‘Who booked me for this joint?’ and other questions I, too, have about Cam’ron’s appearance on CNN

OPINION: The often charming, but ridiculous Cam’ron seemed overly disrespectful and antagonistic toward “NewsNight” host Abby Phillip even though he didn’t have to be there.

Screenshot of CNN's Abby Phillip and Cam'ron (YouTube)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

When rapper Cam’ron asked CNN’s “NewsNight” host and everybody’s favorite news anchor, Abby Phillip, “Yo, who booked me for this joint?” he was really saying the quiet part out loud. Over the course of three and a half minutes, the typically charming, obnoxious rapper known for his obnoxious charm seemed annoyed and irritated as if he would rather be anywhere else but there.

Which begs two really important questions: 

1. Who did book Cam’ron for this (and what did they actually expect)? 

I guess the question of who booked him is irrelevant — the why is the important part here. Nothing about Cam’ron seems like he’s the kind of person who is to be taken seriously in that type of space. He has his own show with Mase — “It Is What It Is” — where shenanigans are the only order of every day.  I like Cam’ron, but if I were in the room when potential guest names were being thrown out, I’d immediately be like, “‘Guys, why would we do such a thing? Have none of you seen any of Cam’ron’s previous media clips on news shows? It might turn out wonderful. But there’s a very high probability that it’s not about to go how we think it’s about to go.” 

In fact, I don’t think a single person familiar with Cam’ron (and I’m going to toss Abby Phillip in there, too; I assume she’s familiar enough with him to know how Cam’ron has been getting down since we all became familiar with him) was surprised or shocked. Cam’ron used that opportunity to plug his sexual stamina supplement, Pink Horse Power, and mention that he was about to get some cheeks after drinking “the Horse Power joint.” He also plugged his podcast, “It Is What It Is.” 

2. Why did Cam’ron even go? 

I wasn’t shocked by Cam’ron’s attitude. I was a little surprised considering he was talking with Abby Phillip, who by all accounts is a media darling and seemingly beloved by most, and because he wasn’t opposed to speaking about Diddy — or anybody — at all. Cam’ron has been much, much nicer in other spaces. Maybe he doesn’t know Abby; no shade, but I doubt Cam’ron watches much election coverage. He seemed so annoyed to be there, which is surprising because he didn’t have to go. Why agree to do an interview and then be mad the whole time? And let’s be very clear; he knew exactly why he was being asked up there, and has confirmed as much on his own show with Mase. Anybody who has ever been on any news program will let you know why they want you there before you come on. I’m speaking from experience. It isn’t like her questions were crazy. 


As it turns out, Cam’ron was in his feelings about being asked to speak about Diddy — a topic EVERYBODY is speaking about — instead of the positive things that he and Mase have done individually and via their show. Again, I like Cam’ron but that is the most asinine thing I’ve heard in a long time. Their show, “It Is What It Is,” is literally with the shenanigans 100% of the time, and they have spoken about Puffy before. Cam’ron being upset that CNN called them to speak about current events is stupid. Especially when he could have EASILY spun that interview into a convo about whatever positive things they’re doing. 

Because, again, Cam’ron’s charm, even when he’s being inappropriate, is his calling card. He might say some pure nonsense, but he does it with a sinister smile, and you kind of just laugh it off and keep it moving. He could have said that while he doesn’t know Puff like that, he does know how much stuff they do that is good for the community, unlike Puff. The snarling energy Cam’ron gave to Abby felt unnecessary, and really, she didn’t deserve that. 

At some point, after he’d plugged Pink Horse Power, “It Is What It Is?” and said “cheeks” on air, he decided he was done and effectively ended the conversion while Abby gave him and the camera a look that all Black people recognized. There’s a phrase that I can’t use here for network censor purposes, but I feel like all Black people know what she was thinking. 

Ironically, Abby provided the most entertaining part of the interview when realizing it had reached its end and in an exasperated fashion, called that man by his government name, “Cameron … thanks for joining.” There had to be some shade in there. I appreciate that and I’m sure Cam’ron will, too. 

Panama Jackson theGrio.com

Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things, drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest), but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said: “Unknown” (Blackest).

Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download it here.