E! host Justin Sylvester on being a ‘conduit’ for discourse around racial injustice

In the weeks since the killing of George Floyd fueled protests around the world calling for racial justice, E! News personality Justin Sylvester has been opening himself up to having open conversations in public forums and on major platforms.

In addition to welcoming a wide range of people onto his podcast, “Just The Sip,” the “Daily Pop” co-host has also appeared on the Comments By Celebs podcast and hosted the “Amplify Our Voices” live interview series on Bravo’s Instagram account. Whether it’s through the lens of celebrity, his own experience as a gay Black man in the entertainment business or through someone else’s viewpoint, Sylvester has gamely called out racism, celebrated thought leaders and demanded change in a way that he hopes reaches the ears of people who need to hear it most.

During a recent interview with In The Know’s Gibson Johns, Sylvester shared more of his thoughts on the action and discourse that have overtaken our country since Memorial Day and explained why he has strived to engage in that discourse as much as possible.

“The reason why I decided to have those honest conversations is because I have a platform that’s not on the Kim Kardashian level. I don’t have millions of millions of followers. But what I have, and what I’ve been blessed with, is a TV show and a podcast that allow me to connect with people every single day at 12:30 in the afternoon. And, when you’re on an opinion-based talk show like I am, people really get to know you, and they get to see you for who you are,” Sylvester explained. “So for me, if I’m having honest conversations every single day about pop culture news and entertainment and things going on, I should be able and willing to have uncomfortable conversations when it deals with Black Lives Matter.”

“I think a lot of times, when people hear ‘Black Lives Matter,’ they automatically get scared. Or they automatically say, ‘Oh, this has nothing to do with me. This is about Black lives,'” he went on. “And to be someone, a conduit, that can sit and have uncomfortable conversations with people who never had to deal with racism in their lives … you know, the girls behind ‘Comments by Celebs,’ I’m going to throw my hat off to them, because they could have stayed in their lane, and they could have sat there and did pop culture news and talked about the Kardashians, and nobody would have blinked an eye.”

“It’s starting conversations with people like them that do have the demographic and have the audience that need to hear these hard conversations,” the TV host added.

As he explained to ITK, Sylvester has experience understanding others’ perspectives, whether through interviews with different talent on “Daily Pop” over the years or through everyday interactions. And it’s that willingness to have empathy that he hopes more people will embrace when it comes to understanding and, ultimately, tackling racial injustice.

“What I’ve learned over the years, just in communicating with other people, is I might not get it, but I will sit here, and I will try to understand your side of the road,” he said. “If you come to me and you tell me that you worship this statue that you found because it has healing powers, I’m going to sit with you, and I’m going to let you tell me what that statue has done for you even though, in my mind, I think it’s crazy. I think part of human kindness and human decency is to empathize with people even though you don’t understand them.”

“Sometimes, when we see ‘Black Lives Matter,’ people turn the channel because they don’t understand it, and no one is explaining it to them in the way that they can understand it,” he went on. “So ,what I’m going to do is, I’m going to sit with you. And I’m going to talk to you in the way that you are willing to accept the information.”

For more of his wise words, listen to In The Know’s full interview with Justin Sylvester below:

Tune into “Daily Pop” on E!, weekdays at 12:30 p.m. EST. Listen to E!’s “Just The Sip” podcast here.

If you enjoyed this article, check out In The Know’s recent interview with pop star Kim Petras here.

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