'We need to take action, and we need to take action now,' the director said

Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels offered an impassioned speech about gun violence Wednesday night at the Democratic National Convention in his hometown of Philadelphia.

“I’m here because the next president of the United States invited me,” said Daniels, who created the TV drama Empire and directed the Oscar-winning Precious. “I was a little scared at first. I wondered if Hillary really knew who I was — not just the work I do in entertainment, but who I really am.”

Daniels spoke about his personal criminal history, his siblings’ criminal history, and that his father, William, was a former Philadelphia cop killed while on duty when Daniels was 15 years old.

“Hilary knows me — she knows me. That’s what gave me the courage to come and speak in front of y’all tonight,” Daniels said. “Hillary has stood with families of people who died due to gun violence. She’s helped turn their heartache into action. I wish she was around for me when my dad died.”

Daniels later asserted that Clinton is the sole candidate willing to challenge gun lobbyists.

“Hillary understands our right to bear guns, but wants to stop guns from getting into the wrong hands,” Daniels added. “You guys: 33,000 Americans die each year from gun violence. That’s 90 people a day. Enough.”

See Daniels’ speech above. The DNC continues through Thursday night.