CNN’s Don Lemon rubbed a few people the wrong way when he defended Bill O’Reilly’s claim that hip-hop culture has a negative influence on the Black community, and went on to offer five tips on how to decrease violence within the inner city — including telling African-American teenagers to stop wearing baggy jeans, using the N-word, dropping out of school, littering in their neighbors and having children out of wedlock.

Russell Simmons responded to “5 Things Blacks Need To Do” list with in an open letter posted on his website Global Grind. He described Lemon’s remarks as “conservative talking points left in the garbage from Mitt Romney’s campaign” and suggested that the news anchor reads his letter in its entirety before going back on air this weekend.

“The gospel you were preaching sounded like O’Reilly and Hannity were pulling your strings,” the hip-hop entrepreneur wrote. “I respect your courage on many other issues, but I can’t accept that you would single out black teenagers as the cause of their own demise because they don’t speak the King’s English or wear belts around their waistbands.”

He pointed out that President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were  also once “knee-deep in a rebellious culture” but “grew up to be quite successful.”

“Hip-hop language and clothing styles are expressions of frustration with the status quo. Young people sagging their pants today is no different than young people rockin’ afros, dashikis or platform shoes in the ’60s and ’70s,” he explained. “They were knee-deep in a rebellious culture, and did anything but integrate into a world that they saw is filled with problems that needed fixing, filled with challenges, or in their mind, with problems that they could fix. And now they are fixing them.”

Read Simmons’ full letter below and tell us if you agree.

Dear Don,

I got a chance to see what you said over the weekend about black America. At first I thought it was Fox News, but then I remembered you’re a CNN dude. I have nothing against Fox News, as Roger Ailes is my man, but the gospel you were preaching sounded like O’Reilly and Hannity were pulling your strings. Thank goodness my political director, Michael Skolnik, was on the show to stand up for African-Americans, because conservatives love when we blame ourselves for the conditions that have destroyed the fabric of the black community. I respect your courage on many other issues, but I can’t accept that you would single out black teenagers as the cause of their own demise because they don’t speak the King’s English or wear belts around their waistbands.

Hip-hop language and clothing styles are expressions of frustration with the status quo. Young people sagging their pants today is no different than young people rockin’ afros, dashikis or platform shoes in the ’60s and ’70s. And many of those rebellious youth grew up to be quite successful… bell bottom-wearing, pot-smoking, Barry Obama became the President of these United States of America and a long-hair, anti-war activist named John Kerry became Secretary of State defending our country in more creative ways than just using violence. They were knee-deep in a rebellious culture, and did anything but integrate into a world that they saw is filled with problems that needed fixing, filled with challenges, or in their mind, with problems that they could fix. And now they are fixing them.

When this country closes 50 schools in black communities and continues to build more prisons, I know that young people see through the institutionalized bullshit that is laid out in front of them every single day of their lives. The lucky ones, like you and me, owe a real explanation of the problems in our community to the ones who are still living in struggle, not some old, conservative talking points left in the garbage from Mitt Romney’s campaign. I understand personal responsibility far too well, but you can’t ask them to pull up their pants and then stand idle as they fear getting shot in the heart by wannabe cops while walking home to watch basketball games.

If you want to tell the rest of America this weekend when you go back on CNN how we fix black America, tell them to re-start the “War on Poverty.” Tell them to end the failed “War on Drugs” that has cost this nation over one trillion dollars and unjustly incarcerated a generation of black men. Tell them to support the President’s plan for universal Pre-K, so no child enters elementary school having to play catch up with the other children who are fortunate enough to go to pre-school. Tell them make college affordable and obtainable for young students who come from low-income families. Tell them that the right to a healthy life should be universal and not just for the fortunate few. And lastly, tell them that young black men and women don’t just need “role models” or “mentors,” they need “sponsors” who are willing to offer them a job.

I want the black kids to grow up and be like you. I want them to know that their imagination is god inside of them and I want all kids, but especially black kids, to have the freedom to dream as well to create their own language. After all, without their jazz, blues, rock n’ roll and now their hip-hop, America wouldn’t even have a language of its own, much less a culture.

17 thoughts on “Checkmate! Russell Simmons Pens Open Letter To CNN’S Don Lemon

  1. Help!? Really!!? Don Lemmon is no different than a Clarence Thomas, an Imperial Crab. Thomas who benefited from Affirmative Action but now claims it’s unlawful. These type of people are what helped Slavery continue for so long. They would do everything within their power to sellout the blacks who tried to help themselves, but couldn’t. WHITE KIDS to a large extent are readily into Meth, crime, school shootings, homicides and suicides. More whites are on welfare than blacks, considerably more (check Dept of Health & Human Services Site). Though it’s easier to point your crooked finger at others expense when you know yourself that yours are crooked.

  2. valvacious on said:

    Anyone, black, white, yellow, etc…. who does not speak the King’s English or wear belts around their waistbands, is going to have a hard time finding a job in corporate America. You have to have the skills and the image to have a corporate job. Russell should know that.

  3. Jzzyj1 on said:

    I had two issues with Lemon’s comment/list, 1: He’s channeling Bill OReily, really? 2: He spoke his truth to the wrong audience, how many of his target group really watches CNN, he would have been better off buying an ad spot on BET or MTV Jams. Bring your message directly to whom it would matter most!

  4. FIFTY AND PHUNE on said:

    Wow he went end on to “HOW TO RENT A NEGRO FOR A DOLLAR” Don Lemon. As if white kids are outstanding citizens. Really it will take more than a hour to discuss what white kids do and everyone knows it.

  5. There are differing opinions as to Lemon’s intention. Some people think he was dissin’ Black people, and others like myself think that he was simply trying to help. Lemon didn’t say anything that lots of other Black people haven’t said, i.e., pull up your pants, and stop showing your underwear, get an education, stop having kids out of wedlock, and kids you can’t afford that eventually end up on welfare, and food stamps….which by the way are paid for with our tax dollars.

    • First, I think we know that there are more white folks in this nation on welfare, using our tax dollars. Second, regarding “truth” about black folks. When you have a forum to “just” black folks… then speak about “just” black folks. But, when you have a forum to “all” races … then speak about all races. Historically (in America) white folks have committed every kind of ill that you can imagine… yet some how societies ire was always focused on “us.” Today is no different…. This is the problem with Bill Cosby. Tap Dancin’ before white folks… ragin’ on black folks on a national forum… to white folks who are just as guilty for today’s ills (Actually when you factor in “historically”… they are much more guilty).

  6. Jacquelynn on said:

    Education is key. Not a whole lot goes on without it. No matter how rebellious we are in our youth (and I was too!), if we miss out on at least a basic education and can’t speak, read or write well, the options going forward after the smoke clears and we finally grow up are not good. So much of life revolves around speaking, reading and writing. Good communication skills are everything.

  7. Billy on said:

    What and who are black teenagers rebelling against? Not having jobs, because they don’t want to learn, or is it because it’s not been black if you SNITCH? You got drug dealers living in the projects while making 4k a day dealing drugs. Why is a DRUG DEALER living in the hood? GO buy a house and live somewhere else. Helping the black hoods is doing the right thing. Laws should be made to get drug dealers out of the hood. You got people on section8 aid living in the projects…if they are caught selling drugs, or a drug dealer boyfriend lives in PUBLIC HOUSING…THEY BOTH SHOULD BE EVICTED. GHETTO RICH.lol Get them out make them buy a house and help America.

    • Billy: I 2nd that………they should be evicted, and not allowed back in the neighborhood(s). Actually I think the war on drugs is a joke. We can send someone to the moon, and back; but we can’t figure out how to stop the rabid sell of drugs. Bottom line is that there is too much money to be made in drug sells….so I suspect drug sells will never stop

  8. jhuff on said:

    Hum Simmons made millions promoting the music that Lemons is speaking of . you want some one to GIVE Young men and women a job ? At the same time telling them it’s OK to speak bad language
    have no respect and dress counter to a business environment.
    I didn’t see Obama or Kerry sporting long hair peace signs afros, dashikis when they were campaigning
    I ask Mr. Simmons does he think Obama or Kerry would have gotten as far as they have come
    still clinging to that image? But go ahead tell the youth it’s OK to dress and live “in that rebellious
    lifestyle” after all you’ve made your millions

    • jhuff: Thanks for your COMMON SENSE comments. I agree with what you said. It’s like comparing apples, and oranges with President Obama, and John Kerry to the boys in the hood. Neither of them grew up in the hood. Simmons did make some good points; but his comparison of Obama, and Kerry to some of the youth of today is beyond me.

  9. tRuTh HuRtZ on said:

    !!!!!Damn Russ……I really wouldn’t have expected that to come from you but I must admit you have given the “White Cheese” something to chew on.

    SHIT smells when it hasn’t been sugar coated, and it looks like you may have caused a stink.

    !!!!!Good Jobbers my Brotha……Good Look’n Out

  10. Rachel2 BlackSons on said:

    Than You Mr. Russell Simmons for shutting down that train of nonsensical BS that that delusional and ungrateful man was spouting. He forgot that he was not always seen as a successful man that happens to be black. The more often than not, he was seen as “the black kid”, “the Ni**ger”, “the trouble in the neighborhood”, and “the token”. He forgets that until we can no longer count the number of successful black we need to support and reach back until the path to success is as clearly traveled as the path to prison.

    • Rachel: How do we know that Lemon has forgot where he came from, or forgot that he wasn’t always seen as a potential successful man?? We shouldn’t assume to think that we know what Lemon’s feelings are. I would venture to say that (most) successful people haven’t, and never will forget where they came from, nor what it took for them to succeed.

    • Billy on said:

      we know we got drug dealers living in the hood making 4k a day…kick them out and make them buy a house.. but it is okay to deal weed, coke, heroin, to our black kids….white man ain’t holding us back…WE ARE…kids scared to go to schools because black gangs say they own the public blocks in the hood….they don’t own or pay any property taxes and claiming…dis my hood..WTF… you boot the drug dealers and baby momma that let them stay there to pay a light bill. SO WHO ARE WE GETTING OVER ON?? IT AIN’T THE WHITE MAN HE LIVES IN A HOUSE WITH A GATE AROUND IT. KICK THEM OUT OF THE HOOD!!

Add Your Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

×
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,817 other followers