A couple of weeks ago CNN weekend anchor Don Lemon got the attention of a lot of folks when he went all in with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly assessment on the black community. The attention he got was decidedly mixed from black folks, but basically it wasn’t received too well. Notably, hip hop mogul Russell Simmons responded with several scathing tweets, and an open letter to Lemon.
Well, one thing about the CNN host that we’ll give him credit for, he’s not scared to mix it up. Saturday night he responded to Simmons and others by reframing his remarks within the context of black leaders like Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, President and Mrs. Obama, and even Bill Cosby, rather than as agreement with Bill O’Reilly.
After showing several lengthy clips of the afore mentioned, speaking about black empowerment and personal responsibility, Lemon had this to say about Simmons’ open letter.
“I’m glad you wrote the letter,” Lemon said, the first of several such assurances, but said he almost didn’t respond, “not because I think you completely missed the point, not because, like many of the other critics, I thought you were just using the occasion as a promotion for one of your businesses, your website, but I wasn’t going to address it because, quite honestly, it was hard to take you, and it, seriously after you called me derogatory names like slave on Twitter.”
Lemon then pointed out that he had invited Simmons to appear on the program several times, including Saturday night, but had been declined.
“Don’t throw stones, and then hide your hand,” Lemon jabbed.
Lemon then delivered a point-by-point rebuttal to Simmons’ letter, which ended with another clip of President Obama, saying “Nobody cares how tough your upbringing was. Nobody cares if you suffered some discrimination. and, moreover, you have to remember that whatever you’ve gone through, it pales in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured, and they overcame them, and if they overcame them, you can overcome them, too.”
“Thank you, Mr. President,” Lemon concluded. “That’s tonight’s ‘No Talking Points.’”