Don Lemon’s open letter to Russell Simmons polarizes; Touré, Simmons respond [video]

CNN’s Don Lemon was labeled a “turncoat mofo” and “dangerous” when, in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict, he emerged with his list of five rules to live by, which he handily summed up in one tweet.

Those comments led Def Jam records co-founder Russell Simmons to issue an open letter to Lemon on his Global Grind website and declare Lemon a “slave” who should stick to reading the news. Lemon responded today with his own open letter to Simmons, and response was polarized.

Supporters applauded Lemon’s stand for personal responsibility despite an environment of racism.

Critics, though, thought Lemon was only embarrassing himself further.

Also unimpressed were MSNBC host Touré and Simmons himself.

Scolder? That’s an improvement over “slave.”

That’s a good start.

Simmons reiterated his message that it’s the war on drugs that is doing the most damage to the black community, though we’re still not sure why promoting high quality education and urging kids to pull up their pants are somehow mutually exclusive.

The backlash over Lemon’s “five rules” has carried on for weeks now and looks to keep going.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with additional tweets.


‘Turncoat mofo’: CNN’s Don Lemon slammed after agreeing with Bill O’Reilly’s comments on black community

‘Just read the news’: Russell Simmons calls Don Lemon ‘a dangerous talking head’

  • FreedomFighter

    I expect Toure to get sacked soon.

    • Jimni27

      Are you kidding me? MSNBC hiring Baldwin just proves they are going Full Cuckoopants.

      • TocksNedlog

        That may not come to pass. We shall see.

    • grais

      Why? He’s one of the biggest little stooges msnbc has. “…intergenerational class mobility…” lol
      Does he ever actually Wear the clown nose and floppy shoes?

      • Spiny Norman

        Whenever you see any MSNBC host, remember: they are all wearing the floppy shoes under the studio “news desk”.

      • trixiewoobeans

        You mean he’s not?

    • TJ

      Soon he will get his own show at 5 and not have to share it.

      • MarcusFenix

        A show that all of 4 people are watching…

  • NRPax

    The “personal responsibility” scolders like Don Lemon ignore that
    intergenerational class mobility is nearly impossible in modern America.

    Aw, poor Toure. It must suck to be such a helpless victim and unable to move up. He must be wiping his tears up in his office at MSNBC.

    • TugboatPhil

      If not for victimhood, he’d be out of a job with no prospects for another.

      • Elaine

        Personal responsibility & thinking that individuals can accomplish anything with motivation & hard work, is now considered only a White Conservative thought? I don’t think so. Lemmon is spot on. The other Uncle Tom name callers love to milk the victim card, so whites will continue to cower and fear being labeled “racist.” Gives the losers the only power they can get.

        • logicrules

          The sad thing is that the more insistent racial identification and agreement become, the more the very generalizations that are so abhorred become natural and logical.

      • Guy_in_Kingston

        The same could be said for Obama.

    • Frank Drebin

      Shorter Too-Ray: “You can’t win, you’ll never improve your lot, there’s no use in trying. Just roll over and take it like the weak b**** you are.”

      The prospects of positive change scare the hell out of these folks who earn their living off of racial division.

      • NRPax

        So given how successful Toure, Simmons, etc., are does that mean it’s
        because we white folks allowed it? And if so, why are they so

        • Frank Drebin

          It must be tough being a 1%er, while simultaneously selling and sharing ‘victim’ status.

          Excellent read on the subject here –

          Shelby Steele, PhD, author, Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, specializing in the study of race relations, multiculturalism and affirmative action. His twin brother, Claude, is dean of the School of Education at Stanford.

    • Kimihiro Watanuki

      Plush office at MSNBC…. don’t forget plush.

      • Rulz

        Aren’t limo libs the best?

        • Kimihiro Watanuki

          I don’t know if you remember bathtub boy’s limo demands? He order that the driver wouldn’t so much as say a word to him. Craziness! (I refer to Olbermann if you don’t know that whole cool bathtub story)

        • Bathing Suit Area

          Yeah, don’t these rich people know that they don’t need to care about poor people, they’re supposed to regard then as the enemy.

