CNN anchor, Don Lemon and rapper Talib Kweli made major headlines after they had a confrontation pertaining to the Mike Brown shooting, live on-air in Ferguson, Missouri. While, many outlets are reporting the argument as a disaster or saying that Kweli, ‘Went Off,’ on Don Lemon, I see it completely different. I watched two very passionate men, have a disagreement, check their ego and make peaceful amends all in a matter of 7 minutes. While, some people chose to look at this as a negative interview, I think it’s a great example of how two black men can have a heated debate and come to an understanding without the use of violence or profanity. I have an enormous amount of respect for Don Lemon, who kept his composure and controlled the interview and for Talib Kweli, who clearly was very passionate about what was happening in Ferguson.
The situation in Ferguson, Missouri, in the wake of the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson has been widely reported on by national media in the days and weeks since Brown’s death.
‘Media has done a horrible job in getting the story out there the right way,’ said Kweli, indicating that media organizations, even with the best intentions, were placing the blame for the violence on crowds of protestors rather than the militarized police response.
When Lemon interrupted Kweli to dispute his criticism of the media coverage, Kweli grew upset.
‘On CNN.com right now you have a story up that says: ‘Ferguson calm until bottles fly.’ Well, that’s inaccurate, because I was there that night and that’s not what happened. And the first thing in the story it says is: Police chase down men.’
Lemon attempted to respond, saying: ‘Well – hang on – but that was – that’s not what happened where you were -‘
But Kweli was not finished: ‘Let me finish – let me finish my point – let me finish my point – let me finish my point.’
The two spoke over the top of each other until Kweli began to walk off the interview, saying, ‘We don’t have to have an interview if I can’t talk. If I can’t talk, we don’t have to have an interview.’
Lemon managed to coax the rapper back, but Kweli then took issue with Lemon himself.
‘I invited you to come on CNN,’ Lemon told Kweli.
‘Let me tell you what happened: You didn’t even invite me. Nicole invited me, first of all. You came up, you didn’t even say nothing to me. You were on your phone the whole time. You asked how to pronounce my name. You have no respect for who I am,’ the Get By rapper said.
Lemon and Kweli became distracted from the issues in Ferguson as the CNN anchor defended himself for the perceived social slight.
In all, the men managed to speak about matters in Ferguson for a small portion of the seven-minute interview as Lemon used up valuable interview time explaining the rudiments of conversation and telling Kweli that he fully intended to let him talk. But, the resolution of the argument in itself was a victory.
‘Are we good?’ Lemon asked Kweli as he proffered a hand at the end of the spot.
‘We good,’ said Kweli. ‘Emotions are running high, but we good.’
Talib Kweli is just one of several influential black artists who have felt the importance of being on the scene in Ferguson. While, the disgusting situation in Ferguson has ignited outrage all over the world, it’s great to see two black men defy the stereotypes and prove that we may not always agree, but we all don’t go around committing violence on each other and acting ignorant.
Watch the interview below: