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Interview With South Korea Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha; Interview With Cher. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired December 16, 2020 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, and welcome to AMANPOUR.
Here's what's coming up.
CHER, SINGER AND ACTRESS: Women are great. Women are tough, you know? Don't screw with them.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Cher, an irresistible force. The living legend weighs in on her life as a Pop Goddess and passionate conservationist.
KANG KYUNG-WHA, SOUTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTER: The virus has now penetrated into every corner of everyday life of people.
AMANPOUR: Once the envy of the world, South Korea's Foreign Minister Kyung-Wha Kang on fighting a new wave of coronavirus in a risk-filled
corner of the world.
DEREK BLACK, FORMER WHITE NATIONALIST: The family that I was born into had already spent years trying to mainstream white supremacy.
AMANPOUR: Our Michel Martin speaks with reformed white nationalist Derek Black.
AMANPOUR: Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London, where, in a holiday season fraught with health dangers, some
Britons are complaining of serious mixed messages from the government.
London returns to partial lockdown today, yet the government plans to ease restrictions again for several days around Christmas. Germany, however, is
cutting back on Christmas gatherings. Meanwhile, the United States continues to break new records, with almost 200,000 new cases and more than
3,000 deaths every day.
Still, public health officials have to fight back against conspiracy mongers.
Here's the assistant secretary for health:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADM. BRETT GIROIR, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: We have hundreds of thousands of dead Americans. We will have millions of
people around the world. This is not phony. This is not fake. It is serious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And across the world, South Korea, until now a model for battling coronavirus, is grappling with an alarming rise in new infections.
The government in the capital, Seoul, warns there is only one COVID- dedicated ICU bed left in that city.
Correspondent Paula Hancocks is there, and she followed health sleuths on their rounds.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The lunchtime rush at a Seoul restaurant with almost every table taken. One diner tests positive
for coronavirus. The search begins for who else may have been infected.
It starts with a phone call confirming the patient I.D. from a health official to an epidemiologist investigator. Mobile phone and credit card
checks follow. Lee Young-wook a contact tracer, and her colleagues physically retrace the footsteps.
The restaurant owner shows where the customer was sitting and shares the CCTV footage. Lee checks who is close by and needs to be warned. The owner
and staff have already tested negative.
Lee makes at least 10 of these visits a day, rarely finishing work before 9:00 p.m. She tells me: "The person having lunch with the confirmed case is
not wearing a mask and is a close contact. He has been contacted, tested and quarantined for 14 days."
With hundreds of new cases every day, this work is becoming harder, with many cases now termed as untraceable.
(on camera): If the mobile phone and credit card usage isn't quite enough to gain a full picture, then contact tracers can track an individual's
movements here at this CCTV center. They can find out exactly where a confirmed case went, who they met and, crucially, they say, whether they
were wearing a mask.
(voice-over): More than 3,000 cameras cover just this one Seoul district of Seocho, normally used for crime prevention, but now a key element in the
fight against the coronavirus.
(voice-over): The mayor of Seocho says the reason this third wave is so difficult to contain is because infections are happening in all cities and
While the first two waves centered around one or two main outbreaks, health officials now say you can catch the virus at any time in any place. Extra
testing sites have been set up around greater Seoul for the next three weeks, health officials providing free tests for all, regardless of
symptoms or exposure.
Shipping containers are being used to set up more hospital beds to coped with the feared upcoming lack of rooms for coronavirus patients, and more
than 1,300 military personnel have been deployed to health centers in greater Seoul to help with the legwork and data processing.
President Moon Jae-in says this is an emergency situation, calling it the final challenge before the vaccines arrive.
AMANPOUR: Paula Hancocks reporting from Seoul there.
So, how is South Korea navigating this emergency situation?
Kyung-Wha Kang is the country's foreign minister. In our exclusive conversation, she acknowledges that South Koreans may have let their guard
down in light of that early success.
AMANPOUR: Foreign Minister Kyung-Wha Kang, welcome to the program.
KANG: Well, thank you for having me back on your program, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: You know, when we last smoke, it was a very, very different world. And now today, December 2020, you and South Korea are facing a third
wave, maybe even a fourth wave of this coronavirus.
Just tell me why this latest one is so difficult to control.
KANG: Yes, we are in the midst of our third wave, which is turning out to be higher than the first and lasting much longer.
And it is thus because the virus has now penetrated into every corner of everyday life of people. And it's happening mostly in the metropolitan
Seoul area. And you know how packed with people this particular area is in a country that is already one of the most population density-wise, high-
So, it's -- today, in fact, we have hit the peak, highest number so far at 1,073 new confirmed cases, including, of course, those who have recently
come in from overseas. But we are -- our system is now ramping up on all three T's, the testing, the tracing and the treatment.
And so it's time for us to be ramping up on the basic setup, which is our very robust three T's.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you, though, just to back up a little bit, because treatment involves, obviously, hospitalizations.
And we understand that, literally, at this moment, you may have only one ICU bed available, one bed available in, as you say, your very densely
populated capital. That's a real problem.
KANG: Yes. Yes, I think that getting, securing more hospital beds is the challenge of the day yesterday, today and the days going forward.
