Last year, former America’s Got Talent judge Gabrielle Union accused the show of having a “toxic work environment.” She said racism went on behind the scenes, and an investigation was conducted of the show that proved no evidence of this. Season 15 of ‘AGT’ had a mission to prove it is a non-racist environment and a safe workplace for all. And from the viewer’s perspective, they did just that.
‘AGT’ Promoted Inclusivity And A Zero Tolerance Policy This Season
Simon Cowell made it clear from the start that this season of America’s Got Talent had a zero-tolerance policy. After Gabrielle’s claims rocked the show, this was definitely an attempt for Simon to put the pieces back together. Gabrielle has been very public with her allegations that she was told her hairstyles were “too black” for the show and was threatened by high-level executives to keep quiet about these allegations. If you want to know more about exactly what went down between Gabrielle and ‘AGT,’ check out the What’s Hot Video below. It features details leading up to Gabrielle filing an official claim and going public with these allegations along with America’s Got Talent and NBC’s response on the whole matter.
By saying the show has a zero-tolerance policy during an episode, it showed the judges and producers this season were serious about making the set a better place for contestants and workers. This season we saw some of the most talented contestants of all time. They were all fully embraced regardless of their race, social class or age.
All Of The Golden Buzzers This Season Celebrated Diversity
First, we had Terry Crews give his Golden Buzzer to Voices Of Our City Choir. This extremely diverse group is composed of people who have suffered from homelessness at some point in their lives. It celebrates people of all ages, races and from all walks of life. It sent a really great message to viewers at home. ‘AGT’ does not discriminate anyone based on their background and it was a powerful moment to see this choir make it straight to the live shows. “They’ve been cast away, they’ve been marginalized for so long and to get the confidence to get up there and try something like this, I had to reward them,” Terry said after giving them the Golden Buzzer.
We also saw Heidi Klum’s Golden Buzzer Christina Rae make it all the way to the final three this season. Christina showed strength and resilience as she navigates the world raising her young son Jeremiah as a single mom. She was homeless while pregnant with her son and said ‘AGT’ would change her life and that definitely rings true.
Simon Cowell’s Golden Buzzer WAFFLE Crew also celebrated diversity and the art of New York City street dancing. But it was so much more than that. The dance crew has been a powerful voice in the Black Lives Matter movement. They said that they hope to change the world through dance. “It just felt like death and destruction was all around us and there is nothing we can do about it…” One of the group members said after earning the Golden Buzzer and returning to New York. “Me and my brother are here to make a difference not only for ourselves but for our families, our culture, our city, and our brothers up there watching us.”
Sofia Vergara’s Golden Buzzer Roberta Battaglia is Canadian and Italian. She opened up about how she has been bullied. But after taking the ‘AGT’ stage, Roberta showed her tremendous talent which prompted Simon to denounce bullying. He praised her from coming all the way from Canada to come to ‘AGT.’
Brandon Leake Won ‘America’s Got Talent’
Howie Mandel’s Golden Buzzer and eventual winner Brandon Leake spoke about the Black Lives Matter movement in one of his poems. He gave the perspective a black mother worrying for her sons life, the same thing his mom faces every day when he leaves the house. Brandon got candid with the audience and apologized for not calling his mother immediately when he returned home and causing her to worry. The judges fully embraced Brandon’s ability to put everything into perspective, especially for people who do not know what it is like to be Black in America. He also mentioned George Floyd and Breonna Taylor two black lives that were lost this year at the hands of police.
“Brandon took us through the journey of humanity. And this is what’s missing right now: understanding, humanity and justice,” Howie said after Brandon’s win. “This has been a hard time for all of us, but I thought that the win and the vote for him has given me and the world hope. I’m so thrilled America made this vote and listened to their hearts and their minds, especially on a day like today with what’s going on in the world. I hope that he is the light.”
Season 15 of America’s Got Talent had more diversity than ever before. We had quite a few great foreign acts along with acts that were on a mission to change the world. Brandon winning the show definitely changed the show along with making history as the first poet to ever win with his powerful words. The show definitely tackled the issue of racism claims head-on. ‘AGT’ even tweeted and showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.