Jimmie Allen Says He 'Pictured His Son' While Learning About George Floyd's Death

After encouraging his Instagram followers to lead with compassion amid the protests in the United States after the killing of George Floyd, Jimmie Allen paid a virtual visit to the Today show to expand on his message, explaining how he wanted to speak in the way that he did in an effort to impact as many people as possible. "When I first saw the George Floyd thing, right away I was like, 'Wow,'" Allen told Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager. "Things hit you harder when someone looks like you. I pictured my son. I pictured me."

Allen, who is Black, is also a dad to 6-year-old son Aadyen from a previous relationship and shares a 3-month-old daughter Naomi with fiancée Alexis Gale. "I was upset," he continued. "But the one thing I've learned is, hateful words don't welcome a listening ear. So I wanted to say something that would address the situation and how I felt but also let people know to lead with love." Allen shared that he was influenced by a conversation with one of his white friends, who asked him, "What if you have someone that's taught craziness and racism their entire life, they don't know any better... so when the world wakes them up to equality and we're all the same, not only do they have to process that, they have to go back and unlearn everything that they were taught."

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The Delaware native shared that he believes that his job is "to be persistent, patient and have compassion." "Because really that's the only thing you can ever do so hopefully one day we can see each other as equals." Last weekend, Allen shared a message on Instagram addressing the topic, telling his followers to speak up when they see someone being treated negatively. "It's our job as humans to point out the negative treatment of people," he wrote. "It doesn't matter if they look like us or not or if treatment of them directly affects us or not. If we see it and it doesn’t bother us, we need to check our hearts."

After Bush Hager read that statement on air, Allen referenced the flood of black boxes that appeared on Instagram on Blackout Tuesday last week, which was a day started by two black women in the music industry aimed at amplifying black voices. "The support is great, but it doesn't mean anything if it's empty," he said. "When you say, 'What's the purpose of your black box?' When you post something, have a reason."