We're also a system where 10 -- just 10 percent of our beds are publicly administered. The 90 percent, the rest, are in private hospitals. So, our
health authorities are also talking to the private hospitals to secure some beds in the private setting.
So, I think there are a series of flexibility going forward, but ,of course, we want to make sure that our public facilities are fully utilized
before we travel down that road.
AMANPOUR: Can I ask you to react to what the prime minister said just yesterday, you know, basically lamenting the fact, as he says, that South
Koreans have let their guard down after such pretty impressive discipline and control in the first wave?
He said yesterday: "While most follow the rules, some are fueling the ferocious spread of the virus with their carelessness and
And I'm just wondering whether this will lead -- I don't know whether you can tell me about what your government is discussing, for the first time, a
lockdown, a soft lockdown, a hard lockdown, but some kind of lockdown.
KANG: This is a very difficult discussion. Some say, yes, we should,. Some say, no, we shouldn't hurry into it because the social economic
consequences are going to be so huge.
So you have to work through how this will play out if, in fact, it will be effective in terms of capturing the further spread of the virus, so, it's a
very, very tough, tough discussion and a tough call, if it should be made.
But if we make that call, we want to be as prepared as possible in terms of the measures that need to be in place to help out with the small restaurant
owners, small businesses and so on and so forth. Yes, so we are in discussion, but the decision has not been made yet.
And I have to say, I think there was a little bit of complacency setting in after the successes and, of course, our experience in the way we have
handled this being touted as a success by the foreign media. I think perhaps that has led to a certain amount of complacency.
AMANPOUR: Well, I mean, it has also still to be pointed out that comparatively South Korea has a pretty, what your own government has called
We're 612 the death count and slightly over 45,000 case counts as of today. Compared to other OECD countries, I think we're the second lowest, next to
New Zealand, in terms of the confirmed cases and the death numbers.
Of course, we're also a country with a much larger population and much higher population density than New Zealand. But compared to others, we are
But it's all comparative. We're used to low numbers. And once those low numbers start ticking up again, of course, we are -- it makes us all on
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about vaccines in general and vaccine hesitancy.
You have already, according to your public health officials, had a pretty bad rap when it comes to taking the flu vaccine. You have tried. Let me get
the figures right. You have tried to vaccinate 30 million people against the flu, which was 10 million more than last year.
But there were huge rumors that spread online which created a lack of confidence. A few people died, but then, immediately, your health officials
said that it was not related to vaccine at all. But there's a lot of social media conspiracy theories, which is creating a pretty unusual vaccine
hesitancy in your country.
KANG: I think the story with the influenza vaccines, I think that's pretty much put to rest.
I think the flu vaccine story is now -- is not a concern. I think we have surveyed the people's willingness to take the COVAX-19 vaccines if it -- if
the vaccine was proved safe and effective. And I think the survey came out to be something like 70 percent. So, I wouldn't worry too much about
vaccine hesitancy in Korea.
AMANPOUR: All right. Well, that's good.
Can I ask you to comment on how think your neighbor to the north is handling it? Do you, with your intelligence capacities, think that North
Korea has had a big outbreak, a small outbreak, handling it well, handling it badly? What's going on?
KANG: Well, there are official stories that they have no case, confirmed case.
I think, given that this is a virus that spreads very quickly, and even in countries that quickly close down, the virus got in and spread, so it's
hard to believe that there aren't any cases. But that's the official story.
We have offered to work together on the containment of this together, but they have not replied to our offer of working together and assisting to
fight this pandemic.
AMANPOUR: All right.
So, let me talk to you more then about sort of your remit now as foreign minister, and remember, of course, you were the first South Korean foreign
minister to visit North Korea.
But I want to ask you in terms of U.S. relations. Should I just bluntly ask you, are you relieved that there will be a new administration, given what
were some difficulties between South Korea and the Trump administration?
KANG: With the Trump administration, given his very unconventional style, I think that that did pose a challenge to those of us who are more used to
and comfortable with a more conventional style of doing diplomacy.
But, having said, I worked very closely with my own counterpart, Mike Pompeo. We disagreed on many things. We had arguments. But I think, the
nature of the relationship is such that we can really have a genuine discussion on issues that we don't agree on, and that -- and move on.
And I think we will have that same level of honest, close discussion with the incoming administration. Given the signals coming from the incoming
team during the campaign, after the campaign, their remarks about the importance of the alliance, the importance of South Korea in their global
scheme of things, I expect to have a very close and very good working relationship with my counterpart and our team and their team.
AMANPOUR: What is happening with your leaflet law? It was a well-known program of kind of getting South Korean information into North Korea.
The Parliament this week has criminalized that leaflet law.
KANG: Well, you know, this wasn't the first time that Parliament tried to proscribe that activity.
There have been a dozen legislative initiatives over the years, since 2008, I believe, because this is -- you know, this is happening in a very
sensitive area, the most militarized zone in the whole world, with people living right next to the border area.
And we have an incident in 2014, when the balloon was shot at by anti- aircraft artillery by the North Koreans, and the South Korean military felt compelled to shoot back.
So, in an area where -- a highly militarily tense area, where anything can go wrong, lead to even bigger clashes, and the people living near the
border have been asking that these activities stop for years.
And so I think, at this time, the Parliament has -- there was a recent incident of balloons going towards the North, and the North Koreans replied
by completely blowing up the Kaesong liaison office.
