"When they see the energy of law enforcement [it's like], 'Uh oh, here comes the police,' " Nick Cannon said of his children

By Jen Juneau
June 03, 2020 01:36 PM
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In the wake of George Floyd's death, Nick Cannon is touching on the overarching themes behind the tragedy — and how he discusses them with his young children.

"My children fear police," the musician and Masked Singer host, 39, said during a recent interview with Access. "I try to teach fearlessness. I try to teach, 'You have a power within you that you need to fear nothing.' But when they see the energy of law enforcement [it's like], 'Uh oh, here comes the police.' "

"So that mindset of, 'Sit up straight and don't talk, keep your hands where they can see them' — these are things that I'm talking to a 3-year-old about [and] 9-year-olds about; they bring those questions to me," added Cannon, who's dad to 3-year-old son Golden and 9-year-old twins Moroccan Scott and Monroe.

Cannon remembers, while he was growing up, his "family was afraid to call the police," and says the fear was ingrained as "part of [their] culture."

"It's something that's hurtful to have those conversations with your children, but you want to protect them at the end of the day," the father of three told Access.

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Nick Cannon and his kids
Nick Cannon with twins Monroe and Moroccan
Nick Cannon/Instagram

During his childhood, "It wasn't about safety, it was like, 'Somebody's in trouble,' " Cannon recalled of the times when law enforcement showed up in his neighborhood. "It's never been a good experience."

"And that's why I say we gotta rethink and restructure what law enforcement is, specifically in our communities," he continued. "Law enforcement should be from the community. There was a time when we were able to 'police' our own, and have sovereignty ... and when we have the ability to self-govern and have a strong moral compass that comes from your community, you shouldn't have to have someone overseeing you."

"I'm ready to put my life on the line for this, because there's nothing more important to my community, nothing more important to my family, nothing more important to me, than to evoke change in a real way," Cannon said elsewhere in the interview.

Nick Cannon and son Golden
Brittany Bell/Instagram

RELATED VIDEO: Mother of George Floyd's Daughter Speaks Out After His Death

Cannon's comments in Tuesday's Access video come just over a week after Floyd, a 46-year-old truck driver, was killed. Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground for several minutes with a knee on the unarmed man's neck, amid Floyd's repeated cries that included statements like, "I can't breathe."

In a report released Monday, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner listed Floyd's cause of death as a homicide — specifically, "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression." It also said he "experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s)."

Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 25 years. He and the three other officers present were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department last week. Floyd's family is seeking a first-degree murder charge to be filed against Chauvin.

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 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.