BLACK VOICES
08/12/2013 04:45 pm ET | Updated Aug 15, 2013

Don Lemon Responds To Russell Simmons, Critics During 'CNN Newsroom' Segment (VIDEO)

In the two weeks since CNN anchor, Don Lemon furthered controversial points made by Bill O’Reilly in outlining what Black America needs to do to right itself, the 47-year-old has faced a hailstorm of criticism for his comments.

Although some agreed with Lemon, others including hip hop veterans Russell Simmons and Nas publicly dismissed the anchor's commentary.

“I respect your courage on many other issues, but I can't accept that you would single out black teenagers as the cause of their own demise because they don't speak the King's English or wear belts around their waistbands,” Simmons wrote in an open letter. For his part, Nas took to his Twitter account to write; "Poor Don Lemon. Sad. So lost. Haaaaa!!"

This past weekend Lemon responded to critics during a segment on “CNN Newsroom.”

“Russell, I'm glad you wrote the letter. Honestly I really am,” he admitted. “Initially though, I wasn't even going to respond to your letter, not because I think you completely missed the point, not because, like many of the other critics I thought you were just using the occasion as a promotion for one of your businesses, your Web site, but I wasn't going to address it because, quite honestly, it was hard to take you and it seriously after you called me derogatory names like ‘slave’ on Twitter. That accomplishes nothing especially when lives are at stake.”

“That said, I'm going to respond and I'm going to take the high road at the same time by not calling you names and simply addressing your points,” he continued. “And just to be clear before I start here I have asked you on this program on CNN several times to discuss the issues I have addressed. I have invited you again tonight but you declined again. That is fine. But don't throw stones and hide your hand.”

Check out more of Don Lemon’s response in the clip above.

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