You -- this argument that this is a restriction on freedom of expression -- freedom of expression I think is absolutely vital human rights. But it's
not absolute. It can be limited, according to the ICC. It has to be by law. It has to be limited by law. It has to be limited in scope.
And it is limited in scope. It is only when these acts poses harm or poses danger to the life and the security of the -- of our people.
AMANPOUR: Gosh, I have to say listening to you, it really is kind of way out of proportion, I mean, to react to balloons with anti-aircraft
artillery and all the rest of it. But, still, it is the DMZ, and it is a pretty unusual place.
Let me finally end this by asking you about yourself.
Kyung-Wha Kang, you are the first South Korean female foreign minister. You have said last month that you felt prejudice towards woman while working in
-- quote -- "male-centered cultural of vested interests."
Tell me about that, and what needs to be done further in your country?
KANG: Well, I think -- I think lots have changed.
Just the fact of me in this position, and in this position for so long, is a -- certainly me trying hard, but also the support I get from staff at
senior levels and junior levels. It is also the junior staff who are majority female coming into the ministry who are rooting me.
And so I think have -- I owe them this responsibility of doing my very best in this position. I think all women in leadership positions feel that to a
certain extent. It is also political will needed on the part of our male colleagues.
I'm here because my president decided that he wanted to put women in a position of very -- in important leadership as part of his cabinet
I think we also have to make sure that women with careers can pursue that career and family life together, together with their male spouses. Still,
the housework, child caring, this is predominantly on the side of women. And so we have to introduce more support for young families, parents who
are struggling with careers and child care altogether, clearly seeing the self-interest, self-benefit in the long run sharing that equitably with
Foreign Minister Kyung-Wha Kang, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us.
KANG: Thank you, Christiane.
AMANPOUR: And now to another trailblazing woman in a different field.
My next guest is the one-word icon Cher. The chart-topping singer and Oscar-winning actress has been ruling the world since the '60s, although
she perhaps wouldn't describe herself that way.
Now the goddess of pop is in the midst of her next reinvention, as naturalist. This November, egged on by legions of young fans, Cher helped
relocate an elephant known as the world's loneliest elephant from an Islamabad zoo to a Cambodian refuge.
I met Cher in London's Soho this week to discuss her careers, her struggles and her latest adventures.
AMANPOUR: Cher, welcome to the program.
CHER: Thank you. I'm happy to be here.
AMANPOUR: It's great to have you here.
And I want to ask you first about something that maybe not so many people know about you, and that is your conservation work. Free the Wild, you're a
CHER: Right. Right.
AMANPOUR: And, yes, the pictures went viral. You rescued and re-homed an elephant.
AMANPOUR: Why? Where? What made you do that?
CHER: Well, I didn't plan to at all.
The kids on my Twitter feed started sending this thing, and it was -- it was, free Kaavan. And I thought, well, OK, if I don't answer, they'll just
But they didn't. And it was in Pakistan. And I thought, I'm just an entertainer. How am I going to go to Pakistan and free an elephant?
We had to work through two administrations. And when Imran came in, everything got much easier.
AMANPOUR: That's the current prime minister, Imran Khan.
AMANPOUR: So, how long have you been working on this?
CHER: Three years.
AMANPOUR: Wow. That is dedication.
CHER: Yes, it just -- as we started doing it, I wasn't going to give up.
So, we went to Pakistan. And we saw him. He's beautiful. And we started meeting the Pakistani people. And the people were so nice to me, and then--
AMANPOUR: Did they know you as Cher the entertainer?
CHER: I don't know. I don't think they did. It was a teeny little place. I mean little like that.
And then the elephant was airlifted to a refuge.
CHER: So, then he landed and we were all on the tarmac and we were excited. And then there was a five-hour drive to the sanctuary.
And so, I could see him. And, in Islamabad, he just did this. That's all he did. That's what elephants do when they're traumatized. They move their
head and they move their body. And once he got into it, he didn't do it.
And he looked around and he was walking around. And he was looking at everything and giving himself a dirt bath and talking to the girls,
AMANPOUR: That's amazing.
AMANPOUR: You know, you've had a massive career, singer, actress, now conservationist and philanthropist.
Did you know that "The New York Times" has named Cher as one of the top performers of 2020 for your performance in the 1987 film "Moonstruck?"
CHER: OK. Well, that's great. I'm happy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MOONSTRUCK")
NICOLAS CAGE, ACTOR: I'm in love with you.
CHER: Snap out of it!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: I mean, do you relate to how they have obviously found something that they respond to in "Moonstruck"?
CHER: Well, you know, it's a wonderful movie.
And MGM hated it. They didn't want to put it out. They said, there's no audience for this movie. And we were all proud of it. And we thought, we
don't care if anybody sees it. We believe that we've done something good.
And then one of the films that they had out fell apart, and so "Moonstruck" was the only thing they had, so they put it out. And all of a sudden, there
was this groundswell.
AMANPOUR: Yes, it was one of your first major -- I mean, you know, you had already been nominated for best supporting in--
CHER: Right, in "Silkwood," right.
AMANPOUR: -- in "Silkwood," which was really a dramatic film. I mean, that was amazing.
