The Oscar-winning actor engaged the audience with a performance of one of Harry Belafonte‘s biggest hits, and then said what his inspiration was in joining the protest of the teen who was killed by George Zimmerman.
“I was at the Image Awards and I run into Trayvon Martin’s mom and she has tears in her eyes…she said, ‘my boy is gone,’ he explained to host Jay Leno. “I won’t share with you exactly what she said, but I’m standing next to my 19-year-old daughter and tears filled my eyes because I was thinking, ‘what would I do if my daughter wasn’t there?’ And she asked me, ‘would you come personally and just stand with me. No political, no nothing. No Black. No White, just about a child that was murdered.”
“And I said, ‘yes,’ but I felt like I was being Hollywood, like half and half. Like I might go and I might not go. And then later that night, I reciveed an award for whatever I done. And Harry Belafonte goes on before me and he spoke so eloquently about how he was an activist first and an actor second. He challenged us that night. And when I went up there to say my speech … and I couldn’t get it out, I said listen: after hearing Harry Belafonte speak, I have a lot of work to do.”