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Don Lemon Talks to Jada Pinkett Smith About Being Black and Gay

Don Lemon Talks to Jada Pinkett Smith About Being Black and Gay

CNN’s Don Lemon appeared on Jada Pinkett Smith‘s Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk, on Monday to discuss being gay in the Black community.

Lemon, who is in an interracial relationship, told Smith that the Black men he has dated were on the down low, saying their discomfort made their sexuality seem like a phase.

“It’s almost like cultural appropriation,” the news anchor said. “I want to have the fun, but I don’t want to live that way forever.

“After a few drinks, you’re like, ‘Whoa, wait a minute. Are you hitting on me?’” he added. “But a week later, you don’t want to show up at my house with a rose and say are we having dinner; you can’t deal with that part, but you can deal with the other part.”

Lemon also spoke about his relationship with Jussie Smollett and how he’s talked with the actor every day since Smollett reported the attack in which he said two men hurled racial and homophobic slurs at him.

“For Black gay men—historically, Black men have stayed in the closet—you have to decide, ‘Do I want to be Black or do I want to be gay?’ he told Pinkett Smith. “And sometimes some of us say we’re too Black to be gay or are we too gay to be Black.”

“So you’ve got it from your own folks or from the larger community and it hurts. It’s a weight,” Lemon said.

Watch the full Red Table Talk episode below.

Black and Gay in America with Don Lemon

The Red Table makes a special trip to New York for an exclusive interview with CNN anchor Don Lemon about the horrific hate crime against "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett. Lemon reveals the obstacles he faced being a gay, black man in a high-profile job, and the challenges facing gay men in the African American community.

Posted by Red Table Talk on Monday, February 11, 2019

Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.