In addition to contributing music to its soundtrack, Pharrell Williams is a producer of the film Hidden Figures, which tells the story an African American mathematician whose contributions to the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon are often forgotten. He was supposed to appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show alongside Hidden Figures star Janelle Monáe and his musical collaborator, gospel singer Kim Burrell, but after a sermon surfaced of Burrell decrying homosexuals as “perverts”, she was dropped from the show. In a subsequent Facebook Live webcast, Burrell stood by her comments, saying, “I make no excuses or apologies.”
Naturally, the situation was discussed during Ellen’s sit-down with Pharrell on Thursday. “[Burrell] made a statement, she was doing a Facebook Live, and she said some very not nice things about homosexuals,” Ellen said, “so I didn’t feel like it was good of me to have her on the show, to give her a platform after she’s saying things about me.”
“There’s no room for any kind of prejudice in 2017, and moving on,” Pharrell said in response. “[Burrell is] a fantastic singer and I love her, just like I love everybody else. And we all gotta get used to that. We all have to get used to everyone’s differences and understand that this is a big, gigantic, beautiful, colorful world, and it only works with inclusion and empathy. It only works that way.”
He later added, “The world is a beautiful place, but it doesn’t work without empathy or inclusion. God is love, this universe is love.”
Watch the clip below.
Update: Watch Pharrell perform “Runnin'” on Ellen.
Burrell also contributed to Frank Ocean’s latest album, Blonde. In response to the sermon, Ocean’s mother, Katonya Breaux, tweeted, “Son, can we drop Kim Burrell’s voice out of your song? I mean damn. Hypocrisy and the inciting of hate pisses me off.”