Don Lemon responded to his critics Saturday on CNN by using messages delivered by black leaders — including the Obamas — to make his point that those who wish to lift themselves from their present circumstances, must do so on their own initiative.
When Lemon told his viewers in a July 27 broadcast that the African-American community has to begin taking responsibility for its own failures, he set forth a firestorm of protest.
Most noteworthy was that coming from hip-hop music entrepreneur Russell Simmons, who wrote in an open letter to Lemon that, “the gospel you were preaching sounded like O’Reilly and Hannity were pulling your strings,” and then referred to Lemon as a “slave” on Twitter.
Lemon observed that everyone from the president on down says “we need to talk more honestly and openly about race in this country,” but noted that “when we do, some people go berserk, saying, ‘No! That’s not the conversation we want to have.’”
He called that being “neither open nor honest,” and noted the first issue that has to be addressed is personal responsibility.
He began by playing clips of Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcom X, President and Mrs. Obama and Bill Cosby, each delivering the same message — that the black community has to take responsibility for its own future.
He then turned to the Simmons’ letter.
“I’m glad you wrote the letter,” Lemon said, and added 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.”
He said that Simmons had declined several invitations to appear on his show and admonished, “Don’t throw stones, and then hide your hand.”
Lemon then took Simmons’ letter apart, point-by-point, and closed with a clip of President Obama delivering this message:
“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.”
In the few hours since his broadcast, Lemon received an avalanche of responses from the black community on Twitter — most of them highly complimentary. This one from “Black Conservative” was especially noteworthy:
Don Lemon just slapped the #@%* out of Russell Simmons on @CNN. Good for him!
— Ξ BLACK REPUBLICAN Ξ (@blackrepublican) August 10, 2013
Here are a few others:
If I may add my own commentary to the mix, the world would do well with a few more Lemons and a lot fewer Sharptons.
Read more tweets compiled by Twitchy
Watch the entire commentary, courtesy of CNN.
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