    • Rulz

      It might be impossible in certain unions were Blacks are told they will never be able to move up and called the n-word or in cities that have suffered under local democrat control and LBJ’s failed vision.

      • NRPax

        Impossible, no. Difficult, maybe.


    Russel Simmons is just ignoring the real problems in the bIack community because he got his & now probably owns a gun to keep his brothas from taking his too !!!! Maybe Russell & Toure could explain why whites are 18 times more the crime victims at the hands of bIacks, especially when young bIack males only make up 3% of the total U.S. population, thats sounds like bIack RACISM to me !!!!! Or how about how over 99% of all gun crime deaths last year were done with ILLEGAL guns in CRIMINAL THUGS hands & that over 80% of these CRIMNAL THUGS are minorities, things thats make you go HHHHHHMMMMMMMMM !!!!!!

    • trixiewoobeans

      He “got his” off of them! He’s a stone-cold capitalist making money off of them. He doesn’t want anybody upsetting his applecart. He’s a phony.

  • MarcusFenix

    A couple of things things…

    I find it funny that the title of the article here was “Don Lemon’s open letter to Russell Simmons polarizes…”, but yet….those people were already polarized in their thoughts and beliefs. Someone telling them to act like decent human beings, to be personally responsible and not to glorify the prison/drug culture shouldn’t be polarizing, it should be sung from the rooftops. The only ones who find it polarizing and negative are the people who don’t care to address the problem itself.

    Let’s be honest. Contractors don’t build ghettos. They build houses. So how do they reach the not-so-coveted ghetto status? Lack of higher education? You mean how truancy with regard to urban black youth is so much of a problem? These folks, through not only the dependance and acceptance of government welfare but also through the counter-culture of hating “whitey and the man”, have shunned higher education in those respects. Not all black youths, certainly, but there is a very visible trend in urban areas, especially poor ones. They remove *themselves* from opportunity, because getting a higher education makes them like Don Lemon….and as one can see from the comments above, that makes him less than human in their eyes. They see him as an over-educated man who bows down to whites and is a traitor. And yet, Simmons wants to know why black people eschew higher learning? Go figure.

    Secondly, not that Toure knows his a$$ from a hole in the ground, but…the fact that Lemon HAS to make it that simplistic so that tools like him understand it should speak volumes about the lack of intelligence on the part of Toure and others. Credit for Simmons making the apology and trying to push his view without the rhetoric, but at the end of the day, he’s still trying patch problems without addressing the social ills themselves.

    • NRPax

      I only disagree with you on one point. Lemon didn’t make his message simplistic. His message was actually simple and easy to understand and it didn’t need an Ivy League education to write.

      But as for the rest? Well said and to the point.

      • MarcusFenix

        Well, for people like you and I, it’s incredibly simple. He’s tried to dumb it down some for people like Toure, but idiots of that caliber still don’t get it.

        But I see your point, and thank you for the compliment.

  • TJ

    Ricker’s Style. Just how many thing would change if that was true and people knew of it. Wear you pants low like you had to give in your belt because you are in jail. Orange jumpsuits and striped pants must be to hard to get. Or it too will become a fashion trend to show the life of a gangster in orange and to have no belt.

  • Maxx

    All I know is this. If I had ever stepped foot out of my home with pants around my johnson, my mom would have beat my ass…simple as that.

    The whole scene would have looked like something out of a Batman episode. “But Mom,all the kids are …..” “KA-POW!” “BAM!” “ZAP!”

    • $7610427

      I saw a kid at an amusement park yesterday that literally had to hold up his pants with one hand! WTH??? Who lets their kid outta the house like that?

      • mickeyco

        He must have had a real fun day, using one hand all day to hold up his jeans.

  • waterytart

    It boggles the mind that privileged little jerks like Tourette’s, and multimillionaires like Simmons have the nerve to lecture anyone about the lack of upward mobility and
    blaming blacks for their lack of responsibility. Toure needs to change his name to “Cliche”, and Simmons needs to take a realistic look at the thug/gangsta culture he’s helped promote.

