One of the most prominent celebrities who is out as a lesbian, Ellen DeGeneres’ show, The Ellen Show, features artists and celebrities from all walks of life. While some talk about their movies and work and families and relationships, others perform their talents for the audiences. Recently, when Ellen DeGeneres invited Pharell Williams to perform parts of his music from the film, Hidden Figures, she took a stand that is worth applauding.
The song Pharell Williams was originally to perform was sung by Kim Burrell, titled, I See A Victory. And while the song itself is quite something, Burrell, who can be classified as a homophobe, condemned homosexuality, and saying that those who were still homosexuals in 2017 were going to die for it.
Ellen DeGeneres, who has been a role model for so many people who are struggling to come to terms with their sexualities, and has even been awarded a Medal of Freedom by outgoing President of the United States, Barack Obama, refused to allow Burrell on her show (an appearance that was scheduled the day after Burrell’s homophobic rant) and Pharell Williams appeared alone, performing a different song.
But that wasn’t all. Ellen DeGeneres also made sure to address the elephant in the room with Pharell Williams, and the pair of them once again reiterated the message that the world is a place of happiness, tolerance, inclusion, and empathy.
As celebrities continue to slam Kim Burrell for her comments, and some of her media appearances have also been cancelled since the release of her rant video on social media, Ellen DeGeneres has shown that it is important to stand for what you believe in, stand for your identity, and not compromise those beliefs for anything, even if it means celebrating a talented individual. In a world where principles are lax when it comes to commercials, where people would throw their own beliefs under the bus if it meant getting views, or hits, or likes, or popularity, or fame, or money, this is a brave step for Ellen DeGeneres to have taken and so many celebrities, including Pharell Williams and Janelle Monae, both of whom worked on Hidden Figures, to endorse. Sometimes, the simple courage to say ‘no’ is all you need. We salute you, Ellen.