Pharrell Williams to bullied girl at Charleston AME Church: 'You're beautiful and you're black'

US singer, rapper and producer Pharrell Williams visited Charleston Emanuel AME church this weekend, where nine people were shot and killed on 17 June.

Williams hosted a forum at the church on Monday for the community to discuss the racial divide in South Carolina.

Sarah, a 12-year-old girl at the forum, asked Williams for advice on how to deal with racist bullying at school. She said she attended a predominantly white school and pupils would make racist jokes about fried chicken and watermelon because she was black.

Williams first joked about the stereotyping of her peers, telling the girl "I love chicken!"

However, when the girl began to cry, he spoke more seriously.

"Know that there is love; there is love in this room," said Williams.

"You're beautiful and you're black, but before you're black, you're beautiful because you have a life and you have a soul. You're beautiful."

During his visit, Williams also sang in the church choir at their Sunday service and spoke to the congregation.

Williams revealed last year that he does believe in God, insisting that it is "incredibly arrogant" to think otherwise.

"I believe in God but I also believe in the universe...and I believe in that innate ability to make decisions and to exercise our feelings as human beings," the Happy singer told Stylist magazine.

"How do you see all the stars and think there's nothing else out there?" he continued.

Nine people died at the Charleston AME church in the June shooting, for which white supremacist Dylann Roof is to stand trial. The shooting led to a backlash against the use of the Confederate flag, which has been removed from many public buildings.

Williams' visit to the church was part of A&E's program Shining a Light: A Concert for Progress on Race in America. The programme will include conversations with family members of victims, community leaders, law enforcement officials and clergy from Charleston, Baltimore, Chicago, and Ferguson, all of which have seen gun violence.