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Op-Ed: "I'm A Black Father, I Want To Ask White Teen Males" A Question; NATO Official: War Momentum Has Shifted In Ukraine's Favor; Amber Heard's Sister Testifies She Saw Abuse By Johnny Depp. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 19, 2022 - 07:30   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: This morning, the 18-year-old white suspect in the Buffalo supermarket massacre is due to appear in court after pleading not guilty to killing 10 people in a predominantly Black neighborhood, which was targeted for that reason.

In response to the tragedy, our next guest wrote a CNN op-ed titled "I'm a middle-aged Black father. I want to ask white teen males this question." Joining us now to discuss his piece is Keith Magee, chair and professor of practice and social justice at Newcastle University. It's good to have you with us this morning.

One of the things --


HILL: One of the many things that stood out to me in this piece, which I really encourage people to read at, is that you write, "We must deny the existence of race, for it makes victims of us both." This is not about a post-race America. This is not about ignoring the many different colors of skin that we all have. This goes far beyond that and gets to the heart of, really, how to talk about race and how we came to use that term.


Why is it so important to you that we do away with that?

MAGEE: So, it's so divisive. What most people do not realize is the social construct of race that we live with today is less than 400 years old. So it is a new invention that has virtually permeated, certainly, the United States around a false construct that has been so divisive. And so, I believe that it is critical and essential to begin to deconstruct it and to replace it with ethnicity and heritage, and culture in the things that we can share and bond around.

HILL: And those are the things that shape so much of who we are as people, right -- that ethnicity -- that culture that you grow up with. You know, as we said, you have this one question for white male teens.

Talk to us about what that question is.

MAGEE: That question is what are you going to do with all this luck you have? What can you do to help to build the bridges that are needed and necessary in this polarizing time that we're living in that's been quite destructive over the last five years with this resurgence of racism and hate, and bigotry in a very different way than we've seen?

I was born in 1968. I was in my mother's womb when Dr. King was assassinated. But there had been, apparently -- or we believe that there would be so much progress and that progress is being lost.

But I believe that there's an incredible opportunity for us to shift the narrative away from the hate, away from the pain, away from the racism, and towards building on a collective humanity. And I believe that young, white, male teens, in particular, have an opportunity to help to heal this country rather than to allow it to remain divided.

You know, there are amazing examples historically of white males who worked hand-in-hand towards racial equality. Why don't we revisit some of those things that have happened to reshape and truly build an America and even a world that's based upon content of character and not color of skin?

HILL: You talk about that opportunity. Do you think that there is enough of an appetite to take advantage of that very important opportunity?

MAGEE: I think there is. I think that amazing things are happening in the United States and around the world. I -- you know, as a professor, I have amazing students of all ethnicities and heritages that are talking about ways forward, but we don't seem to focus on that.

The gentleman from Buffalo -- the young man has gotten more attention than 10 of my students that I could share with you from around the globe that are doing remarkable work. So we need to really begin to focus on those things so that we can counterbalance what's happening.

HILL: You've had a fairly mixed reaction, as I understand, to your piece. What has really stood out to you in those responses?

MAGEE: Well, you know -- so, there have been enormous amounts of people around the world and certainly in America who have been very supportive and want to know where do I sign up to help. What can I do next? And they've identified themselves by -- mostly by race, some by class.

But there have been some very jarring ones on both sides, both Black and white Americans, thinking that I'm ridiculous and I'm absurd, and it's been -- it's quite challenging. Those are the ones that I focus on because I'm trying to glean what it is that they're thinking and feeling because I believe on both sides that that's the toxicity that we need to address.

And so, it's -- it can be painful. It could create anger. But for me, it's a place of finding empathy.

One gentleman just thought that I was a reverse racist and that I was using a platform to attack young, white boys. And, you know, I'm going to pause at some point to write back to him that that's absolutely not the case.

This is, again, about healing our country and about doing something that is different than what we've done -- debunking this great replacement theory. Those types of things we've got to get beyond.

For me --

HILL: Yes.

MAGEE: -- fundamental to all of who I am is this idea of being a Christian. And to me, that's living in a perpetual state of grace and trying to find ways forward.

HILL: Yes, and perhaps even just some of those responses a reminder, too, that it's important to step back and maybe it's not always about you. Maybe it's about listening and it's about those around you.

Keith Magee, it's a great piece. Thank you for joining us this morning.

MAGEE: Thanks, Erica.


