Kelly Clarkson is ready for change.
Over the weekend, The Voice coach announced the launch of her new social media campaign #StartTheConversation, which strives to encourage fans to speak out against racism through open conversations. Done in collaboration with her The Kelly Clarkson Show staff, the campaign kicked off by Clarkson introducing her talk show viewers to some of the Black members of her team, giving them the floor to share their feelings on recent events.
"Since the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed, our staff has engaged in honest and sometimes difficult dialogue," she began. "But we've always strived to be a show about connection and we wanna walk the walk every day even when it's hard, and to continue that as well."
Clarkson continued, "I know that these conversations aren't always easy for people to talk about, one, or for people to hear; either they're exhausted by having to talk about it still or they're uncomfortable because they're afraid maybe it'll be taken out of context or won't be understood."
"But, the thing is, it's really important—and we all feel at The Kelly Clarkson Show and into my camp as well, my tour camp—we all feel like you can't stand by," she said. "Like, at some point, you have to stand up. And you have to—even if you do say the wrong thing, it's okay at least you learned from that. So, that's why we really wanted to start the conversation and be the change that we wanna see."
In a video montage, the show's associate producer Jasmine tearfully expressed, "I'm beyond angry. I'm beyond hurt. I need you to walk the walk 'cause if you're walking with me now, I need you to walk with me forever until this is fixed. Until this is changed. Because I can't do this anymore."
Bianca, the show's attorney, then said, "You know, I got a rude awakening at a very young age of, like, who I was and where I belonged based on something that was completely surface." She later added, "We have the opportunity to look inside of ourselves and say, ‘Where is there violence in my heart? Where is there racism in my heart?'"
For his part, wardrobe supervisor Earl asked, "How much more do we have to diminish ourselves for the safety of the feeling of safety from others?"
He was followed by Rubin, who is part of the show's audience warm-up team. "One day, I'm gonna have to sit down with my sons," he began. "I'm gonna have to tell them that people are going to sometimes treat you poorly simply because of the color of your skin. I don't want to have that conversation with them."
After listening to their moving messages, Clarkson added, "Thank you so much for sharing your stories. We are an inclusive set. We love everyone on our set and it's very lighthearted usually."
"But, just because we're a fun set doesn't mean we can't have serious conversations and be a part of the change, like I said, we wanna see," she continued. "So, we want this to be an active and open forum, though, for you to share your experiences and thoughts as well. That's important."
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)
"E! stands in solidarity with the black community against systemic racism and oppression experienced every day in America," the network said in a statement on May 31. "We owe it to our black staff, talent, production partners and viewers to demand change and accountability. To be silent is to be complicit. #BlackLivesMatter."