don-lemon*Don Lemon is so known as a news journalist that it may be hard to believe that he had something else, or rather someone else, in mind if things had turned out differently.

According to Lemon, a career of being an advocate of social change would’ve been the path he would’ve chose if journalism was not in the picture. If you can picture that, then you may be able to picture him following in the footsteps of Malcolm X as he cited the late civil rights leader’s career as a blueprint for his alternative occupation.

“I’d probably be a writer like James Baldwin. Or I would probably be an activist. But not like Dr. King, even though I admire him,” Lemon said in an interview for November 22 issue of The New York Times Magazine. “I’d probably be more of a Malcolm X. I believe the best way to improve yourself is to improve yourself.”

Needless to say, journalism won out as Lemon carved his own lane out as a CNN personality with a knack for bringing his own unique style when interviewing newsmakers and commenting on various topics.

From questioning whether the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was swallowed up by a “black hole” to insisting that more information was needed before passing judgment on the actions of the South Carolina police officer who assaulted a student last month, it’s clear that Lemon has struck a nerve (for better or worse) with viewers.

Aware of the hate that’s come with the way does things on-air, Lemon shed light on his reporting and interviewing style, saying its more about simply performing his duties as a journalist. As a result,, he admits that he isn’t offended by public opinion.

“Instead of being offended or defensive or whatever, I try to be curious about why that person feels that way, why someone has that particular opinion,” the 49-year-old anchor told the Times. “I understand people being offended and hurt, but as a journalist, I gotta move beyond that. I can’t do that.”

So what’s the secret to Lemon’s success?

In his eyes, it’s result of getting people to think and have discussions out of his approach to covering the hot news topics.

“I am not setting out to be a provocateur. I am setting out to inform people and to get people to think,” Lemon said. “I do think my career has been helped, because part of my job is to get people to have discussions.”

For more of Lemon’s New York Times Magazine interview, click here.