James Corden and Reggie Watts Praised for Emotional Conversation about Racism

James Corden broke down in tears speaking to his friend and colleague Reggie Watts during an emotional conversation about racism which has been widely praised by viewers.

Monday night's episode of the Late Late Show saw the host, 41, address the widespread protests taking place across the country following the death of George Floyd, who died last week when a white police officer Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for eight minutes.

In an emotive message, Corden called for change and showed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, condemning systemic racism and showing an understanding of his white privilege.

Corden opened the show, saying: "Good evening everyone, thank you for staying awake for our show on one of the saddest, scariest, yet most important times of our lives. As you'll all know, on Monday of last week a black man named George Floyd was murdered by the excessive force of the police."

He added: "If it was a one-off event, it would be an appalling, horrific tragedy that should shake all of us to our core. Yet this was the latest in a string of killings of unarmed black citizens by white people."

Corden then mentioned the two recent deaths of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.

"Breonna Taylor was shot by police in her own home. Ahmaud Arbery was going for a jog when he was shot and killed by two men. And sadly, there are so many more victims that I could mention," he said.

The Gavin and Stacey star then went on to reflect on his place in speaking about much matters of race as a white man, explaining he had been "struggling all weekend" about what to say to his audience.

James Corden
James Corden arrives at the post-Emmy Awards party in Los Angeles late on September 22, 2019. KYLE GRILLOT/AFP via Getty Images

"Because, who needs my opinion?" he asked. "Surely, this is a time for me to listen, not talk. And then I realize that that's part of the problem. People like me have to speak up. To be clear, I'm not talking about late-night hosts, or people who are fortunate like I am to have a platform. I'm talking about white people. White people cannot just say anymore, 'Yeah, I'm not racist.' And think that that's enough, because it's not."

He added: "It's not enough, because make no mistake, this is our problem to solve. How can the black community dismantle a problem that they didn't create?"

Inviting the Late Late Show bandleader Watts to join the discussion, Corden asked his friend how he was doing in light of the current situation.

Speaking about his experiences, Watts, 48 opened up about his "pretty protected" childhood.

Reggie Watts
Reggie Watts attends the Audi pre-Emmy celebration at Sunset Tower in Hollywood on Thursday, September 19, 2019. Rich Polk/Getty Images for Audi

"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," he said.

"My mom was a fierce fighter and would get out of the house and get in people's faces about, you know, people calling me the N-word or whatever growing up and being different and stuff. So I feel 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 I'm a demographic."

Watts also explained that his parents' marriage "wasn't recognized in the U.S. because of laws prohibiting interracial marriage."

Breaking down in tears, Watts said: "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. So it's hard and so much is happening. And I want to use my platform for good. I go in and out, you know? It's tough."

Himself beginning to cry, Corden expressed solidarity with his friend, saying: "I'm so sorry that you're feeling this. I would give anything to be in a room with you and put my arm around. I would so much, I would give anything to be able to put my arm around you."

Corden's and Watts' conversation has moved thousands of viewers, with huge praise being shared on Twitter.

James Corden: It's Time for Change in the US https://t.co/GsJm7IfuRG - thought this was a pretty solid take on it all.

— Ross Lynch 💯 (@RossLynch) June 2, 2020

Please watch this. And please share this.

Thank you @JKCorden and @ReggieWatts. pic.twitter.com/yOYel9UW3c

— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) June 2, 2020

Literally cried like a baby watching Reggie Watts shed tears of frustration and fatigue that I understand all too well. James Corden & his team did a great job here and I hope the people who needed to hear the message actually took it in #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/HZTBrmhl1K

— Nola Thee Journalist (@NolaMarianna) June 2, 2020

Respect levels have gone up anothe 500% for you big man. ❤️✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿❤️ well done 🙏🏾

— Carlton Cole (@CarltonCole1) June 2, 2020

Corden and Watts' powerful moment comes as YouTuber Logan Paul is being praised for using his platform for an emotive Black Lives Matter speech where he declared: "America is racist."

James Corden Reggie Watts
Comedian Reggie Watts and actor James Corden attend The 21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 17, 2016 in Santa Monica, California. C Flanigan/Getty Images