CNN’s Don Lemon became a target of the vile left when he agreed with Bill O’Reilly’s assessment of the perpetual problems hurting the black community; in fact, Lemon said O’Reilly didn’t go far enough. Lemon gave what he felt was correct advice to his fellow-blacks to “pull up their pants, stop using the N-word, finish high school and don’t have children” out-of-wedlock.
On Saturday night, Lemon fired back at his critics, including hip hop mogul and frequent attendee at Occupy Wall Street protests Russell Simmons, who apparently was so offended by the CNN anchor’s assessment that he wrote what The Blaze called “a scathing open letter to him about race in America.” In a spinoff to O’Reilly’s opening comments, Lemon’s “No Talking Points” segment centered around promoting self-empowerment among blacks.
“We must stop the blame for things that we can change ourselves,” Lemon said. Lemon also discussed the importance of “personal responsibility” within the black community, using the words of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Bill Cosby and even President Barack Obama.
“I’m glad you wrote the letter,” Lemon quipped to Simmons, who not surprisingly declined to appear. Lemon opened:
Initially, though, I wasn’t even going to respond to your letter, 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.
Simmons is quite the political crusader on Twitter actually, campaigning for Newark Mayor and New Jersey Senate candidate Cory Booker. Booker enjoys the support of Russell Simmons although the black community leaders in Newark were all to happy to appear in this conservative ad highlighting the failure of a mayor that Cory Booker truly was in office. Nevertheless, Mr. Simmons wouldn’t let a silly little thing like the truth get in the way of his social media endorsement:
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) August 12, 2013
Lemon said Simmons had been invited to make his case on CNN several times, but he declined. “That’s fine,” Lemon added. “But don’t throw stones, and hide your hand.”
Lemon quickly rejected Simmons’s claim that “conservatives love” when blacks blame themselves for the problems that have “destroyed the black community.”
“You should take that up with a conservative, or a liberal, or someone who is concerned about political affiliation in this particular situation,” he replied. “It shouldn’t matter if someone is black, white, brown, purple, green, Democrat or Republican. If the truth they speak is saving lives, then no matter what their intentions or background, we should listen. Attack the problem, not the messenger.”
In his open letter, Simmons also argued that “young people sagging their pants today is no different than young people rockin’ Afros, dashikis or platform shoes in the 60′s and 70′s.” From the perspective of a white man who grew up in the gut of New York and New Jersey, perhaps I am not the authority, but it is different, because the culture and style evolved from criminal activity. It wasn’t a style, such as an afro, it was a cover for drugs and firearms. I never heard of an afro being parted to one side or the other to tip the dealer off across the street or in the jail cell to the type of drugs or weapons you have. I suppose that people did hide drugs in their hair at some point, but the afro wasn’t specifically thought up for said purpose. Sagging pants were, indeed.
Lemon educated Simmons on the roots of the Afros and dashikis, pointing out that they are symbols of African pride. On the other hand, he explained, sagging pants originated out of the Rikers Island prison in New York.
“It was originally called, ‘wearing your pants Rikers style’,” he added. “Are you equating dressing like a criminal to African pride? Are you saying it’s OK to perpetuate the negative stereotype of young black men as convicts, criminals, prisoners? How does that enhance their lives or society as a whole?”
Before he ended his response to the ridiculous comments by Simmons, Lemon played another clip of Obama talking about the importance of personal responsibility and overcoming discrimination and/or a tough upbringing.
“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,” the president says in the clip.
“Thank you, Mr. President,” Lemon ended with.
Russell Simmons can do what liberals do best, pretend they weren’t out-classed and move on, but the truth is that out-classed was exactly what Simmons was in this exchange with Don Lemon. Lemon was courageous to speak the truth in the face of overwhelming criticism, while Simmons is defined by what popular culture and norms perceive to be cool. In the end, there was only one thing that Simmons could do, apologize. We could give him credit for that act itself, but I would find someone to be incredibly naive if they were to accept this as an honest apology. It isn’t, and he will prove as much as soon as he gets a chance to check his Twitter account.
— Don Lemon (@DonLemonCNN) August 10, 2013