The Duke and Duchess of Sussex used the first episode of their Spotify podcast series to reflect on 2020 with a lengthy list of influential figures.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tapped the likes of Sir Elton John, Tyler Perry, Stacey Abrams, José Andrés, Naomi Osaka, Deepak Chopra and many others to reflect on what they’ve learned through the struggles of this year’s coronavirus pandemic and protests against racial injustice.
“We wanted to know what they’ll remember about this year,” Markle said. “How they’d explain it to future generations, what they learned about themselves and what gives them hope.”
Many of the figures touched on the moment they realized how bad the pandemic was. Perry, for one, who set up his “Camp Quarantine” to film the BET series “Sistas” earlier this year, spoke about the nation’s food insecurity problem.
“The lowest moment came right before Thanksgiving,” the producer, actor and activist said. “We were feeding 5,000 families here at the studio and I got in the car and drove around to see the line. I realized that 5,000 was not enough. The need was so great. There were thousands more cars than gifts and groceries that we had. To see people hungry and starving and children in the cars with their parents and people sleeping all night just to get groceries was heartbreaking on so many levels.”
Abrams, who was instrumental in flipping Georgia for President-elect Joe Biden in this year’s presidential election, spoke about the impact of the protests against racial injustice that engulfed the nation.
“I love the state of Georgia and this year was a year when that love was tested,” she said. “Where the darkest moments like the murders of Ahmaud Arbery of Glynn County and Rayshard Brooks of Atlanta, they were met with silence and sometimes with anger. But they were also met with the persistence of young voices who were in the streets demanding change. But they also demanded change at the ballot box. That’s something I’d always hoped for, for Georgia. But to know that it was real, to see it in action, was just transformative.”
The guests also touched on happy moments they experienced in 2020, such as Andrés working with his World Central Kitchen organization to provide meals to people in need across the country, Osaka playing games with her sister during quarantine, “The Late Late Show” host James Corden spending more time with his children and the Loveland Foundation’s Rachel Cargle using livestreams to read books to children struggling with not going to school anymore.
Prince Harry and Markle then asked their guests what their outlook is for the new year.
“I discovered that we can all make each other feel better by finding meaning and purpose in our life, not trying to change another person,” Chopra said. “It’s hard enough to change ourselves. My mantra now has to be love in action — that we should do something to help people. Because love without action is irrelevant, and action without love is meaningless. That the future of humanity lies in cooperation rather than predation…climate change, pandemics, depression, extinction of species, war, terrorism — this is an old story. And what I’m learning now is humanity is ready for a new story, new context, new meanings, new relationships, giving birth to a new humanity.”
The duke and duchess concluded the episode by playing the song “This Little Light of Mine,” which they also played at their royal wedding in 2018. Markle explained the choice as “it was the music we wanted playing when we started our lives together. Because as we all know, ‘darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.’”
The royal couple ended the podcast with a special message from their one-year-old son Archie, who, with his parents’ encouragement, wished the audience a Happy New Year.
Prince Harry and Markle’s podcast episode is the first from their Archewell Audio company, which signed an exclusive deal with Spotify earlier this month. The couple will be producing more podcasts in 2021.
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