And I didn't have any part when we started that. He just kept saying, Cher, I want you to say that go in there, and then I want you to be there. And, I
mean, the part just started expanding like crazy.
AMANPOUR: I mean, did the acting world take you seriously as -- as an actress?
My first job was with Robert in "Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean."
And they told Robert that this is his first time on Broadway and do not hire her. It is a huge mistake. Do not hire her. And if you know Bob, it
was like the first thing he did.
AMANPOUR: Which is great.
AMANPOUR: I love also, you know, because it -- it really -- it really speaks to who you are, when your mother once told you -- you're quoted as
saying: "Mom said to me one day, you should settle down and marry a rich man."
"And I said, 'Mom, I am a rich man."
CHER: "I am a rich man."
Yes. And I don't know where it came from, but it -- it's -- obviously, it's somehow real, because I didn't expect to say it at all, but it just came
out. And that's the way I feel.
AMANPOUR: I just saw you mouthing it as I was saying it. I mean it's obviously almost like a mantra.
CHER: Right. And also the kids are always saying it. And, like, I have a T-shirt that shows me and it says, "Mom, I am a rich man."
AMANPOUR: It resonates.
CHER: I think it's a good thing for young women, but I don't know exactly what it means.
CHER: I don't know exactly -- like, I said it, and -- but I don't know why I said. I mean I know I feel it, but I'm not sure the reality of it. I
don't know where it came from.
AMANPOUR: OK, so you don't know where it came from.
But, now looking, back because this was obviously was years ago--
AMANPOUR: -- do you have an idea of what you were trying to say?
AMANPOUR: But you also talk about how difficult it was for you as a woman.
AMANPOUR: So, maybe subconsciously--
CHER: Can't we all talk about that?
AMANPOUR: Come on, then. I want to hear you talk about it.
CHER: All right. Well, yes, it was hard.
I mean I had Sonny, though. So, in 1965 -- and also we were drowning in America. It wasn't until we came here, you know?
AMANPOUR: Here to the U.K.?
CHER: Yes, because the people in America hated us. They were so afraid of the way we looked. And we were so strange to them.
They were like, uh-uh, uh-uh. We came here, and it was like, we love you. It was heaven. It was heaven, because everybody liked us and our songs were
on the charts. And when we went back, people thought we were English.
AMANPOUR: "I Got You Babe," of course, was--
AMANPOUR: -- the iconic one. There's so many, but that one--
CHER: But if it wasn't for the U.K., we couldn't get arrested.
AMANPOUR: I never knew that.
I mean, to be fair, when you did the Sonny & Cher show, it was broadcast around the world on American stations in places as far afield as Iran. I
mean, I watched it growing up.
Tell me how difficult it was for you, as a woman, because you've spoken about it, certainly on stage, reinventing yourself. I think there were
bankruptcies. There were people who didn't take you seriously--
AMANPOUR: -- despite all your massive success.
There was this one reporter who kept saying, she's got 10 minutes left, she's not going to be here in a year. And, finally, I said, you know what,
dude? I'm going to be here when you're not longer -- when you're no longer working.
And I kept thinking of myself as a bumper car. And I thought if I hit the wall, I'll come back and I'll go another direction. And, I mean, I went
bankrupt. I -- it was terrible. Nobody wants to do that.
And, also, no one wants to think of themselves as, like, a loser and that no one likes you again. So, I just had to keep doing this.
AMANPOUR: But it clearly was -- I mean, in retrospect, I mean, really valuable. And you proved everybody wrong and. It was a source of great
AMANPOUR: -- and success for you.
CHER: But you don't -- you don't know it. Like, you're hoping, and you're not giving up, but you don't know what's going to happen.
So -- well, you know you said, dude, I'm going to be here for forever. There have been people recently--
CHER: Well, it was just -- it was just a front. I didn't know what I was going to be.
AMANPOUR: Well, but the thing is, you have been.
AMANPOUR: You have outlived so many of the naysayers.
And you are 75 years old.
CHER: Seventy-four. Seventy-four.
AMANPOUR: Seventy-four years old.
CHER: Give me -- give me every minute I can have.
AMANPOUR: Sorry. I fully agree with you, 74 years old.
And critics have said that your voice is as strong as ever.
CHER: And it is.
And I had my doctor -- I mean, it's not like for me to give a compliment. My doctor said -- he was looking at my cords. And then he said, I want to
show you something. So, he pulled up some cords.
And he said OK, these are your cords and these are 25- and 27-year-old girl cords.
And I'm just recording an album now. And I don't know -- I mean, it's very unnatural. So, this might be my last album. I feel like Tony Bennett and
Betty White, you know?
But it could be my last album.
AMANPOUR: There's a very unpleasant story about "Witches of Eastwick." I think, on your 40th birthday, the director called you up and said the star,
Jack Nicholson, didn't think you were young--
AMANPOUR: -- or sexy enough to play the part.
AMANPOUR: I mean, what did you think?
CHER: Well, I was so -- I just -- I kept hearing from the director and my agent and the studio. And they would say, he loves you, he wants to come
over, he wants to talk to you. And then he would come over and he would say, I want to change your voice. You have to change the way you look. I
don't like your walk. I don't like anything about you, really.
And I called him. I went, guys, this is not what's happening when he comes over.
And he just didn't like me. And then we started working, and we never had a bad moment after that.
