the world is a beautiful place, but it does not work without empathy and inclusion. God is love. This universe is love.”
He noted that hate rhetoric is powerful, but it does not triumph. “We learned that lesson last year that sometimes divisiveness works. But you have to choose what side you’re on,” he shared. “I’m choosing empathy. I’m choosing inclusion. I’m choosing love for everybody just trying to lift everyone even when I disagree with someone I’m wishing them the best and hoping for the best because we can’t win the other way.”
Watch the powerful discussion above.