Jimmy Fallon told his viewers on Monday night that he’d be having a “different kind of show” after the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent global protests and continual police brutality happening in the U.S.
The late night talk show host, who was called out last month for wearing blackface to impersonate comedian Chris Rock on Saturday Night Live 20 years ago, said he wanted to apologize again for the racist misstep although he “kept getting advised” to “just stay quiet and to not say anything…because we’re all afraid.”
Fallon admitted he was “horrified” after looking “in the mirror.” The 45-year-old added that he wasn’t upset “that people were trying to cancel me.”
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“The thing that haunted me the most is how do I say I love this person,” Fallon continued, referring to Rock. “I am not a racist.”
In the sketch that reportedly aired on March 11, 2000, on NBC, Fallon portrays Rock as he appears on a fictional talk show hosted by Regis Philbin, portrayed by Darrell Hammond.
In 1998, five years after Rock’s departure, Fallon became a cast member of the popular sketch show.
“So I thought about it and realized that I can’t not say, ‘I’m horrified and I’m sorry and I’m embarrassed,'” Fallon continued Monday in his opening monologue.
“The silence is the biggest crime that White guys like me and the rest of us are doing, staying silent. We need to say something, we need to keep saying something, and we need to say ‘That’s not okay’ more than one day on Twitter,” Fallon concluded.
After video surfaced late last month to a roar of backlash on social media, the comedian took to Twitter to apologize.
“While on SNL, I made a terrible decision to do an impersonation of Chris Rock while in blackface. There is no excuse for this,” he wrote last month. “I am very sorry for making this unquestionably offensive decision and thank all of you for holding me accountable.”
Saturday Night Live declined to comment when ESSENCE reached out last month. Rock, for his part, has also remained silent about the ordeal.