    • Spiny Norman

      It’s “weaponized hypocrisy”.

      • waterytart

        Perfect terminology, thank you!

  • Sunshineandsurf

    Hey Toure, watched an episode of House Hunters last night where two young black fellows, twins actually, bought a nice house in Dallas. One was a software engineer, the other a business consultant. Guess that blows your theory about intergenerational mobility out the window. Said to the wife, wouldn’t it be nice if Al Sharpton had these guys on his show to interview instead if the racial crap he spews daily. What is their secret? I bet they followed Don Lemon’s principles. See it really is that simple.

    • AaronHarrisinAlaska

      Al would say something along the lines of: No no no. See. They got where they are by acting like good little uncletoms. They’re Oreos see.

      • alanstorm

        Calling someone an “Oreo” is just a shorter way of saying “How can he think that? He’s got the wrong skin color!”

        It’s incredibly racist, yet the only ones using it CLAIM to oppose racism. Yeah, right. To be fair, it’s hard to see the light with your head lodged in your own posterior.

    • Spiny Norman

      Oreos. Yep. Those successful young men were “acting white” to get ahead, understand? They’re not “real bruthas” and have “turned their backs on the black community”.


  • AaronHarrisinAlaska

    The years of inequality continue because they refuse to step up and be equal. Fail a test? The questions were geared to white people. Pulled over and asked if you’d been drinking? Racially profiled. Turned down for a job? Company run by racists.

    So long as you continue to see your self as a victim you’ll never be equal.

    • TugboatPhil

      And it also helps a lot if you base your life around being a hyphenated American.

  • Sunshineandsurf

    I suppose you are right, well I had good intentions and tried anyway.

    • Rulz

      Well, you’ve done your duty and then some! What a hero!

      Now lets work to use the government to take from someone else so we don’t have to make any sacrifices!

  • Stu Gotts

    I believe a “Toure” is a French word for “race-baiting jack-ass.”

    • Rulz

      Psh, if he’s so worried about Lemon selling out, why does he have a nice white European name?

  • Rick Bowser

    “Intergenerational class mobility”? I wonder how many months of scouring a Thesaurus, it took Toure’s team of jailhouse lawyers to come up with that one!

    • Spiny Norman

      It’s probably is forefront in his narrow little mind. It’s quasi-Marxist psychobabble gobbledygook, but it has real meaning in “Angry Studies” academic circles.

    • trixiewoobeans

      I know! He tries so hard to sound like he’s got it goin’ on. I knew lots of those badly-educated posers in S.F. Big words and creative phrasing still don’t hide their ignorance.

  • Rick Bowser

    ” wealth inequality” That phrase alone tells you volumes about Toure’s view of wealth and economics, period….that it’s not something that’s earned or created, but parceled or handed out by the State and Federal Government!

  • TocksNedlog

    Touré: “Don insists on making the discussion mind numbingly simplistic.”
    — And STILL you don’t get it!

  • J_W_C_NM
  • URGR82

    “Jail culture” is often promoted and glorified in music. The very music that a white person gets called racist for pointing out the “jail culture” in it. Yes sending people to jail promotes jail culture but so can music. I don’t want to live the jail culture so I don’t listen to the music and I don’t do crimes.

  • Pushbroom

    Do we have any reason to believe that the AA community will ever change? Their leaders only perpetuate the continuance of their own failures….as if slavery to government and special treatment is a badge of honor.

  • TocksNedlog

    Russell Simmons: “but, remember we need to deal with root of suffering of our community before we tell yng ppl to not say the n-word or pull up their pants.”
    — And the reason why these things cannot be done at the same time is WHAT?

  • 3niaj3

    Being a white elderly woman you could probably say I have no right to comment on the state of problems in the young black community but most gynecologists are men, most psychiatrists have never been committed and rocket scientists don’t often leave the planet.

