James Corden may be a little like Marmite when it comes to popularity, but the latest episode of his self-titled show is unarguably an incredible tribute to George Floyd.
The Gavin and Stacey star, who hosts The Late Late Show With James Corden in the US, dedicated his airtime to discuss the tragedy that has caught global attention.
On May 25, George Floyd, 46, lost his life while under arrest in Minneapolis. The ordeal was filmed as bystanders witnessed police officer Derek Chauvin kneel on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes – despite pleas that he couldn’t breathe – resulting in his death.
This week, as James addressed his 3million-strong viewing army, he was visibly upset as he spoke about his hopes for change.
James, 41, said: “Good evening everyone, thank you for staying awake and joining us on one of the saddest, scariest, yet most important times of our lives.
“As you’ll all know, on Monday of last week a black man named George Floyd was murdered by the excessive force of the police.
“If it was a one-off event, it would be an appalling, horrific tragedy that should shake all of us to our core.
“Yet this was the latest in a string of killings of unarmed black citizens by white people. Breonna Taylor was shot by police in her own home [March 2020].
“Ahmaud Arbery was going for a jog when he was shot and killed by two men [February 2020]. And sadly, there are so many more victims that I could mention.
“I have been struggling all weekend wondering what to say to you here tonight, because 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.’”
He continued: “Surely this is a time for me to listen not talk. And then I realised that that’s part of the problem. People like me have to speak up.
“To be clear, I’m not talking about late night hosts or people who are fortunate, like I am, to have a platform. I’m talking about white people.
“White people cannot just say anymore, ‘Yeah, I am not racist,’ and think that that’s enough, because it’s not. It’s not enough.
“Because make no mistake, this is our problem to solve. How can the black community dismantle a problem that they didn’t create?
“We shouldn’t be just trying to understand the rage. We should feel the rage.”
James added: “I feel hopeless, I don’t have the answers, I’ve got nothing to offer but I know I want to do more, to learn more, and let that be a start.”
During the show, he interviewed comedian and musician Reggie Watts – of French and African-American descent – who broke down in tears, saying he felt overwhelmed.
Corden also aired rapper Dave’s powerful rendition of Black, that talks about the struggles of black heritage, which set the BRIT Awards stage on fire earlier this year.
As the world shows their support for Floyd’s memory with #taketheknee campaigns and peaceful protests, Chauvin remains in custody on charge of second-degree murder.