Tiffany Haddish got emotional during her appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers on Tuesday, when she opened up about her difficult past experiences with police.
The 40-year-old comedian was asked about attending George Floyd’s memorial service in Minneapolis and she said that she had been invited.
She shared that she hadn’t been anywhere in months due to the coronavirus pandemic but felt it was important to be at the service given her own experiences being born and raised in South Central Los Angeles.
“But the thing that made me really want to be there is I have watched my friends be slaughtered by the police,” she said. “I have watched people be murdered in front of me. And as a 13-year-old, 14-year-old girl, you know, and there was nothing I could do, except, ‘No, don’t do that!’ — just yelling out. What does that do?”
“And so I wanted to be there in support of the family because I understand how they feel, and being there was like being there for all my friends whose funerals I already went to, all my friends who passed away, all the people that I went to school with who’ve passed away, have been locked up for no reason just ’cause they can’t afford a good lawyer or, you know, accused of things that they didn’t do,” she continued.
Haddish said she didn’t know the memorial was going to be televised, and joked that she told Kevin Hart and others to put their masks on around her but they didn’t listen. But on a serious note, the service was incredibly emotional for her.
“I cried so much,” she said. “I was crying so much and it was like, tears not just for Floyd, but for all of those people that passed away, of all of my friends and my family members that are locked up. It was just, like, all the tears that I ever wanted to cry were coming out.”
The Girls Trip star became particularly emotional when during Rev. Al Sharpton’s eulogy, he asked everyone to stand for eight minutes and 46 seconds — the amount of time former police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck. Haddish was seen breaking down in tears onstage.
“I’m standing there next to one of the mothers of a victim, and the quietness and then the thought of what if someone’s knee was in my neck for this long, how helpless were my friends when they were being attacked, you know, I just couldn’t — the tears, I was trying to swallow and it was coming out through my nose and my mask was full of snot,” she said.
Haddish later received backlash on Twitter, with some accusing her of wanting attention during the memorial even though she didn’t ask to be called onstage by Rev. Sharpton. She told Meyers the negative comments didn’t bother her.
“I don’t care if they’re tweeting about me,” she said. “If they’re tweeting about me and that’s bringing more attention to what’s going on right now, great.”
Later, she was asked about how cops are portrayed on television and in films and if she thought it was “strange” given her background. Haddish said she actually wanted to be a police officer growing up.
“I remember being seven, eight years old, like, ‘I’m going to be a police,'” she recalled. “Because, you know, TV portrays them as upright citizens, that, you know, they’re here to protect and keep the peace and then, as I get older, as I’m outside more — especially when I went into foster care — it’s not that. I see them antagonizing, creating drama among people. I was talking to my friend the other day. She’s like, ‘Well, why do y’all keep killing each other? If you guys didn’t kill each other …’ I was like, ‘If you don’t shut up.’ First of all, let’s break down why people kill each other, and don’t sit up here and act like white people don’t kill each other because there is a whole channel called ‘The I.D. Channel’ that I can sit and watch all day, white people killing each other. And never will there be a rerun. They show different, new murders every day. But you watch the news for 30 minutes and think we over here slaughtering each other.”
Meanwhile, ET spoke with Hart after Floyd’s memorial service, and he said his attendance was about “standing with the family.”
“[It’s] just literally letting them know that they’re not alone,” he said. “We now have a job to do, which is elevate our voices, use our platforms and really push the initiative for change. So for me, it was a no-brainer just to come. More importantly, when you just look at what’s going on globally, you look at the many different voices that are now being used and people are lying to themselves.”