Don Lemon sat at Jada Pinkett Smith’s red table to discuss Jussie Smollett and life as a gay Black man in America.
The CNN anchor says he spoke to Smollett after the Empire star was attacked in January, reports Yahoo Entertainment.
“I talked to Jussie for a minute and he said, ‘I gotta go, the doctor’s here’ and it just made me sad,” he recalled. “Everyone talks about, ‘Well, this happened and that happened.’ My concern is for him.”
Lemon says he expected Smollett’s story to be refuted, but he believes the energy is misplaced. He texts Smollett every day to check in.
"Sometimes he responds, sometimes he doesn’t,” he said.
Lemon also addressed the complicated intersection of race and sexuality. “We were slaves. We were beaten and branded,” he added. “So as Black, gay men, we carry the racism part and we carry the gay part. We’re already a class of people who have been discriminated against, so why do I want to have another mark against me?”
Lemon says Black gay men are pressured to “decide your identity.”
“Do I want to be Black? Or do I want to be gay? Sometimes some of us say we’re too Black to be gay. Or are we too gay to be Black?” he asked.
Pinkett Smith announced Lemon’s appearance on Red Table Talk on last Friday.
"Don [Lemon] is on this week, and with the whole Jussie Smollett situation that has occurred, my mother and Willow and I were very interested in the experience of being openly gay, Black and male in America," she told Entertainment Tonight. "That's a very short list, and the only person I could think of to bring to the table to talk about that experience is Don."
The Girls Trip star raved about her talk with Lemon and hopes her viewers will learn from the discussion.
"Don came with so much wisdom and so much information, and he really enlightened me about what the experience is like and in a way that I really didn't get or understand before I talked to Don," she said.
"I hope people who have family members or have children, families that are struggling with figuring out how to deal with a child that's openly gay, or people who are trying to figure out how to talk about it, will watch the show."
Watch the full episode below:
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