After a video surfaced online earlier this week showing gospel star Kim Burrell lacing a sermon with homophobic language, Ellen DeGeneres cancelled the singer’s planned performance on Ellen. The vocalist was scheduled to appear to promote her song “I See a Victory,” a collaboration with Pharrell from the Hidden Figures soundtrack. But in a preview clip from Thursday’s episode, DeGeneres explained her decision to rescind Burrell’s invitation. “She made a statement, and 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 to give her a platform after she’s saying things about me.” the host explained.
Pharrell again distanced himself from Burrell’s behavior – much as he did on Instagram after the gospel singer’s video started making the rounds online. “There’s no space, there’s no room for any kind of prejudice in 2017 and moving on,” he told DeGeneres.
“[Burrell]’s a fantastic singer,” he continued. “I love her, just like I love everybody else, and we all got to 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.
“Live and let live,” he added. “Love and let love.”
Later in the interview, Pharrell made a veiled reference to Donald Trump’s recent election victory – “sometimes, the divisive stuff works… we learned that lesson last year” – but the star producer encouraged viewers to resist that path.
“You have to choose what side you’re on,” he asserted. “I’m choosing empathy; I’m choosing inclusion; I’m choosing love for everybody.”
Williams also performed “Runnin'” from the Hidden Figures soundtrack.