AMANPOUR: He being Jack Nicholson?
CHER: -- Jack. George.
AMANPOUR: OK. Yes.
But it was Jack who apparently -- he was trying to say that--
CHER: I don't believe Jack said that.
CHER: I mean, I've known Jack forever. And he could have said that.
But then Michelle was the only young one. Susan and I were old. But, so--
AMANPOUR: That's Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer, yes?
CHER: Yes, right.
AMANPOUR: I mean, you weren't old. You were 40 years old.
CHER: Yes, well I -- yes. Now, in retrospect.
But, no, I was pretty hot at 40. But it's--
AMANPOUR: Some people would say you're still hot. And many people would say you're still -- you're an icon, actually, and not only for everybody,
but especially in the LGBTQ community.
AMANPOUR: And that's pretty something.
And you have a son--
AMANPOUR: -- who's a transgender son, Chaz. And do you think that is what has made you sympathetic to the LGBT community, or did you have that going
in? Did the fact that--
CHER: At 9 years old I knew. Like, one day, I came home and there were these two men in my living room with my mom and my aunt. And they were
doing their hair. And they were talking.
And I was thinking, why haven't we ever had these kind of guys around, because these guys are like the coolest? And that was my beginning into the
gay world. And we were always just like this, because gay people don't feel like they fit in, and I never felt like I fit in.
AMANPOUR: How much did being -- I mean, your father was Armenian heritage. Your mother, I believe, was Cherokee, American Indian.
CHER: And many other things.
AMANPOUR: And many others.
AMANPOUR: How much did--
CHER: I never met my father until I was 11.
AMANPOUR: No. No. But you knew that you had all this identity.
CHER: I didn't know anything.
AMANPOUR: You didn't know.
CHER: My mother --
AMANPOUR: Did you not know that you were American Indian?
CHER: My mother didn't tell me anything --
CHER: -- until the day he walked in the door.
AMANPOUR: And what about her own background, Native American background?
CHER: Well, they would tell me stories about my great grandmother and how she was tough. From what I understand she was very, very tough. And so --
but my mother really -- I don't know why she didn't want to tell me and then he walked in and I knew lots of reasons why she would look at me with
a strange look sometimes because he and I have the same expressions and, you know, we eat slowly.
CHER: And don't -- neither one of us have a temper.
AMANPOUR: And he sort of abandoned you. I mean, your mother was a single mother basically.
CHER: He took my mother to Pennsylvania and left her.
AMANPOUR: I want to ask you again about Chaz because you see now that there's a massive public debate about how to speak about, think about the
transgender issue and it's quite pointed, there's a lot of cancel culture, there's a lot of -- for a lot of people a lot of difficulty around just
even discussing the issue. What do you think of that? I mean, you obviously -- I mean, you came to it really naturally and you obviously had no
CHER: No, that's not exactly true.
CHER: I did. It was very unlike me to in the beginning have a problem with Chaz being gay and it disappeared like that. And then we talked about
transgender for many years. And then -- and she would say, no, I don't want to do it. And then he went and said, OK, I want to do this. So -- but it
wasn't easy, like I remember calling and the old message, the old Chaz message was on the phone and that was very difficult. But then you have one
child but you don't really lose them.
CHER: They just are in a different shape. You know, and Chaz is so happy, so unbelievably happy and I don't know what the peoples' problems are.
They're fearful and they just don't understand how to react to it. Some of it's religious. I am not sure, you know. I'm just not sure why it's such a
big thing. And I try to -- I talk to people, you know, on Twitter or people come up to me and I just say just relax and you guys will get through it.
You'll get through it together.
AMANPOUR: And what do you think because you've also been in the middle of this? Do you think the debate is open enough? Do you think it's too often
CHER: No, I don't think it's open at all, you know. It's really open with some people, a few people and just closed to the rest of the majority. They
don't want to do it.
AMANPOUR: You've very political, you're very involved. You did a lot of campaigning for --
AMANPOUR: -- Joe Biden, Joe and Kamala.
CHER: I've known Joe since 2006.
CHER: Right. And I adore him, I love him. And I am sorry that they are trying to hog tie him so that he can't do anything because he's such a
great man, great heart. I know everybody knows that, tough, you know, little temper and has so many ideas. He wants to do so many things, you
know, and they're all good. You know, he wants to do things for the people.
AMANPOUR: And what does it say to you that it's taken this long but at least there is a vice president who is a woman --
AMANPOUR: -- now vice president-elect and also a woman of color?
CHER: Very proud, very proud. But, you know, why should we be surprised? It's too long that it's to say, OK, we're surprised. What the hell
happened? You know, should've been a long time ago. Women are great. Women are tough. Don't screw with them.
AMANPOUR: I will back you there. What is next for you? What happens when lockdown ends?
CHER: I don't really know. Oh, I'm going to direct a film.
CHER: And I'm really excited. It's a great film. I kept telling them get someone better, you know, get someone -- I've only directed one thing,
please get someone better. But they keep telling me that I'm the right person and it's a great film. I can't tell you what it is but --
AMANPOUR: Yes. Can you tell us who's in it?
CHER: -- it's a great film. You're going to love it. I promise you you'll love it.
AMANPOUR: Can you tell us who's in it?
