June 19, 1865 is widely commemorated as the end of slavery in the U.S. -- when an army general rode into Galveston, Texas to tell slaves of their liberation, two and a half years after slavery was already outlawed by the Emancipation Proclamation.
For the special, the hosts were joined by civil rights leader Dr. Angela Davis and activist Tamika Mallory. They began the episode by watching video of George Floyd's death, after a white cop kneeled on his neck until he stopped breathing.
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"It's still really upsetting," said an emotional Jada after watching the footage.
"Thank goodness for social media because we could at least film it," added Adrienne. "But you just think about all the times that it's happened and all the cases that we don't know about."
"I feel like right now, [this is] the first time I've ever seen so many people on the same page," said Willow. "On one hand, that's really inspiring and gives me a lot of hope and on the other hand, it kind of feels like just now?"
They then turned to Rayshard Brooks, who was shot and killed by Atlanta police in a Wendy's parking lot.
"I think one of the most painful things for me is the idea that Black men are the most dangerous creatures on the planet," said Jada after watching the footage. "So that, if he's drunk in a drive-thru at Wendy's, that justifies him being murdered or everyone talking about whatever George Floyd's rap sheet might have been as if any of that has anything to do with his rights to be treated as a human being."
After also bringing up the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice -- who was shot by police who came upon him with a toy gun -- and Breonna Taylor -- who was killed by police in her own home after allegedly executing a search warrant for the wrong house -- Dr. Davis said, "As long as this violence continues to be inflicted on Black people, no one is safe."
Jada wondered whether white people can be expected to "dismantle white supremacy," with Mallory saying now might be the moment when it happens. After she called attention to the widespread support for Black Lives Matter around the world, Jada said "maybe it's the generations to come" that will really make a change.
"When I look at Willow's generation they have a different mindset," she said, as Willow admitted her age group is really "blurring the lines" across the board. "Kids are growing up with this understanding that you can be whatever you want and you're not defined by your oppression, or your gender or your color," she added.
Dr. Davis praised the younger generation for questioning what's considered "normal," saying that "people are waking up" finally. "I won't say they're woke," she added, "but they're waking up."
The women also had a discussion about "cancel culture" and why it may not be the best thing right now. Instead, they hoped people could focus more on having conversations.
"That is so prevalent right now," said Willow. "I'm seeing people shaming others, like saying really terrible things, shaming people for what they're choosing to say or shaming people for not really saying anything at all. If we really want change, shaming doesn't lead to learning."
Mallory admitted that "cancel culture is a little dangerous," because nobody's perfect. "I'm expecting to be canceled at some point," joked Jada, saying it's already happened to her "several times."
Davis also warned against "the tendency to shortcut everything and to assume that everybody has to know everything already," hoping for more "conversation" as well. "This is a moment in which we can share and learn and sing and converse," she added, "people should not be afraid of being canceled for making a mistake."
"This is a time for conversation and of course, people are going to say something wrong," said Jada. "You just gotta know your position and you just gotta be steady. If you're in this conversation and you're in this movement, fire's coming your way and that's okay. To white people who are trying, keep trying, but make sure it's genuine. Yeah, you're gonna get bit up. Keep moving. You're gonna get canceled!"
Pinkett-Smith also asked the two activists how Hollywood should be helping the movement right now. For Mallory, she said that when it comes to working with celebrities, she hopes to cut out the middle man.
"The managers and the PR people and the agents and all those folks get in the way," she said. "I tell folks all the time, I can't work with the assistant on your freedom. I was on the phone with Alicia Keys myself at 2:00 in the morning. And Kelly Rowland and MC Lyte, Cardi B and I were on the phone like, 'What do I do.' You gotta go out there, you gotta hit the ground."
They all also stressed the importance of unity among the Black community -- with Mallory saying "All Black Lives Matter" and calling attention to the plight of Black trans women -- and women across the board.
"This is one of the things that I just have a difficult time with my white sisters," said Jada, who had a problem with feminists who want to tackle women's issues without also addressing race. "So if you are a freedom fighter, as a white woman, I can't understand for the life of me why it's so difficult to understand how racism is a tool that's used to oppress people and as long as there is any oppressed person on this planet, your fight will never end. I think that's the thing we need to get our white sisters to understand. You can't separate your '-isms' from ours."
They ended the conversation by addressing what the next steps are in the movement, calling out the importance of the next election. In addition to voter suppression being an issue, they also agreed neither Donald Trump or Joe Biden are great when it comes to race issues.
"I know so many young people who feel like Democracy doesn't exist," said Willow. Added her mom, "I don't feel like either party is servicing the Black community."
That being said, Dr. Davis said they should vote for the candidate who they feel could be more easily pressured in a more "progressive" direction -- and said it's clearly not the current administration.
"People need to stay in the street. Don't go home," added Mallory. "When you go home, then it's quiet and people can go back to business as usual."
"This is the most exciting moment I have experienced in my entire life and I want it to continue," said Dr. Davis.
Added Gam: "I've never seen anything like it in my lifetime."