    There is such opportunity right now for youths in the black community. If they followed Lemon’s five rules they are almost guaranteed a successful life! If they emulated respectable white people instead of disparaging and ridiculing these standards the world would be safer and happier. Sharpton, Jackson and their ilk want to perpetuate discord because that is how they make their fortunes. They don’t care about black youths! They are sacrificing young black children to glorify themselves. Why black people allow themselves to be duped should be explored.

    I dislike Obama intensely but not because he is black. It’s because of what he is doing to America and especially blacks! I would vote for a conservative black candidate tomorrow if I agree with his philosophy. White people cannot say one negative word about Obama, Trayvon or any other well known black person without being accused of being racist.

  • Unicon™- PEACOCK DOWN !!!!!!

    Touré talks pretty tough for a 5′-2″ tall ballerina….✔

  • Marty Luther

    It is racist to critique anyone who speaks English like a hood on crack with a speech impediment, has the temperament of an enraged Brahma bull, the social conscience of a vulture, a chip on their shoulder the size of Gibraltar, a neck tattoo that says “IMMA GO CRAZY” and who wears pants 7 sizes too large. They are underprivileged and also can’t find work in their field.

  • LinTaylor

    How about that @Y2Dre? Not only does he use blatantly racist AND homophobic language to slur Lemon simply for having a difference of opinion, but he follows it up by referencing Dragon Ball as part of his insult. Times like this I wish I drank.

  • ObamaFail

    Toure and Russell Simmons are just upset that Don Lemon is expecting black people to have a little bit of personal responsibility. How can they blame the white man if they take the blame for their own actions?

  • George Washington Mclintock

    “Has Don never heard of internalized bias, wealth inequality, white
    privilege, structural racism–some of the real drivers of the problem.” We are going on 40-50 years fighting all those “problems.” Nobody would say it’s working. I mean, plenty of black people are fully behind the idea that there exists a crisis within their communities. Heck, even Toure wouldn’t say it’s working, even it is just to make sure his mortgage payment can be made. Everyone else disagreeing with Lemon…well, I’ve seen enough kids getting huffy when they hear hard truths they don’t like to know what is motivating the grief Lemon is getting.

  • IceColdTroll

    “but, but, but I thought all would be right with the world if black folks pulled up their pants and don’t litter”

    Well it sure as hell wouldn’t hurt!

  • JonInVa

    I’m wondering what, in a black person’s mind, is NOT being an Uncle Tom? Does that mean being a dumbazz loser, who wears their pants around their ankles? Someone who cannot speak proper english? Someone who drops out of school? Who has many children by different mothers, and marrying none? Who doesn’t work a regular full-time job? I mean, really, what’s the alternative to being “normal”? Are all “normal” black people Uncle Tom’s in the minds of these race-baiting clowns? How can any black hope to be successful (outside of sports or hip hop) and not be called a race traitor? These blacks who marginalize and insult other blacks who try to do the right thing and act as society demands one must act to be successful and respected, are the real traitors to their race. Do they honestly think that society, commerce, military, or what have you, could function if everybody acted like these clowns that Lemon is trying to set on the right path? It would be like the jungles of Africa – a disaster.

  • keyboard jockey

    I can watch CNN, and I watch Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper, and Don Lemon, but I can’t watch MSNBC. MSNBC is like a network that was created for dry drunks and alcoholics. They all belong in a 12 step program. Don Lemon offered some simple steps to help people battle the dysfunction in their lives. How many of those families have drug and alcohol abuse in their families? MSNBC’s message you don’t want to get healthy you want to keep blaming other people for your crappy life. Yeah that’s the ticket, MSNBC the enabler’s network – where progressive is just another way to say co-dependency.

  • Rulz

    “dress nicely. use appropriate language. keep ur surroundings clean. go to school. be responsible, involved parents. That’s offensive? SMH” –Don Lemons

    How is that blaming the victim and if the left is so worried about it, why don’t they criticize more Islamic nations that actually do that?