CHER: Because mostly it's not -- it's young people with a great storyline, a great storyline and I can tell you this, it has something to do with "The
Rocky Horror Show" but really nothing.
AMANPOUR: OK. Everybody's going to be now desperately digging to figure out what it is. Do you have a favorite film of your own?
CHER: Well, I guess it's "Moonstruck." I really loved it. But I also love "Silkwood." I mean, I had no cares, I had no responsibility, you know, I
did funny things, you know, I did sad things but I had no feeling. You know, I had no -- I was like a child when they just do stuff, you know. I
just had no feeling.
AMANPOUR: No expectations, no --
CHER: No, no.
CHER: And Meryl was so great. The first time I saw her, she came up, put her arms around me and said, I'm so glad you're here.
AMANPOUR: That's really great. Inclusive.
CHER: Yes. And I was -- I kept unpacking my suitcase. My sister kept packing it and I kept unpacking it and I went, how can I go make a movie
with Meryl Streep, are you kidding me? And my sister said you can, you can.
AMANPOUR: And do you have a favorite song of yours?
CHER: Oh, maybe "Song for the Lonely" and "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me."
AMANPOUR: And if I was to ask you to sing a little bit now, would you?
AMANPOUR: No, fine. I always try it but --
AMANPOUR: -- I realize --
CHER: But I'm making a new album that's going to be really cool. I can't tell you about it either but no one's ever done this and I've been thinking
about it for like 10 years.
AMANPOUR: Nobody's ever done the album that you are going to do?
CHER: Yes. I don't know if they just didn't think about it. But I thought about it a long time ago and went I'm going to do this. This is going to be
AMANPOUR: On that note, Cher, you won't tell me about your new film, you won't tell me about your new album. I'm just going to have to say thank
AMANPOUR: Thanks for being with us.
CHER: I'm so happy to be with you.
AMANPOUR: Cher, my favorite was being a bumper car. You hit a wall and you just go in a different direction.
And now, to a story of a hate-filled heart transformed. Derek Black was raised by a family dedicated to white supremacy. His father founded the
notorious white nationalist website. His godfather is the infamous David Duke. Black spread his own racist beliefs on the radio waves as host of a
popular program where he coined the term "White Genocide." But at college, black's friends confronted him about his bigoted feelings and slowly
clipped away until he eventually renounced those views. Here he is now talking to our Michel Martin.
MICHEL MARTIN, CNNI CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Christiane. Derek Black, thank you so much for joining us.
DEREK BLACK, FORMER WHITE NATIONALIST: Thanks for having me, Michel.
MARTIN: I think a lot of people think of white nationalism as something that used to be common, like most people believe, that you know, back in
the day, most white people believe that, you know, white people were better than other people, smarter, better, prettier, et cetera, but that in the
current moment losers believe that.
You know. These are people who are not successful in the rest of their lives and so they kind of latch on to this because they are basically
losers living in their mom's basement and, you know, that's how they feel good about themselves.
Why do you think your parents -- well, first of all, I want to the ask like what is your take on that? Who do you think is attractive and I'm
particularly curious why your parents were attracted to it?
BLACK: Right. First of all, I would point out that people from all walks of life become participants and engaged members of this movement, that when
we look at things like Charlottesville or a few years before that the big conference in D.C. right after the president was elected in 2016, people
who attend those things and donate to those things tend to be middle class. They come from every socioeconomic status. They are lawyers.
They have grad degrees. They have college degrees, and there's also people who come into it who only have a high school degree, but I think we really
miss something if we believe that the white people in America and in other countries who are attracted to this movement come only from poverty or
uneducated. It's not accurate, and I think it's also kind of dangerous to assume that that is who we're talking about.
And they think the second point is there's probably a distinction between the history of racism in America and white supremacy in its political and
social forms which is what white nationalists like my family are trying to tap into, and the movement itself, like I try to use the term white
supremacy to talk about that history and white nationalism to talk about the social movement.
Because it's a movement where people recognize each other. They know their friends. They know -- get baby-sitters who are also white nationalists to
take care of their kid, they marry white nationalist and their goal is to convince more mainstream people who hold less extreme racist beliefs to amp
up those beliefs.
They want to tap into beliefs that are still widespread and latent in the United States, things like black communities are more criminal or that
immigrants from Latin America are lazy, like things that you can find millions of people who believe these abhorrent things, but they are not
willing to go so far as to commit to it as an ideology, and white nationalists want to bring that to the surface, turn it into a political
Get people to vote for candidates who say those things explicitly and I think understanding it that way, seeing this substrate in America and
wanting to tap into it, like that's the best way to understand how these dynamics work.
MARTIN: So, you're saying that these views are not just strictly held by people who are not successful in society and don't fit in, they are held by
a lot of people. So, I guess what I'm saying, what accounts for that in your opinion?
BLACK: It's that we are putting too much emphasis on presenting people with the right facts. I can use myself as an example here. I consider
myself a pretty smart person. I'm in grad school. I try to be really analytical my whole life. And yet, I showed up at college when I what is 19
years old believing that all the supposedly scientific stuff that white nationalists use to support the idea of race being predictive and
segregation being good and all of this stupid stuff, I totally believed.
