As the star of Black-ish, Anthony Anderson is no stranger to tackling tough topics. But watching the Derek Chauvin trial, he says, was beyond the usual tough. He found himself exhaling following Chauvin's guilty verdict.
"I reacted with a sigh of relief," he tells Yahoo Life. "It's not justice, because a man was murdered in real time in front of us, live for the world to see. But there was accountability. I think we all cheered and jeered at that, because very seldom do we get victories, if I may use that word, for the family, victories for the community, and victories for the world at large."
Last week, Chauvin was found guilty on three counts, including second and third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter, for the 2020 death of George Floyd, which captivated the world. The killing was filmed by teen Darnella Fraizer, one of several bystanders who watched Floyd take his last breaths. The video would go on to be seen millions of times, becoming a catalyst for a summer of protests and uprisings.
Anderson notes that the video of Floyd's murder was traumatizing and something that still haunts him, and that it was equally hard to watch the Chauvin trial.
"Justice was swift and fair, I believe, in this instance, because of what we witnessed. And it was hard for me to watch this trial, just because of the footage of a man's life being snuffed out, being snatched away in front of us," he says. "So, it was very difficult for me, as well as a lot of other people, to sit there and watch this. I don't think the guilty verdict says much about the justice system. I think it says that people are tired of being sick and tired and that they're not going to stand for it anymore. And when the evidence is what it is, we have to move accordingly. And that's what the jurors did. And that's what the prosecution did."
Black-ish has certainly imitated reality, addressing racism and other topics, including a 2018 episode where Dre, who is played by Anderson, has to work on a campaign to teach parents how to address systemic racism in America. This episode hit home for many viewers, as well as for Anderson himself.
"I have had 'the talk' with my children, my son in particular, but we actually did an episode of Black-ish called 'The Talk,'" he recalls. "It's unfortunate that we as African-Americans have to have the talk with our children when that conversation isn't being had in households outside of our community. I had conversations with [my son] and, just with young Black youth across the country when I speak to them, and it's about surviving the encounter [with police], do what's asked of you and make it home. And however disrespected you might've felt as a man, as a human being, as a person, we'll deal with that together. But there's nothing that I can do for you with you laid out in an alley, on the street someplace. So survive the encounter, make it home, and then we will fight this together the proper way."
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