Nina Parker is speaking out against the murder of George Floyd—a black Minnesota man who died after pleading "I can't breathe" as a white police officer pressed his knee into his neck—and she wants other people to do the same.
On Friday's Daily Pop, the E! host explained to Erin Lim and Scott Tweedie that police brutality "is not anything that is new to me," nor is "the strange relationship that I feel like a lot of black people have with law enforcement."
"I think that goes back for many, many years. I think now it's really starting to affect people because there's social media and there's video. Because I think for so many years there were people who wanted to deny that anything was even happening," Nina related. "And so I feel like the fact that this is documented so much more frequently now is giving people more of an inside look as to what people have been saying for many, many decades."
Bystander footage of Floyd's murder is what initially sparked nationwide outrage and protests while many have taken to social media to condemn the incident as well as the larger factors at play like police brutality and institutionalized racism.
"For me personally, I feel like what I've really been thinking about lately is allyship. Because it's really hard when you feel like you're suffering," Nina emphasized. "...I don't always think that people who are silent don't care, but that's how it comes across. And I think now, more than any time, is a time to show your allyship to the people that you love who are in your life, to the people that to help entertain you, to the people who you interact with...and even if you don't have anybody in your life who is black, now is the time to stand up because if it's a black problem, it's an American problem."
Nina went on to explain that she doesn't necessarily speak for the black community.
"And it's always hard because I feel like when something happens with a white person, we don't expect them to speak for everybody," she noted. "I feel like somebody white could commit a crime and I don't feel like white people think, 'Well, they done ruined it for all of us,' you know? I think it's this weird ownership that you have to take on as a black person because so many people feel like you speak for an entire community."
Still, Nina said she's glad to see people asking questions—especially since she can relate to the idea of not knowing what to do.
"Like, I have not completely felt like I knew how to articulate this issue. And so even posting on social media, I haven't really known 100-percent what to say because I'm filled with rage, I'm filled with sadness, I'm filled with anger. So it's hard for me to understand what to say," Nina told Scott and Erin. "So I can understand why it would be difficult for someone to say, 'I don't want to post anything,' or 'I don't want to say anything. I don't know what to do.'"
She continued, "But saying just 'I don't know what to do' is important,' because, when we had the #MeToo movement start...there were so many men who said, 'Look, I don't know how to help but I'm here.' But I feel like when it's black people, folks don't want to say anything."
Nina used the 2018 Golden Globes—in which almost every woman wore black as a sign of solidarity with the #MeToo and Time's Up movements—as an example of just how powerful collective action can be.
"But these black men and women are continuously being killed and I don't see a full Hollywood movement. And I don't see these full movements for these people," Nina said, tearing up. "If that man had put a dog on that street and put his knee on a dog, everybody would be talking about it and enraged. It wouldn't be party lines. It wouldn't be, 'Well, did he resist?' It wouldn't be because 'Oh, because it was a dangerous type of dog.' It would be...this man would be in jail already."
"So it's infuriating to me as a black person to have to prove my worth to be humanized," she added.
Erin echoed Nina's sentiments and called for people to "actively seek" a dialogue about race.
"We don't want more situations where there's Amy Cooper calling the cops on innocent bystanders," Erin insisted, referring to the woman behind a racist confrontation that took place over the weekend in New York's Central Park. "Like what you said, this is not a black problem, this is a human problem. And we need to be actively fighting racism because the new racism, quite frankly, is denying that there is racism in this system."
Moving forward, Nina explained that she's cautiously hopeful that systemic change will come.
"...for me to say, is it gonna be better? Maybe. But I'm 40 years old and I'm seeing a lot of things that happened 20 years ago," she said. "My parents were in the streets protesting. Do you know how exhausting that is? Like, my parents have been protesting. My aunt was brutalized and beat up when she was pregnant. And I'm dealing with the same thing?"
Nina added, "It's hard to be optimistic. I want to be. But right now I'm not."
Watch Nina's full take on the situation above.