Jordin Sparks Says She 'Can't Be Afraid to Offend People Anymore' After Being 'Nervous' to Speak Out Before
"I cannot not say anything. I have to say something," the American Idol alum said in a recent interview
Jordin Sparks is ready to make her voice heard.
The singer, 30, opened up on SiriusXM's The Joe Madison Show on Tuesday and shared the while she has been "nervous" to speak out publicly in the past, she's reached a point where she "cannot not say anything."
"I've always been one of those people that fears being misunderstood," Sparks told Madison, saying that she "would never intentionally try and hurt somebody's feelings or try and offend anyone."
"I have been nervous to speak on things, a lot of times throughout my career," the American Idol alum said, explaining that she "just can't be afraid to offend people anymore, or to be misunderstood."
"This moment in time for me, especially being mixed, and especially having a black husband, and a son that the world is going to view as black as well — even though he's got lighter skin and blue eyes, he's still going to be a black kid, you know what I'm saying? And for me, it was just like, you know what? Basically, expletive this. F this. I can't, I cannot, I just can't, I cannot not say anything. I have to say something."
Sparks said that she is shedding the fear of being misinterpreted "because people are going to misunderstand you if they really want to misunderstand you."
"And I just can't. I have to say something," she said.
Sparks said that it's "incredible" to see the ongoing protests against police brutality and systemic racism after the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes last month.
Sparks recalled getting emotional when she attended a recent protest.
"I saw this white woman who had a backpack," Sparks said, explaining the woman had a sign on her backpack that said "if the police get violent, stand behind me. I have first aid in my backpack."
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"I got choked up walking 'cause I was like, that's how you use your voice," Sparks said. "That's how you use your white privilege. You come in and you help, and you stand for your brothers and sisters in this world, you know? And it was just so amazing. And so for me, there was a lot of hope that I took from that."
"There's still a lot of frustration and anger obviously, because it's not going to be changed in a day, but this is a movement," she said. "This is not stopping."
While Sparks said that the mobilization in the wake of Floyd's death has been "incredible" to witness, she said, "We have to keep going."
"We gotta keep our foot on the gas," she said. "We can't just let up."
The "Battlefield" singer said that "is a very, very heavy, heavy weight to carry" to know that Floyd's fate is one that "could have been" shared by "my dad."
"That could've been my brother. It could have been my cousins," she said, explaining that is what inspired her to protest and speak out. "So, it was the conversations that I had with my husband, thinking about my family and also my son, because I was out there so my son's future can be better than this. It's gotta be better than this."
After Floyd's death, Sparks shared a lengthy post on Instagram expressing her fear when Isaiah was recently pulled over by police and calling her followers to action.
"I'm ½ white, ½ black but in the eyes of the world, I am black. My dad is black, my brother is black, my nieces, my dad’s side of my family, my husband & my son," Sparks wrote.
"One night, @_danaisaiah was driving home from the gym in a rental car bc his car was in the shop. For some reason, he was pulled over. It was dark & there were two officers. I remember him texting me & telling me that he was pulled over," she continued. "My whole body buckled. I was terrified."
"Dana would never hurt anyone, has no priors, has worked hard & cared for whatever community he’s in. But that doesn’t matter to racist people. They see his skin & think threat," she wrote. "Thankfully, he came home. But so many do not come home. So many do not get to see their babies again."
"The fear I felt for his life that night was very, very real," she said, going on to write, "If you are white, have black friends, spouses, lovers, kids, employers, pastors...this is your problem too. This is a call to you!!"
"Black people are hurting, tired, living in fear for their life & angry about it & you wonder why. We have been marching & calling & writing...I have been in action calling the DA & will continue!! If you are white, we need you to USE YOUR VOICE and speak up about these injustices! Things will only change when those with privilege stand up & say NO MORE."
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.