Skip to content

Watch Pharrell and Ellen DeGeneres Talk About Un-Inviting Kim Burrell From Ellen After Anti-Gay Sermon

Pharrell Williams was originally set to appear on today’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show alongside gospel singer Kim Burrell, who performs on Pharrell’s soundtrack for the new film Hidden Figures. Burrell was booted from Ellen after footage of her delivering an anti-gay sermon at a church in Houston went viral, leaving Pharrell in the potentially awkward position of explaining his homophobic collaborator to one of America’s most prominent gay celebrities.

“She said some very not-nice things about homosexuals, so I didn’t feel like that was good of me to have her on the show, to give her a platform, after she was saying things about me,” DeGeneres said. “I’m gonna let you talk about it for a minute.” Pharrell replied with a heartfelt message about the power of empathy over hate and choosing inclusion in the age of Trump:

There’s no space, there’s no room for any kind of prejudice in 2017, or moving on. There’s no room. She’s a fantastic singer, and I love her, just like I love everybody else. And we all gotta get used to that. 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. …

Whenever you hear some sort of hate speech and you feel like it doesn’t necessarily pertain to you because you may not have anything to do with that, all you gotta 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 a sudden it starts to make sense to you. 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, and that’s the only way it will function. And I get it, I get that sometimes some of the divisive stuff works. We’ve all learned that lesson, right? We learned that lesson last year, that sometimes divisiveness works. But you have to choose what side you’re on, and I’m choosing empathy, I’m choosing inclusion, I’m choosing love for everyone, and just trying to lift everyone. Even when I disagree with someone, I’m wishing them the best, I’m hoping for the best, because we can’t win the other way.

Watch Pharrell and Ellen’s full conversation below, plus video of Pharrell performing his song “Runnin'” from the Hidden Figures soundtrack.