I thought they were right, and I thought everybody was just denying it, and it took a community of people in college over years to condemn my beliefs,
to show me kindness, to show me real vitriol, to be in the private conversations where we could go over the facts, and it took a long time for
me thinking I was really smart and analytical to accept that it was morally wrong, that it was ethically wrong, that when people came up to me and said
that, white nationalism is making it harder for me and my family, that they were not misunderstanding, it, that they were really being harmed.
We don't believe things because we've read the best books. We believe things because that's what our community believes. We believe things
because of what our parents believe. And being smart doesn't necessarily mean that you always believe the correct thing. You have can come up with a
lot of reasons to believe just about anything and sometimes I kind of wonder if the smartest people are able to convince themselves of the
dumbest things because that have.
MARTIN: I mean, you were once called the -- you know, the former grand was David Duke, people call you the leading light of our movement. You were
kind of like the heir apparently, like the princeling. And it's my understanding that your innovation was to stop using racial slurs, for
example, openly, right, but to kind of pivot toward that white genocide, the idea of white genocide, rather that -- instead of that white people are
perpetuators of racists and what racists are, that white people are the victims of racism. How did that insight come to you?
BLACK: So, the family that I was born into had already spent years trying to mainstream white supremacy, that the year that I was born was also the
year that David Duke won his first election in Louisiana for state legislature. My dad was volunteering on that campaign and had to drive home
because my mother went into labor slight early.
And so, this was something in the air, was that if they mainstreamed white supremacy correctly, they could get people to buy into it and not back away
because they're afraid to being called racist. And I don't want to downplay the role that I played in it from -- all throughout my teenagers I went to
these conferences, I've met the people that my dad had worked with over the decades.
And I was totally committed to this ideology and my contributions were continuing that sort of political mainstreaming, producing radio programs
and YouTube videos and memes and trying to figure out ways that you could access people and make them feel like it's OK to lean into what
nationalism, that they don't have to be afraid of being branded with that label, and I just wanted to say running for local office in Florida.
I don't think people realize the praise that you get for doing that. I think if you are -- if you're outed as a white nationalist that it means
that you only that you face scandal and shunning, and that's real, but you also face people constantly on the street giving you high-fives or saying,
I saw you on news and that you're saying the things that they don't want to say, and that level of public support, even more than a decade ago when I
was running these campaigns was prevalent, was widespread.
And in the same year that Barack Obama won the presidency was the same year that I ran a little local election in Florida and got just an upwelling of
support from even the local Republican Party.
MARTIN: What difference do you think it has made to this movement, to the white nationalist movement, to the white identity movement even if people
don't necessarily think they belong to it to have Donald Trump as president this last four years given how he has conducted himself in office on
matters of race? I mean, let's go -- you know, going back to Charlottesville, telling people -- there's good people on both sides.
And even to the current moment when he was telling the -- sort of the Proud Boys (INAUDIBLE) to stand back and stand by, and seems to have acted even
saluted them when they, you know, showed up in Washington, D.C. this past weekend. See this helicopter sort of circled and that was seen as kind of a
salute to this group that then went later on rampaging kind of through city. What difference do you think that that has made?
BLACK: I think that that kind of support is huge. You can look specifically at Charlottesville and see the reason that that march was so
big was because they saw themselves as fulfilling the promise of Donald Trump.
The reason why they were so public, the reason why I -- we can look at the manifestos of many of the mass shooters both in the United States and
abroad over the last few years who named Donald Trump as part of their motivation, and part of that is PR, part of that is trying to get press but
part of it is real, that if the presidency is held by somebody who holds a lot of most extreme beliefs that they do, it demonstrates to them that
there is widespread mainstream support for those beliefs.
And in the same way, Donald Trump losing with those campaign platforms I expect will be a real blow to organizing far right extremists and anti-
immigration groups. They will still exist. They will still keep organizing, but it is going to be a lot less energy, it is going to be more underground
and it is going to wait until there's another moment or political eruption where they will come back again. This has been the history for decades.
That this movement, as I mentioned in the beginning, goes back decades, at least to the 1960s as a pretty consistent movement with the same heroes and
figures continuously over time and it has had moments where it went underground, it has had moments where it was out in public with thousands
of people marching in the streets and whatever happens next, it's still going to be there. It's still going to be a concern. It's still going to be
recruiting people, talking to people on the internet and in person, and that's what we need to be watching out for.
MARTIN: I do want to talk about something specific that happened this weekend in Washington, D.C. where, you know, I'm not quite sure of the
numbers, you know, different groups always exaggerate their numbers, but at least a very large complement of some of these folks.
They desecrated like two historic black churches in Washington, D.C. I mean, they gave it -- do kind of overwhelming damage but they -- you know,
they pulled down their Black Lives Matter signs which were on their property, burned them in the streets, stomped on them and made a big sort
of show of it and put it up online, OK. So, what's your take on why they would do something like that?
BLACK: I think the goal of terrorizing black people is very much had a part of their action. And they would justify it by saying that they were
the ones being targeted, right. They would justify it by saying that Black Lives Matter is some organization that hates white people, that is trying
to destroy -- they will come up with a whole bunch of rationalizations for their actions terrorizing a black community that has been trying to make
its own space in Washington, D.C. for more than a century, and they will call themselves the victims while they're doing it.
