An emotional experience.
On Monday, Justin Sylvester took a moment on Daily Pop to open up about his experience protesting in Los Angeles over the weekend in response to the death of George Floyd. While footage of looting and violence has flooded the news, the E! host made it clear that the protest "started out as an amazing experience."
"Just to see the unity with people from different walks of life, different ages, families coming together in an extremely peaceful way was emotional for me, to be completely honest," he recalled. "And I wanted to share it with everybody, which is why I posted all those photos on social media and posted that video."
Nina Parker, who yesterday spoke with Justin and "other people who were out there," added that "everything was peaceful for hours" before things escalated.
"Yes, I think that is completely correct," Justin said in agreement. "I just want to make sure that people understand, the people who were looting and the people who are protesting are two different groups."
Adding to this point, Nina highlighted that "people who don't support the protest are running with this narrative."
"Like, everyone who was protesting just decided to, you know, zip up their backpacks and start looting," she further expressed. "I really don't feel like that's what we've seen."
In fact, Nina called out this narrative as being "distracting" from the real issue at hand.
"It's like with anything, when you go to a sporting event, there are always people who come to take advantage of a situation," she added.
As for Justin's firsthand experience at the demonstration, he and his fellow protesters departed Rodeo Drive at 4 p.m. for the peaceful march "and walked all the way to The Grove" in Los Angeles, he said.
"And about 7 p.m.is when tensions got high, tear gas came out, [rubber] bullets started flying, the cop cars set on fire," he relayed. "You know, when things went left, I went right home."
Furthermore, Justin felt an urgency to get to a "peaceful place" as he could "tell it was gonna escalate into something" he and others "weren't looking to be a part of."
The important conversation didn't stop there as Justin and Nina had a candid chat about Black Lives Matter. While celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and others have shared a meme which reads, "It's not white vs. black, it's everyone vs. racists," Nina shared that critics on social media have sounded off on the post for missing the point.
In response, Nina pondered why people are so afraid to call this "a black issue." For Justin, due to the politically correct climate, he believes that people find it easier to "make this a human rights issue." Justin understood this mindset as he reflected on his participation in the Women's March.
"When I went to the Women's March, it's not because I had an ovary or I even experienced anything close to what some of the women had experienced in Me Too, I was there because they weren't being heard and they weren't being treated equal," he said. "And I went there and supported and that's how I felt. It wasn't a women's issue to me."
While Nina understood this point, she emphasized a need to not water down the issue by erasing the word black. As Justin noted, the usage of the "All Lives Matter" hashtag "defend[s] what's happening in this country."
As the conversation continued, Nina contributed, "I feel like, as soon as someone posts something that says, 'Black Lives Matter,' you're instantly inundated with hashtags that say, 'All Lives Matter.' And it's insane to me because…if we're marching for AIDS, there aren't people coming in with posters that say, 'What about cancer?'"
Nina found herself frustrated and confused by the response to the usage of the Black Lives Matter hashtag.
"Most people will not admit to being racist! If you go up to the majority of people, they're gonna say they're not racist," she continued in regard to the problematic meme. "This is just an easy way to get away without saying, 'I support Black Lives Matter.'"
For these important insights and more, be sure to watch the Daily Pop highlights above.
"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."