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The actor and host of “America’s Got Talent,” who has been a prominent part of the ongoing dialogue about racial equality, said in a new interview that the police procedural comedy he has appeared in since 2013 has ditched the first four scripts from Season 8, which were complete, in an effort to make them more topical in the wake of George Floyd’s death. He also talked about his experience with police as a Black man, including having a gun pointed at him in a case of mistaken identity, and his fears for his 14-year-old son.
“We’ve had a lot of somber talks about it and deep conversations, and we hope through this we’re going to make something that will be truly groundbreaking this year,” he told Access Daily of his NBC series. “We have an opportunity, and we plan to use it in the best way possible. Our showrunner Dan Goor — they had four episodes all ready to go and they just threw them in the trash. We have to start over. Right now we don’t know which direction it’s going to go in.”
Crews said that though he’s an actor now and played in the NFL before that, in his pre-fame days “I was always a threat. I would be going to the mall or going different places. I’ve had guns pointed at me by police officers in L.A. This was before I was famous. The thing is, they had the wrong guy.”
He said that “is something that every Black man has been through and it’s hard to really try to get other people to understand.”
Crews went on to say that “what is going on right now is Black America’s #MeToo movement. We always knew this was happening, but now white people are understanding.” And the videos of Floyd’s death while in police custody “literally opened up the world because now you’ve experienced it and you have to go through the same trauma that Black America has been going through.”
Crews has five children with wife Rebecca King, and he said he’s especially worried about his son Isaiah.
“As a young black man, you’re not going to be treated as a 14-year-old, especially by the police,” Crews said. “He was scared, I’ll be honest. It’s one of those things where he gets heart palpitations when a police car goes by. It’s not the same. He does not feel safe; there’s a threat feeling.”
But Crews remains optimistic.
“This is an opportunity right now for us all to unite and get together and understand what this is and that we have to battle this together,” he said.
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