HILL: Russian forces suffering losses, retreating in their attempt to advance in one region. How are things going on the ground there? We're going to speak with a U.S. citizen now fighting in Ukraine.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, the Ringling Bros. are back and leaving behind a big part of the show.

And what Amber Heard's sister says Johnny Depp did. You will hear from her ahead.


HILL: A NATO military official says momentum has shifted significantly in favor of Ukraine. In fact, Ukrainian forces now on the offensive against Russian troops in several locations.

Suzanne Malveaux is live in Lviv this morning with the very latest. So, officials, Suzanne, are also suggesting that both sides are really in for a long fight here. We can't ignore that part.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Erica, and that is a very tough message for a lot of Ukrainians to hear. But those who I met crossing the border from Poland's side, coming home -- the main thing they want to do is come home, stay home, and fight. And so, there is some good news in this in that yes, the momentum is

on their side. But they are willing and realize this is going to be a long slog.

And if you take a look at the Ukrainian military's daily update, that report confirms, essentially, what NATO is saying here. That, essentially, despite Russia's escalation -- dramatic escalation in the east, and also the increase in the artillery, in the aircraft, as well as the cross-border skirmishes and the shelling in the south -- that in the last 24 hours, Russia has not gained any territory. As a matter of fact, they report that throughout the country, some of those Russian forces have pulled back in some areas.

And the Ukrainian military showing us this video here. This is of them blowing up a bridge. This is to prevent the Russians from making any progress in the Donbas area so that they are not moving further -- taking further. They are holding that line -- the defensive line. And Ukrainians also reporting as well that they're getting closer to those critical supply lines that Russia really depends on.

Now, having said that, Erica, this is still very much -- it's an active war. There are losses here. We have reports of at least four Ukrainian civilians who were killed overnight. The Ukrainians know what they are in for. It is going to be a long slog but they say that they are willing because they simply want to stay home and be here.

HILL: Suzanne Malveaux with the very latest from Lviv. Thank you.

BERMAN: So in a weekslong counterattack, Ukrainian soldiers are advancing to the north and northeast of Kharkiv. That's right there. This is according to the city's regional military administration. Ukrainian officials said earlier this week that its troops fighting around Kharkiv have pushed all the way north to the Russian border.

Joining us now is Miro Popovich. He's a U.S. citizen and U.S. Army veteran who is fighting for Ukraine, now near Kharkiv. Miro, great to see you.

We can see behind you some of the destruction --


BERMAN: -- that has taken place in that region over the last eight weeks.

Can you give us the latest --


BERMAN: -- on what's been happening around you?

POPOVICH: Yes. Well, first of all, I stopped by here because it seems like it's a city college here and it's completely destroyed -- ruined. Like it can't really rebuild this building. You have to demolish it again. And that's what happens throughout the city here. What's happening right now is the Russians are pulling back and they

seem to not really like that fact that they are pulling back. So there are a lot of airstrikes, a lot of artillery and rocket launches towards us.

And we were here this morning, just like 15 minutes down that road. We were doing some humanitarian delivery and suddenly, the airstrike started.

So they -- I think they were targeting the main road to cut us off so we cannot go further north, but they missed and they hit a few residential buildings. But luckily, we were nearby. We evacuated the victims and no one was seriously injured. But a few buildings were completely destroyed.

And it's a miracle. One lady was sitting in her living room having -- like, watching T.V. I don't know what. But her building -- her house is completely demolished. Just one wall standing -- her sofa -- and she's just sitting there in shock. But a few scratches and luckily, she was not severely injured.

BERMAN: Well, that is good news.

Miro, people can see on a map that I have here some of the areas of gains that Ukrainian forces have made, here in yellow, in recent days around Kharkiv. You say the Russians are using airstrikes -- artillery right now. But do you have a sense that Russian troops themselves -- the ground troops now are pulling back from where you are?

POPOVICH: Absolutely, yes. Day by day, we're gaining more territory around Kharkiv. It's good news. And yesterday, I was like nine minutes away from the Russian border actually -- from one side -- and I just opened my Google map to see how close I am to Russia and I was surprised that wow, we are actually very, very close.

So, every day we are gaining some territory, then we'll probably lose some, but then we'll gain more. And that goes back and forth. But in general, we are pushing them back -- yes.

BERMAN: Miro Popovich, as always, thank you for being with us. Please stay safe.

POPOVICH: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. Homeland Security warning of threats against Supreme Court justices and what the U.S. Marshal Service is doing in response.

Plus --



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am pleased to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts honoris causa. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Taylor Swift feeling 22, as in the class of '22, and sharing her advice for NYU's graduating class on embracing the cringe.


