Jay Pharoah Recalls EMOTIONAL Call To His Parents About Police Brutality Experience

Home / Stars / Jay Pharoah Recalls EMOTIONAL Call To His Parents About Police Brutality Experience

By TheBlast Staff on January 9, 2021 at 6:16 AM EST

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In June 2020, Jay Pharoah shocked fans by detailing a harrowing encounter with police brutality while in Los Angeles, California. 

Coming at the height of Black Lives Matter protests across the nation, Pharoah's story was a sentiment echoed by countless other African-American men who have been victimized by law enforcement over the years. Now, the "Saturday Night Live" star has opened up to Taraji P. Henson for her new Facebook Watch show "Peace of Mind," and shared how his parents reacted to the harrowing news of his encounter.

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The Explanation


Pharoah was candid in sharing how emotional his parents were upon learning of his harrowing encounter with police.

"My dad was in the background. My mom was just, I could hear it in her voice. I could hear the shakiness, the 'what if.' And that's what she said, 'We could have lost you today, had it been different. You really need to thank God,'" the actor explained of the phone call. "And I do thank God, but Mom, I'm just mad right now. I'm in a way that I've never been mad before, because I've never experienced this."

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'Totally Helpless'

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"So she felt totally helpless, and my dad was just trying to figure out what was going on," Pharoah went on to remember of the call in his chat with Henson. "Of course he was emotional about it, because he's been through situations. ... I know that moment for them had to spark emotion as well."

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Clearly, the call profoundly shocked Pharoah's parents, explaining how precedent in their own lives with regard to experiences with police brutality shaped their reaction to his story.

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What Happened?

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While appearing on "The Talk" in the wake of his ordeal, Pharoah explained the circumstances that resulted in him being victimized.

The actor recalled a simple stroll down the street turned nearly deadly, when he was just minding his own business, "And all of a sudden, I see a gun from my peripheral and I look and the officer is like, ‘Freeze! Get on the ground!’ And I’m like, ‘Oh snap.'"

Pharoah claims he was misidentified as a person of interest by the officers.

The Ordeal

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"They were coming at me, guns blazing, get on the ground, spread your arms like an airplane. Three more officers drove up," he went on to recall. "The officers all surrounded me…It’s hot, corona[virus] is definitely something to be worried about. The police officers didn’t have on gloves. They didn’t have on masks. They said get on the ground. They said I fit the description of a black man with gray sweatpants and a gray shirt."

Pharoah said he was cuffed and a knee was placed on his neck before officers recognized he wasn't the person of interest and released him.

"That’s why people everybody is out there protesting. Corona put us in the house and George Floyd took us out of it," he commented on the ordeal and the summer's protests at large.

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