Oprah Winfrey’s town hall on race featured a deep discussion with actor and director David Oyelowo, who revealed he’s been crying for two weeks over the civil unrest in America, and said he’s had to have tough conversations about police brutality with his young son.
In “OWN Spotlight: Where Do We Go From Here,” the actor, who portrayed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma,” explains that because he is of Nigerian descent, he has dealt with racism throughout his life.
He admits to mistakes he’s made, such as thinking racism was a thing of “the past,” and advising his son to not get “confrontational” with police officers if ever in a situation with them.
Oyelowo said that when he saw that George Floyd wasn’t resisting arrest while being taken into custody by Minneapolis police, he realized the problem of police brutality is even worse than he believed.
“I had made the mistake of thinking that things would be different for my son. I say mistake because I had watched things progress in some ways. And then the knee on the neck is so symbolic of so much,” he said. “It’s something I didn’t realize that I had internalized in a way that makes it difficult for me to function. I didn’t realize how deep the wounds were. I have spent so much of the last two weeks crying.”
He continued: “Those conversations are already emasculating to basically say, forget about justice in an interaction with the police.”
Winfrey said she understood, telling viewers that’s a conversation many black parents have with their children. “Yeah. And for everybody who’s watching who is not black, that is the conversation, that is the talk that every black parent has had to have with their children, particularly their sons,” she said.
Winfrey also spoke with director Ava DuVernay, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Stacey Abrams, along with other leaders and activists.
Part two of Winfrey’s conversation, “Where Do We Go From Here,” debuts Wednesday on OWN.