Was he joking?
Perhaps Don Lemon was trying to make co-host and CNN regular contributor Marc Lamont Hill believe that he has a little “street cred,” or maybe the CNN anchor actually thinks the Nation of Islam is a group worthy of his support and endorsement.
See, during CNN’s Saturday evening coverage of the run-up to the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, Lemon and Hill were bantering back and forth. At one point, Lemon asked Hill to critique his outfit and touched his bow tie. Hill replied by asking, “Bean pie my brother?”
When there was no reaction from the two white commentators that were part of the segment, Lemon felt the need to explain what Hill meant by the “bean pie” reference after Hill said, “For all the black people in the audience, that was really funny.”
“You did not get what he said,” Lemon said, before adding, “He was asking me — I have a Final Call for you. Where is it? And a bean pie. He’s saying that I look like a member of the Nation of Islam. That’s OK. I like them. I live on 123rd Street. They’re always at 125th Street subway stop and I buy my Final Call.”
Final Call is the newsletter sold on the streets by members of the Nation of Islam and bean pies are a ubiquitous item sold in neighborhoods where the Nation of Islam has a strong presence.
“The Final Call today — the one they were selling — was about torture in American prisons. I buy it every time I see it,” Lemon reitterated.
That’s right, Lemon was proudly sharing his knowledge of the controversial organization that has been called a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It’s also odd considering that in his 2011 autobiography, Lemon came out as a gay man. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has publicly called homosexuality a sin.
The exchange between Hill and Lemon seemed lighthearted but Lemon appeared to want Hill to know just how much he knew about the Nation of Islam.
“Don’t by trying to test my blackness,” Lemon later told Hill.
“That was a blackness test,” Hill chuckled.
“Why are you shocked? What are you shocked for?” Lemon shouted.
“Bitch, one that you know what the Final Call was. … That you know what the Final Call was and that you’d be at 125th street,” Hill responded.
TheBlaze has reached out to Don Lemon for comment and clarification. This story will be updated with any response we receive.
Watch the clip and decide — was Don Lemon actually endorsing the Nation of Islam?
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