  • sandyaz

    Russell Simmons – “Equal High Quality Education.” Really, when for the last 40 years or more those who have striven for an education have been mocked and derided by taunts of “acting white” and being “an Uncle Tom”. School systems have adopted a bell curve for grades for black minority children and tried to accept Ebonics. Who is “handicapping” who here? Smacks of people shooting themselves in the foot and expecting everyone else to fix the problem. Own and deal with it. I’m tired of the stupidity.

  • neoface

    My god, most black people are still in denial, and definitely want to play the victim. Remember you were never a slave, you ancestors carried the water for you so you can have an opportunity to pursuit happiness. Most of you guys just wasted and squander this opportunity and rather be a victim. It has worked for you so far, Lemon obviously has better parent than Simmons and Toure. I saw an interview with Simmons, he sounds like really uninformed idiot, Toure is just an idiot, he probably got to where he is using the race card, no brain cells!!!

    • BiffWellington

      I’m pretty sure Toure’s success involved knee pads and/or lubricant….

      • neoface

        I heard Obama did some of that as well but probably with the oil sheikhs in Pakistan. Look how well it worked out for Oblamer.

  • Sakemoto

    I can’t read all of that crap. Is that dude Russell whacked on Meth?

  • Jay Stevens

    Apparently “dress nicely. use appropriate language. keep ur surroundings
    clean. go to school. be responsible, involved parents” is RAACIST. Who

  • Joe Dokes

    What, exactly, is Simmons’ formula for dealing with the “root of suffering” in the black community, apart from continued wealth redistribution, excuse making and eternal race grievance? Anyone know how many poor folks he puts up gratis in his house?

  • Gallatin

    Touré ✔
    Don Lemon is now on CNN doubling down on victim blaming.

    And Toure is infinity-ing down on playing the victim.

    Touré ✔
    Has Don never heard of internalized bias,wealth inequality, white privilege, structural racism–some of the real drivers of the problems?

  • stdog

    Amazing to watch successful black people argue that black people can’t be successful.

    Lemon has a good point though. None of these three wear saggy pants. Culture is important. And if Simmons wants to defend saggin culture he is ultimately doing more than good. Same for toure.

  • alanstorm

    “Has Don never heard of internalized bias, wealth inequality, white
    privilege, structural racism–some of the real drivers of the problems?”

    Well, Tourette, he probably has – and recognized them as used food.

    Liberals are like that. You try to show them the actual problem, and they will tie themselves in knots to avoid looking at it.

  • BiffWellington

    you gotta love Simmons blaming prisons for turning blacks into criminals…what an idiot.

    Sadly, there is nothing to love about Toure.

  • Abiss

    I love the constant liberal refrain “it’s more complicated than that.” This is always followed by exactly ‘nothing’ to back up the claim. Doesn’t matter what the subject is. The fact that people like Toure WON’T take responsibility for themselves is exactly why the problems of their community are so intractable. Whatever. Good luck with that. I’m sure if you keep calling Don Lemon names long enough, it’ll eventually end violence, and put food on the tables of the poor and powerless. You should run with that…

  • GaryTheBrave

    I’m still trying to figure out what Tour� means by “structural racism.” What structure supports racism? Employment? Housing? All addressed by law. Education? Nope. Entrepreneurship. Minority-owned business gets preference points for government contracts. Consumerism? Brands are making products for minorities and marketing towards them more.

    Maybe it’s because his audience is more minority than white. This is proof, in his mind, that whites are racist. It is likely that whites tune in to Lemon more than Tour�, just like they likely will go to a Bill Cosby show rather than a Simmons Def Comedy Jam.

  • FlatFoot

    The Word-of-the-Day is — V IC T I C R A T: [1.] One who believes that practically every negative situation in their life is brought on because of their Race. [1a.] One who routinely, by default, deploys and utilizes “The Race Card” as grounds for argument/defense/offense in any and every situation that it may be applied.

    • TDS

      You forgot one small thing: They refuse see that their own successes in life, as well as those of all the other people of their particular race that have excelled in life, are just as possible for the rest of the “victims” of their race as it was for them.

