Don Lemon & Russell Simmons Meet Mano-a-Mano

by Yesha Callahan


You knew it would happen sooner or later. Whether you cared or not is a different story.  Don Lemon and his adversary, Russell Simmons, finally came face-to-face to duke it out. Well not exactly duke it out, but to discuss their differences of opinions when it comes to who can wear the “I Know What’s Best For Black People” crown.

Lemon seemed to be in his feelings when it came to some of the comments Simmons made about him, and wanted to clear the air. “If I have my opinion about something, you have your opinion about something, we don’t have to fight over it,” Lemon said to Simmons. “And we can have a conversation. We can also disagree without being disagreeable, and we can just disagree which is fine. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like you or you don’t like me. We just disagree.”

In his own defense, Simmons once again pointed out it’s less about sagging jeans, and more about economic growth when it comes to black people.  “Sometimes, if a black person that’s revered in the community that says something that’s — conservative, and I think is part of a mindset that is hurtful to the community, people will say the problem with the black community — kids have their ass crack showing. The problem with the black community is they need education opportunities and need job opportunities. These realities are the ones we immediate to bring up and we are talking about uplifting our children.”

Check out the full interview below:

Now that they’ve settled their differences, maybe we can now get to the crux of the matter. Neither of them should ever speak on behalf of all black people.


  • Knotty Natural

    “Neither of them should ever speak on behalf of all black people.”– THE END.

  • MommieDearest

    *debates with self whether or not to watch this video*

  • Get to the Choppa

    Two coons meeting to talk about coonery, move nothing to see here.

  • Kelley Johnson

    Both of them have nothing but contempt for black people. Two fame whores who make money by making racist white folks feel superior. Lemon does it by blaming black boys for their own murders because they don’t dress the way white folks want them to and Simmons does it by peddling the smut called mainstream hip-hop to white America. They both can go do hell for all I care.

  • Ms. Gamechanger

    The last line sums up what a lot of people need to apply. People should speak for themselves. If they speak for the group, don’t lump everyone into your category of what the black community should be.

  • nononsense57

    I watched the video and agree that neither one of them is the voice of an entire community. Both have things I disagree with.

    The sagging pants worn by a lot of our youth, (across the racial spectrum, not just Black youth), is a fashion statement with origins in the prison system. I don’t have children but, if I did, I wouldn’t want them to embrace a style that represents something so negative, especially in light of the prison institutional injustices that Russell Simmons talks about. I wouldn’t want any type of potentially self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Maybe I’m old-school when it comes to hip-hop, but I don’t consider most of the artists to be poets anymore, at least not in the vein of Chuck D, KRS-One, Nas, Tribe, etc.
    Most of hip-hop’s consumers nowadays are white suburban kids. Many of the hip-hop executives are white men, out for financial gain at the expense of artistry and progression. Most lyrics are some iteration of “Gold watch on my wrist, Gucci on my feet, Maybach in my driveway, Yacht in St. Tropez, etc…” Talk about materialism is aspirational and can be poetic, but I think it’s naive to think lyrics like this don’t perpetuate some negative stereotype. And many in the hip-hop game now are extremely misogynist, with a deep hatred and fetishism of Black women (Lil’ Wayne, Rick Ross). Yet Russell, in this CNN video, states that he won’t stand in the way of a poet.

    Both Don Lemon and Russell Simmons are high-profile Black men, with a lot of influence. I really hope that while they eat up screen time with their little beef, they’re also engaging their influential and high-profile buddies, many of whom I’m sure are in the highest economic stratum to take action with improving education, providing jobs/internships, housing, etc and raising the prospects of Black children.

  • The Other Jess

    There is absolutely no reason Russell Simmons should ever be speaking on the behalf of black people. And if Don Lemon did not question him on the foul Harriet Tubman tape, then he is not fit to be a reporter. This is a shameful publicity stunt on the part of both, and Lemon should be ashamed for giving platform to a man who promotes rape, misogyny, anti-black woman racism, and violence.

  • Wanda

    I’m sorry, but I think Russell Simmons is evil.

    Don’t be surprised if we see him dating Miley Cyrus next week.

  • noirluv45

    I’m not a fan of either Don or Russell. Both men are puppets in my opinion. I said it before that I belief if Don has issues with the “Black community” (that term irritates me because we are not monolithic), then he needs to hit the road, if he hasn’t already, and do something about it. Go to those communities you deem insufficient, hold a town hall meeting, and talk DIRECTLY TO THEM. Why should he take his concerns with Blacks to CNN? He knows White folks use everything they can against us. What purpose does it serve? Many Blacks say, “We need to quit hiding ‘our’ problems.” No, it’s not about hiding anything. We’ve been singing the same song for decades. Let’s be about solutions.

    We need to create our own businesses, thus, we create jobs. If and when some of us wake the heck up and collectively get a vision for us like other ethnicities, then we’ll make headway and won’t have to beg them for any dang thing!

    Many of us spend millions of dollars and those dollars go into everyone’s pocket but ours. There is no reason we shouldn’t have a chain of restaurants, hotels, beauty supply shops, etc. With all the wealth many of us have to buy designer clothes or products for our head, why don’t we own anything? Someone, help me understand.

  • noirluv45

    TELL IT, KELLEY! I want to ask Don what the excuse was when MLK was alive. Were Black boys/men sagging then?

  • Leo

    What happened during MLK’s time is basically irrelevant as it pertains to us today, because we’re really not denied any of the opportunities that our parents and grandparents weren’t given.

    Everything that they worked and sacrificed for has been squandered by those who are too lazy or afraid to do the work, so your question to Don Lemon makes no sense. MLK would probably cry tears of sadness by what he would see what many have become today.

    How an individual presents himself to the world, says a lot about the individual and any man who walks into my office with his pants “sagging” will not be considered for a job; because if a man doesn’t care how he looks, he doesn’t care about anything else.

  • Smh

    It reeks of a well coordinated publicity on both their parts, which is pretty pathetic.

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