Howard University student Nick Cannon is quitting America’s Got Talent following a fallout with NBC over a racial joke.
In a lengthy message posted to his Facebook account on Monday, Cannon said that while he loved hosting America’s Got Talent over the years, “my soul won’t allow me to be in business with corporations that attempt to frown on freedom of speech, censor artists and question cultural choices.”
“Not to get too detailed but this isn’t the first time executives have attempted to “put me in my place” for so-called unruly actions. I will not stand for it.
My moral principles will easily walk away from the millions of dollars they hang over my head. It’s never been about the money for me, what is difficult to walk away from is the fans, the people who love me on the show.
This hurts tremendously. I felt like I was a part of the fabric of our great nation every summer, representing every culture, age, gender and demographic. Now for the rug to be pulled from underneath me and to be publicly reprimanded and ridiculed over a joke about my own race is completely wrong and I have to do something about it.
I have fought many battles in my career and have never been afraid to go up against the system. I have mulled over my process for days and felt it was best to once again speak my mind about an unjust infrastructure that treat talent like they own them.
Maybe it was my mistake for signing the contract in the first place, in which I will take full responsibility and have already taken action to restructure my own team of advisors.
I now have to set out on a journey of freedom as an artist. As I was quoted in a recent interview, “You can’t fire a Boss!” and that is the essence that I possess. So I wish AGT and NBC the best in its upcoming season but I can not see myself returning. As of lately I have even questioned if I want to even be apart of an industry who ultimately treats artists in this manner.
Most of us don’t realize that there are 6 major corporations that control 90 percent of media in America and the amount of minority executives is dismal. With this being the case, true equality in our industry is impossible. There will always be a “do as I say” mentality that mirrors society’s perception of women and minorities, and only a few will stand up against it.”
Cannon also stated that he will not be silenced. Cannon made a racial joke that aired as part of his Showtime special, Stand Up, Don’t Shoot, which premiered earlier last week.
“I proudly stand as one of those few, and will gladly take on whatever repercussions that come with it,” he wrote. “I love art and entertainment too much to watch it be ruined by controlling corporations and big business. I believe It’s our duty as artists to make a difference and create change even if it’s one act at a time. Dr. King said it best, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”
Cannon enrolled in Howard University last fall.