Don Lemon responds to Russell Simmons’s open letter

Don Lemon used CNN’s No Talking Points segment over the weekend to address the open letter penned by Russell Simmons in response to Lemon’s remarks on young black men.

Lemon received backlash following comments he made, providing five things black people should do to help fix crime and violence in the black community.

The CNN anchor advised African-Americans to stop: sagging their pants, using the n-word, littering, dropping out of school, and having children out of wedlock.

In his open letter addressed to Lemon, Simmons said, “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.”

Don Lemon responded to the open letter on air, saying:

Russell, I’m glad you wrote the letter. Honestly I really am. 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 Web site, 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. That accomplishes nothing especially when lives are at stake.

Watch Lemon’s full response in the video above.

Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals