A pattern emerged amid the variety of late-night talk shows on Monday.
Instead of the medium's addressing of the recent murder of George Floyd and the push for social justice being handled by aging white men, the hosts—including James Corden, Stephen Colbert (above), and Jimmy Fallon—largely turned things over to voices who could authoritatively speak on these issues.
"Feeling so much simultaneously, it's crazy," Reggie Watts, house band leader for Corden's Late Late Show, said on Monday night's show (see the clip below). "I was fortunate to grow up in a place where I was pretty protected by my parents when it came to forms of racism that happened in my neighborhood. My mom was a fierce fighter and would get out of the house and get in people's faces about people calling me the n-word or whatever growing up . . . I'm really grateful that my parents and my father fought so hard to make my life feel normal and to have me grow up feeling like I'm a human being rather than a demographic."
After getting into some family history—including about his cousin Alice Walker, who put her experiences into the classic book The Color Purple—Watts began to cry. "It’s hard," he said. "There's so much happening. I wanna use my platform for good."
Corden later spent time conversing with Keegan-Michael Key.
Elsewhere on the late-night circuit, Seth Meyers listened to staffer Amber Ruffin and SNL's Michael Che, while Stephen Colbert brought on Killer Mike and Conan O'Brien shared a 30-minute conversation with Van Jones. Several hosts—including Jimmy Kimmel, Trevor Noah, and Lily Singh—had already announced their Monday schedules would not include broadcasts.
Jimmy Fallon addressed the controversy surrounding a resurfaced Saturday Night Live skit in which he impersonated Chris Rock while donning blackface. The 45-year-old comedian reiterated his apology at the top of Monday's episode of The Tonight Show, stating: "I had to really examine myself in the mirror this week because a story came out about me on SNL doing an impression of Chris Rock in blackface. And I was horrified. Not of people trying to 'cancel' me or cancel this show, which is scary enough. The thing that haunted me the most was, how do I say I love this person?"
Fallon, who also brought on NAACP president Derrick Johnson, went on to critique his own personal silence and reiterate his total respect for Rock. "I realized that I can’t not say I’m horrified and I’m sorry and I’m embarrassed. I realized that the silence is the biggest crime that white guys like me and the rest of us are doing, staying silent. We need to say something. We need to keep saying something. And we need to stop saying 'that’s not OK' more than just one day on Twitter."
Fallon also spoke to CNN anchor Don Lemon about the clashes between protestors and law enforcement, the violence that has erupted during the demonstrations, and Lemon's decision to call out Hollywood figures who've remained silent amid the protests.
Lemon applauded Fallon for his honest apology and accountability about the blackface resurfacing. "That’s exactly what we all need to do is examine ourselves," Lemon told The Tonight Show host. "That was really honest and very brave of you and I appreciate you having the depth really to do what you did in that opening monologue."
For info on the protests happening nationwide, including how to help, click here.