      • Bathing Suit Area

        Perhaps they’re looking at the population in the aggregate? Rather than assuming that if one black guy succeeds, there must be no institutional disadvantages.

        • Guest

          Millionaires account for approximately 0.07% of the population, which would be approximately 210 thousand people.

          African Americans account for approximately 13% of the population, which would be around 39 million people.

          There were an estimated 109 thousand African American millionaire households back in 2001.

          That means that African Americans made up approximately 52% of the millionaires in the US, and they accounted for around 2.8% of the African American population (which is 40 times the national average).

          So please, tell me again how they are being institutionally disadvantaged by their race?

          • Rick Bowser

            Oh i’m sure “suit” will think of something…like until that figure is 85% or more, they’re being willfully subjected to criminal, barbaric oppression! I’m betting that’s Toure’s thinking as well!

  • Misanthrope

    Shorter Toure: “The black community can’t help itself until whitey gives us more free stuff.”

  • mickeyco

    “..intergenerational class mobility…” Like much of what Toure says, sounds really good & means absolutely nothing.

    • Bathing Suit Area

      It used to be called the American dream.

      • Rick Bowser

        Yeah, the American Dream must really be dead if a talentless,lobotomized hack like Toure can end up as a Commentator at MSLSD, instead of being their communal shoe shine boy….Oh,wait!

    • Rick Bowser

      Naww. It just means absolutely nothing.

  • $7610427

    My husband is a business exec…he has made it very clear to our kids and their friends that…right, wrong, or indifferent…most companies do not give decent jobs to those who wear saggin pants, have visible tats, or those damn ear gauges and facial piercings. Fight it all you want but first impressions are everything! A person will never drag themselves out of poverty if they can’t clean up their act and language.

    • Bathing Suit Area

      Back in the day you couldn’t be taken seriously without your powdered wig and leggings. This is just as retarded.

      • $7610427

        It is what it is… You should keep up the good fight, though…good luck with that.

  • jb

    ” internalized bias, wealth inequality, white privilege, structural racism”
    Toure==the next generation stool-stained Sharpton.

  • DV S1EOG

    I wonder if any of these morons have actually read Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

  • Bailey

    From what I’ve seen, from a black teen point of view, we cause a lot of our own problems.

  • Stan

    @DonLemonCNN seems to be the only one @CNN to actually understand reality and issues statements accordingly. Please keep it up Mr. Lemon, it’s refreshing.

  • AZGunslinger

    Blacks like Russell Simmons are drunk on the plantation Kool-aid. They just can’t ween themselves from it because they do not want to sober up and see real world.

    • TDS

      Actually, the problem with a person like R.S. is that if so many people didn’t live under that constant “I’m a victim of the system” mentality, his income would dry up…
      He NEEDS those people to keep seeing themselves as victims, and if they actually stood up and confronted the real issues facing them and fixed the problems themselves, their “victim-hood” would disappear, right along with his cash cow.

      • AZGunslinger

        I stand corrected. I must agree wholeheartedly.

  • erinwm

    Both have valid points.

  • Guy_in_Kingston

    Thes people are just ignoring the REAL problems in the black community. You can’t fix the problem until you admitt there is one.

    • Bathing Suit Area

      Yes, the real problem, baggy pants.

      • Guy_in_Kingston

        Yes…trying to glorify prison and the thug life is part of the problem.
        gangs, drug abuse, fatherless children, lack of education are also factors…..the black community has a lot of problems but until they admit those problems they can never get better……and it is no one else’s fault.

  • chunky

    Whatever inter something mobility did no stop Toure and Simmons from becoming rich.

  • nc

    Bravo to Don Lemon for continuing to speak the truth, even as the heat gets predictably turned up. What a class act!

    This is the way our President should have been speaking, from his bully pulpit, for the last five years. Who knows how much good would have come of it? Instead, he welcomed the perpetrators of this garbage influence into the White House regularly, because it was “cool.”

    SMH at the missed opportunities…

  • Matt Norcross

    Don Lemon is earning more and more of my respect every day.