Burrell, who worked with Pharrell on the soundtrack to Hidden Figures and is a pastor, was supposed to appear on DeGeneres’ show to perform the song “I See a Victory.” But DeGeneres canceled her appearance after a video emerged of Burrell making anti-gay comments during a sermon. (Burrell later discussed the comments in a now-deleted Facebook Live video, saying, “To every person that is dealing with the homosexual spirit, that has it, I love you because God loves you. But God hates the sin in you and me, anything that is against the nature of God. I’m called to do what God called me to do, and that’s it, and I do it with passion.”)
“I actually didn’t know her, her name is Kim Burrell. She made a statement she was doing a Facebook Live and she said some very not nice things about homosexuals so I didn’t feel that was good of me to have her on the show to give her a platform after she was saying things about me,” DeGeneres explained on Thursday, before letting Pharrell discuss Burrell.
“There’s no space, there’s no room for any kind of prejudice in 2017 and moving on. There’s no room,” Pharrell said, before adding that Burrell is a “fantastic singer.”
“I love her, just like I love everybody else and we all got to get used to that,” he said. “We all have to get used to everyone’s differences and understand that this is a big, gigantic, beautiful, colorful world and it only works with inclusion and empathy. It only works that way.”
In response to Burrell’s initial remarks, Pharrell posted a statement on social media: “I condemn hate speech of any kind. There is no room in this world for any kind of prejudice. My greatest hope is for inclusion and love for all humanity in 2017 and beyond.”
On Thursday’s episode of DeGeneres’ show, he elaborated on those remarks and expressed hope for a more empathetic future.
“Whenever you hear some sort of hate speech and you feel like it doesn’t pertain to you because you may not have anything to do with that, all you got to do is put the word black in that sentence, or put gay in that sentence, or put transgender in that sentence, or put white in that sentence and all of the sudden it starts to make sense to you,” he said. “I’m telling you, the world is a beautiful place but it does not work without empathy and inclusion. God is love. This Universe is love and that’s the only way it will function. And I get it, sometimes the divisive stuff works in life. We learned that lesson last year that sometimes divisiveness works. But you have to choose what side you’re on. I’m choosing empathy. I’m choosing inclusion. I’m choosing love for everybody just trying to lift everyone. Even when I disagree with someone, I’m wishing them the best and hoping for the best because we can’t win the other way.”