Out CNN anchor Don Lemon wondered aloud on-air this weekend why there have been so few celebrities speaking out during the protests and riots happening across the nation in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer.
On Saturday, lamenting the lack of leadership from the White House (“When did we lose control of this country?”), Lemon asked about the wealthy people who have made it but not showing up now.
“What about Hollywood?” asked Lemon. “I see them on Twitter saying, ‘Oh, I’m loving what Don’s doing’ but they got to do more than that. Especially Black celebrities and Black leaders — and white celebrities and rich Hollywood.”
“Why aren’t they helping these young people?,” he continued. “These young people are out there standing on the platform, the edge of an abyss, by themselves.”
Lemon then addressed his celebrity friends directly: “Stop texting me and asking me, ‘Oh my god, Don, what is happening to our country?’ Get on television and do something and help these young people instead of sitting in your mansions and doing nothing and have some moral courage and stop worrying about your reputation and your brand.”
Ratcheting up the pressure, Lemon started naming names like Oprah, Jay-Z, Drake, Ellen DeGeneres, Anthony Anderson, Diddy, Jane Fonda, Tyler Perry, Tracee Ellis Ross and Kim Kardashian West. Admitting that donating money is appreciated, Lemon pushed for more.
“Visibility is extremely important because young people need to see people who have made it so that they can understand that they have made it, too, and they can know publicly, that you have their backs.”
He added, “Beyoncé released a message. You can’t?”
While Lemon’s passion may be admirable, for the record there were several celebrities stepping up and out during the weekend’s protests.
The Washington Post reports celebs like Anna Kendrick, J. Cole, Nick Cannon, Tinashe, Kendrick Sampson, Emily Ratajkowski, Sophia Bush, Machine Gun Kelly and Paris Jackson took to the streets joining protesters. And Jamie Foxx joined the protests in Minneapolis Friday night after speaking at a news conference earlier in the day.
Bisexual pop star Halsey shared on social media that police “opened fire of rubber bullets and tear gas multiple times on us” and that she was “hit twice. Once by pellets and once by shrapnel. We were gassed repeatedly for hours.” She added, “I will be returning.”
Rappers T.I. and Killer Mike addressed protesters during the Atlanta mayor’s news conference Friday, urging protesters not to destroy property.