I am trying to name my emotions right now. Relief that there may be justice for George Floyd and his family. Heaviness from the reality that justice often comes too late and is far from universal. Faith that we can and will do better.
My hope is that the outcome of this trial is a catalyst toward systemic change in the disproportionate policing of and indiscriminate violence against Black people, and all people of color.
Today, I am holding George Floyd’s family in my thoughts. Tomorrow, I’ll refocus on our work to build a more just and equitable world, together.
When I first moved to NYC in 1990, I was trying to hail a taxi on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. There was a Black man already standing there a hundred feet in front. As a taxi approached, it flew right by him in order to pick me up. I opened the door to the cab and asked driver, “Hey – why didn’t you pick up that Black guy!”
“Just get in the car,” he yelled at me. I held the door open and shouted out to the man who was there ahead of me, “This cab is yours! I’ll hold the door!” He ran up the street toward me. The taxi driver, furious, hit the gas – with the door still open! In that moment I was reminded that racism is everywhere, even in one of the most liberal cities in the country.
A few years later, in 1993, NBC gave me my own prime time show, “TV Nation”. I knew the first thing I wanted to film for my very first episode. I asked beloved Emmy-nominated actor Yaphet Kotto, if he would re-enact with me that first NYC experience of mine — but instead I replaced me with an actual convicted white felon and paroled murderer, Louis Bruno, to see who the cabs would pick up first.
Featuring TV Nation correspondent Rusty Cundieff plus a special guest appearance by RUN DMC.
Yaphet Kotto passed away today. Thank you my brother for being with me on that very first night. Rest In Peace.