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Terry Crews appeared on Don Lemon’s show last night to explain why he is not entirely in favour of Black Lives Matter, but Lemon refused to listen. After inviting Crews on his CNN show to discuss his views, Lemon spoke over him.
Crews made a distinction between the movement as a mantra and the movement as an organization: “Black lives do matter. But, when you’re talking about an organization, you’re talking about the leaders, you are talking about the people who are responsible for putting these things together. It’s two different things.”
Lemon then used Martin Luther King Jr. as an example of an “extremist,” calling the Civil Rights Movement “extreme.” Crews rebutted, explaining that Nelson Mandela and even Malcolm X factored in a “non-racial component” so to dissuade resentment.
Referencing the nine children who died by black-on-black gun violence in Chicago since Jun. 20, Crews compared the recent adolescent deaths in Chicago to the Atlanta child murders that involved almost three dozen black children over two years.
“You’re talking about a month and you have nine black kids. And the Black Lives Matter movement has said nothing about this kind of thing,” Crews said.
Lemon interjected, “What does that have to do with equality though, Terry?” Lemon said he lives in Chicago and emphasized the efforts to reform “gun culture” in those communities.
“I don’t understand what that has to do with a movement that’s for equality for black people,” Lemon continued. “It’s not mutually exclusive that if you care about equality for black people that somehow you’re going to stop random violence or unfortunately kids from being shot. It just seems like apples and oranges.”
“Black people need to hold other black people accountable,” Crews responded. “This is the Black America’s version of the Me Too movement. If anything’s going to change, we, ourselves, need to look at our own communities and look at each other.”
Those running the neighbourhoods with violence, claiming “Black Lives Matter,” are holding the people hostage, Crews emphasized. The parents of the nine child victims are now asking the public who will speak up for them, he went on.
“It’s about who is controlling the narrative,” Crews said, stating he’s challenged it, questioned it, and warned others.
That’s when Lemon silenced Crews, preaching from one black man to another on an issue they both have equal footing to discuss.
Pointing out that Crews is a high-profile celebrity, Lemon referenced the liberal backlash Crews received on Twitter for calling out the racial slurs BLM followers hurl at black individuals who disagree with the movement and thereby aren’t valued or protected under the umbrella of social justice.
“The Black Lives Matter movement was started because it was talking about police brutality. If you want an All Black Lives Matter movement that talks about gun violence in communities, including black communities, then start that movement with that name. But that’s not what Black Lives Matter is about. It’s not an all-encompassing,” Lemon ranted.
Crews tried to respond when Lemon asked if he understood his words, but Lemon dismissed Crews’ answer and continued to talk over him.
Lemon went on to explain that BLM is about “police brutality” and “criminal justice.” BLM is not about the crime that happens in communities, whether black-on-black or white-on-white, Lemon said.
“People who live near each other, black people, kill each other,” Lemon continued. “Same as whites. 80-some percent of white people are killed by white people because of proximity. It’s the same thing with black people. It happens in every single neighbourhood.”
Crews pushed back, saying that he understands that BLM is about “police brutality,” which should never be accepted.
“We need to ask them about what else is on that agenda, other than police brutality,” Crews clarified. “And that’s all I’m doing. Questioning. Warning. Watching. And if that bothers you, now, that bothers me.”
Lemon began to cut the conversation, repeating “I’m over, Terry.”
“We’re equal. I should be able to say something truthful,” Crews concluded before Lemon abruptly kicked the segment off-air—a dialogue between two black individuals on a shared issue that he welcomed into the studio, lectured over, and then ended during his guest’s most introspective questioning of the movement and its real motives.
Perhaps Lemon doesn’t quite have a “skin as tough as an armadillo” as he claims.