James Corden breaks down in tears with bandleader Reggie Watts as they discuss racism and death of George Floyd

Adam White
James Corden speaks through tears as he discusses racism on his US talk show: CBS Television

James Corden and his US TV bandleader Reggie Watts have broken down in tears while discussing police brutality and the death of George Floyd.

Corden was joined by Watts via video link, with the British star’s US talk show currently being filmed out of his home due to the coronavirus pandemic. The pair were discussing Watts’s experiences as a black man in the US when they were both overcome with emotion.

“I have this history in the black community in the Midwest that I don’t access a lot because there’s a lot of pain and emotion there,” Watts said, after remembering his father being unable to find work as a black man, and how long it took for his parent’s interracial marriage to be legally recognised. He also noted that his cousin is Alice Walker, author of The Colour Purple.

“It’s hard,” Watts added, through tears. “There’s so much happening. I want to use my platform for good. I go in and out.”

Holding his own head in his hands, Corden also began to cry.

“I’m so sorry that you’re feeling this,” Corden told Watts. “I would give anything to be in a room with you and put my arm around you.”

Earlier in the episode, Corden urged his white viewers to take responsibility for the racism endemic in society.

“White people cannot just say anymore, ‘Yeah, I am not racist’ and think that that’s enough,” Corden said. “It’s not enough. Make no mistake – this is our problem to solve. How can the black community dismantle a problem that they didn’t create?”

Anti-racist and anti-police brutality protests have been sparked across the US and the rest of the world following Floyd’s death. The 46-year-old pleaded for his life as he was pinned to the ground by a police officer and left unable to breathe.