HILL: Popstar, Grammy winner -- now you can call her doctor. Taylor Swift delivering a message to the class of '22 -- one the grads may know all too well. See what I did there?

It's time for the Morning Pop. CNN's Chloe Melas joining us now with more on that. Good morning.



Don't you love starting the day with some Taylor Swift news? Well, like you said, Taylor Swift delivering the commencement speech at NYU's graduation at Yankee Stadium Wednesday. The popstar who famously sang about feeling 22 advised the class of 2022 -- see what I did there -- that life can be heavy and they should embrace the cringe.

She also received an honorary doctorate.


TAYLOR SWIFT, SINGER-SONGWRITER: I'd like to thank NYU for making me technically -- on paper, at least -- a doctor. Not the type of doctor you would want around in case of an emergency.


MELAS: Dr. Swift.

All right, now this. The Greatest Show on Earth is making a comeback. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is reviving its circus, but without the iconic elephants that were a big part of the Big Top. Instead, they'll have human acts in the center ring. Plans are for the new traveling circus to hit the road next year.

And more drama in the court at the defamation trial pitting Johnny Depp against Amber Heard, with witnesses testifying to Depp's alleged abuse of his ex-wife.



MELAS (voice-over): A day of riveting testimony as Heard's friends and family told her side of the story in the $50 million defamation case filed against her by ex-husband Johnny Depp.

Heard's sister, Whitney Heard Henriquez, told the jurors she saw Depp hit her sister.

WHITNEY HEARD HENRIQUEZ, SISTER OF AMBER HEARD: He comes up behind me, strikes me in the back kind of just somewhere over here. He strikes me in the back. I hear Amber shout "Don't hit my (bleep) sister." She smacks him and lands one. But by that time, Johnny had already grabbed Amber by the hair with one hand and was whacking her repeatedly in the face with the other.

MELAS (voice-over): Henriquez testified that she lived with Heard and Depp off and on during the course of their relationship and sometimes mediated between the pair.

In her cross-examination, one of Depp's attorneys pushed back.

REBECCA MCDOWELL LECAROZ, LAWYER FOR JOHNNY DEPP: You wanted Ms. Heard to stay with Mr. Depp even after you allegedly saw him hit her, right?

HENRIQUEZ: That's really oversimplifying something that's far from simple. Again, Amber was very much in love and so was Johnny. She's telling me that she wants something. Whether or not I agree to it or not, whether or not I was OK with what was happening, it wasn't my place.

MELAS (voice-over): Jurors heard testimony, some previously recorded, on two incidents between the former couple. Witnesses recounted what they saw and how they felt.

RAQUEL PENNINGTON, AMBER HEARD'S FRIEND: In the beginning, I wasn't worried. It was the end when the physical abuse was more evident I was worried. I was worried for her physical safety.

MELAS (voice-over): Raquel Pennington's deposition was recorded in January, at times emotional. She told the jury of seeing injuries on Heard in December 2015.

PENNINGTON: Her face was red, swollen. The hair had been ripped out of her head. I don't think I even slept that night watching her just to make sure she didn't --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that because you were worried she had a concussion?


MELAS (voice-over): Testifying about an incident around the same time, a well-known makeup artist said that she saw injuries on Heard's face and had to cover them before Heard was to go on national T.V.

MELANIE INGLESSIS, MAKEUP ARTIST: We covered, you know, the discoloration, the bruises with a little slightly heavier concealer. I remember clearly talking that we had no other option that night but then to use a red blood -- like a really red lipstick to, you know, make sure we could cover up the injuries on the lip.

MELAS (voice-over): Other friends of Heard recounted another alleged altercation in May of 2016. After that incident, Heard got a restraining order against Depp and filed for divorce.

JOSH DREW, FORMER FRIEND OF COUPLE: I do distinctly remember there being a red mark and small bruise on her cheekbone and red marks just above her eyebrow and to the right side -- or to the side of her eyebrow.

ELIZABETH MARZ, AMBER HEARD'S FORMER FRIEND: It looked like she'd been, like, hit in some way. Like it was definitely -- it was not from crying. She had markings on her face.

MELAS (voice-over): However, in a deposition videotaped in 2019, Marz said she did not witness any altercation.

In another recorded deposition, Heard's acting coach, Kristy Sexton, told the jurors that Heard would often cry and had visible bruises.

KRISTY SEXTON, AMBER HEARD'S ACTING COACH: I would see, like, bruises that looked like arms being grabbed or wrists. And I saw that all towards the end.