Alicia Keys, singer-songwriter, hosted a Nick News special called Kids, Race and Unity: A Nick News Special. Nickelodeon announced that the children’s program will premiere a special presentation on Monday. The program aimed at amplifying the voices and experiences of Black children across the US. The special comes amid nationwide demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality. The Black Lives Matter Movement was reignited by the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.
Hosted by Grammy-winning singer Alicia Keys, the special featured Black children, teen activists fighting racial injustice and BLM movement leaders. They answered questions from kids and offered advice to families on how to have constructive conversations about race and inclusivity. The special was aired on the Nickelodeon TV channel, the Nick.co.uk website, Instagram TV, YouTube and the Nick Play app.
“We are going to hang out for the next hour and have an important conversation. A conversation on why so many people are upset,” Alicia Keys said. “Many of you may have questions, like why are people marching? Why are people screaming? ‘No Justice, No Peace.’ What can we do about police violence. ?”
“Talking about race can be sensitive and uncomfortable. Sometimes we try to protect our children from racism they are already experiencing. But honestly, there is no way around this topic if we want to move forward in any kind of meaningful way. What’s happening in the world is not just a problem for the Black community, it’s all of our problems and we ALL have to care about it in order to change it!” said Alicia Keys. “This is such an important, vulnerable, honest and beautiful conversation, and I know many families may be searching for the right way to enter it. Let’s really deep dive together.”
Star studded special
The Nick News special was star-studded and had a lot of guest appearances. The program focused on the voices of youth and their experiences with racism, including “Little Big Shots” star Keedron Bryant. His passionate performance about being a young Black man in today’s world went viral. “I’m so excited and thankful and grateful that I can spread my message out there. Black people can live on Earth and we can enjoy life without being afraid,” Bryant said.
Madison, a 13 year old girl, revealed she first experienced racism when she was called the N-word on a social media app. She asked the guests and founders of the BLM, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, what the movement stands for.
“There is no way that all lives matter”
Garza explained, “Black Lives Matter is really fighting for the dignity and humanity of Black communities all over the world.” Tometi added: “For us, Black Lives Matter is incredibly unifying. When we say ‘All lives matter,’ we’re actually denying what’s happening to Black people in particular. There is no way that all lives matter, given what happens to Black people on a daily basis.” Khan-Cullors encouraged kids to get involved in the movement by looking at what’s happening in their own hometowns. Alicia Keys added that it’s important to hold our friends accountable for their actions and words.
Author Ibram X. Kendi, who penned the best-selling books “How to Be an Antiracist” and “Antiracist Baby,” was also a special guest on the show. He broke down terms that many children may be hearing, including “ally,” “racial profiling” and “privilege.”
Kendi explained, “If you are that Black person and you walk into a store and somebody racially profiles you and thinks you are a criminal. Meanwhile, if you are a white person who walks into that same store, because of the color. because of your privilege, no one would look at you as a criminal.” Alicia Keys Joined in recommending a family book club as one way to start a discussion about race and racism with your parents.
The nick news special saw several celebrities making guest appearances and offering their words of encouragement throughout the special. Some big names included Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, musician Chance the Rapper, comedian Kevin Hart and supermodel Naomi Campbell.
Nickelodeon’s previous moments of support
Nickelodeon has been quite vocal about their support in the past as well. They showed support for the BLM movement following Floyd’s death by airing a commercial of breathing sounds with the words “I can’t breathe.” The commercial received mixed reviews and seemed to divide the audience. The move angered some parents, while others applauded it.
The network took to instagram earlier this month to post a message. “Nickelodeon is going off the air for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in support of justice, equality and human rights. We are all part of the change #BlackLivesMatter.”
The network also shared a Declaration of Kids’ Rights. “You have the right to be treated with equality, regardless of the color of your skin. You have the right to be protected from harm, injustice and hatred.”