TIME 100 Talks
June 29, 2020 2:30 PM EDT

In the past, singer Jordin Sparks says that she’s been hesitant to speak up about politics over a fear of being misunderstood. But in this moment, as the U.S. reckons with a culture of systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in police custody, she says, “it’s past time for me to say something and I have to step up.”

In a TIME100 Talks discussion with executive editor Dan Macsai, Sparks said Floyd’s killing hit home.

“It’s different now, because the fear is very real when Dana leaves the house,” Sparks said, referencing her husband, Dana Isaiah. “I don’t want him to get pulled over. That fear is very real, and it’s very real for a lot of families across America.”

The American Idol winner, who performed “Smile” and “Unknown,” also discussed why she decided to push back her next album’s release. “I just wanted to take time to really cultivate and make sure I’m doing this in the right way,” Sparks said. “To me it just really feels right… so I can really gather my thoughts on how I feel about it.”

This article is part of #TIME100Talks: Finding Hope, a special series featuring leaders across different fields encouraging action toward a better world. Want more? Sign up for access to more virtual events, including live conversations with influential newsmakers.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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