MARTIN: So, let's wheel around to the present moment. As we are speaking now, you know, a new administration will take office in a matter of weeks.
So, what difference does it make that there's a new person coming into office and that the person who has been sort of an ally if not a champion
has actually lost? Does that matter?
BLACK: I do think it matters, and I think it is going to be deflating for these movements to not have a champion in the White House. But with that
also said, I think there's a real danger that sort of rest on the laurels and say that Donald Trump didn't win and so, therefore, the movement for
anti-racism has won, and that's really far from the truth.
We still have to look at elections that are going to be happening next year and year after that. We have to see what Donald Trump and supporters in the
GOP are going to do and we also have to think about millions of people who saw the most explicit white supremacy attached for this administration and
still voted for it.
The idea that this one election, which was way too close for comfort is the end of this advocacy I think is misguided. And at the same time, we should
be somewhat optimistic. I think this year alone we have seen huge shifts in all American opinion but white opinions specifics on black lives matters,
on police violence, on discrimination of people of color, there have been huge shifts in opinions.
And while white people still voted majority for Donald Trump, I think there is a huge flood of people who are not quite sure what they want to do or
feel like they need to do and could easily be persuaded to act in a more equitable way to advocate against white supremacy on the basis of their own
interests because in a very real way living in an inequitable country where some people face harsher sentences, where some people face harsher
policing, where some people can never gain as much wealth because of their background is not a society that is stable, and not a society that even the
people who are coming out on top should want to live in, and I think that that's an argument that we're in the middle of making.
MARTIN: Could I ask you a personal question?
MARTIN: You know, in your case, I mean, your -- the change in your life and heart and mind came when you went to college and friends basically
embraced you and refused to let you go even when your sort of past history had -- was discovered. They argued with you. They argued with you but they
also just loved you, right? They just loved you. Would that work with your parents?
BLACK: I think it could, but it's the situation. I think the setting was so important, the fact that I had left the community I was in. I had gone
to another community that I knew was opposed to my ideology and I knew they would react negatively when they found it out a, but I didn't realize how
much being a part of that community would make me willing to listen to what they had to say when they did.
And without that, I don't know where I would be right now, without having a -- caring about that community and being willing to listen to them, I like
to think some other way I would have talked myself out of it or in the least dropped out and stopped advocating it even if I didn't fully
understand the implications, but I'm just not sure.
And so, I think my parents could easily be persuaded -- well, could possibly be persuaded, but not in the situation that they are in, not where
their closest friends are white nationalists. Not where the cause of their life is white nationalism, not where they fear if they ever change their
minds that they would be ridiculed for it, like all these things make it impossible. And I think also being much older also makes it difficult.
MARTIN: So, what would make a difference? I mean, there's national leadership. The fact that Joe Biden as the president-elect speaks a
different truth and speaks it consistently and then has surrounded himself with people who don't look like him, who he respects and has put in
positions of authority and who he's -- you know, does that matter or is it just more personal?
BLACK: I moved to Chicago after renouncing white nationalism and sort of trying to figure out what my role should be in the world and being silent
for years. And I remember the first few years after I condemned white nationalism living in Chicago, which was one of the most segregated cities
I'd ever been in. I traveled throughout the south my whole life and I had never been to a place that had such hard lines between where the white
people live and where the Hispanic people live and where the black people live.
And in being in conversations, I also heard people utter some of the most explicitly racist things even though they voted Democratic and were liberal
people because they lived in a city that promoted their worst instincts about race.
They lived in a city where they could see exactly where the black neighborhood was and that that neighborhood was poorer then they could make
a whole lot of assumptions about black people and just move on in their life that way, and I took a lot of lessons from that, that a city that
votes Democratic and see themselves as liberal can be incredibly racists, and I think it's going to take a lot more than loosening the explicit laws
that prevented integration in neighborhoods, like we need actual pushes for this. We need to encourage people to make these changes.
Like you can make some statements about how committed you are to anti- racism, but if you then make sure that your kids only go to the majority white schools or only live in neighborhoods that are majority white, you're
making the same decisions that white nationalists want you to make, that white nationalists think anybody who agrees with them would make, and I
think these sort of choices in our daily lives are very difficult, but there's something that people on individual levels need to be thinking
We all have these neighborhood councils and school boards where we can go speak and speak against segregation, speak against racist policies and
those are the places where individuals can make huge differences, and we have to lean into doing that, even though it's kind of scary.
MARTIN: Derek Black, thank you so much for talking with us today.
BLACK: Thanks, Michel.
AMANPOUR: A fascinating conversion.
And finally, tonight, a soul soother. Happy birthday, Beethoven. Although no one knows for absolute certain, today marks what's widely accepted as
the great composer's 250th birthday. And while centuries may have passed, his sublime music still echoes around the world today, and perhaps nowhere
was that felt greater in recent history than in Berlin Christmas Day 1989 when Leonard Bernstein conducted "Ode To Joy."
It was a concert to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall a month earlier. It was an ode to joy and freedom for East Germans who had been trapped in
the Soviet yet zone. And so, we'd like to leave you now with another more recent rendition by Chinese pianist, Lang Lang, who is playing "Fur Elise"
during our interview last year.
Honestly, when you listen to this, it's hard to believe that Beethoven was deaf.
Thank you for watching and good-bye from London.