While some celebrities, like Tessa Thompson and John Cusack, have taken to the streets to protest this week, CNN anchor Don Lemon on Saturday night called out other celebrities for not doing enough in the wake of George Floyd's death. Later on the show, he encouraged specific A-listers like Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, and Tyler Perry to take more action.
During his broadcast, which featured footage from protests across the country, Lemon criticized the millionaires and "movie stars" who refused to come on his show. He then accused them of being too concerned about "their brand" to publicly discuss the recent upheaval, sparked by the death of Floyd, an African American man in Minneapolis who died as a police officer jammed his knee into his neck on May 25.
“A lot of people I ask to come on this show, to talk about this, [such as] wealthy celebrities, wealthy political people, [say], ‘I can’t do it. I’m mad. I don’t want people to see me mad. It might hurt my business. I’m so upset that I had to go to my country house,'” Lemon said. “Where are you? Why aren’t you fighting for these young people? If you don’t do it now, when are you going to do it? … if you are a millionaire or a gazillionare or a movie star or a politician and you don't step up now, when the hell are you going to do it?"
"I hate that. You are your brand. Step up, people. Step up, Black Hollywood," Lemon continued, adding that "Beyoncé released a message, you can’t?"
While he noted some celebrities expressed their outrage on Twitter, the journalist said it was not enough and that Hollywood has been "strangely quiet." He also advocated for celebrities to do more for the many young people who have taken to the streets, who are "standing on a platform at the edge of the abyss by themselves."
He then named A-listers that he wanted to see do more — not just give money, but also publicly support young people so they know that those who have made it "have their backs."
“By me calling out your name, it doesn’t mean I’m calling you out. It means I love you, Ellen [DeGeneres]. It means I love you, Oprah,” he said, adding “I know they give millions of dollars to charity every year.”
“I want to see you Tracee Ellis Ross. I want to see you Tyler Perry. I want to see you Drake," Lemon continued. "I want to see you my friend, Anthony Anderson. I love you … I want to see Diddy out there. I want to see you Jane Fonda, who I love and respect."
When talking about Beyoncé earlier in his broadcast, Lemon was referring to the singer's video where she called for action to get "justice for George Floyd."
"We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We're broken and we're disgusted. We cannot normalize this pain," she said. "No more senseless killings of human beings. No more seeing people of color as less than human... Yes, someone's been charged, but justice is far from being achieved." She pointed viewers to a Change.org petition calling for all the officers involved in Floyd's death to be fired and charged.
A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on May 29, 2020 at 8:13pm PDT
Ariana Grande, Halsey, Timothee Chalamet, and other entertainment figures also attended protests this week. Cusack said cops came at him "with batons" while he protested in Chicago, and Insecure star Kendrick Sampson got hit with rubber bullets unleashed by police at the Los Angeles protest this Saturday.
Derek Chauvin, the officer shown in the video with his knee on Floyd's neck, was arrested on May 29 and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. No charges have yet been filed against three other officers who were on the scene.
To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:
Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.
Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.
Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.