Who is Don Lemon? If you spend a lot of time watching CNN or you like to debate about politics, you might already be familiar with his name. Otherwise, you’re probably wondering who this person is and why it’s important to know a thing or two about him. He is a definite force in the world of journalism, that’s for sure. If you want to know about this sometimes polarizing figure, keep reading. You can find 20 things about him that you might find interesting.
1. He’s made his life bringing the news to other people
Before he ever even graduated from high school, he had a dream about becoming a journalist. Since he graduated from college, the only type of job he's ever done involves bringing the news to others, in one capacity or another. He's worked his way up through the ranks and as such, he's worked for a number of different television stations and local news agencies. Nevertheless, he's always put in the time and the effort and he's managed to do so in his chosen field almost exclusively.
2. He also hosts a news-related television show
For him, it's not enough to merely report the news. He's always had a desire to do something more about it, mainly something involving having some in-depth discussions about some of the issues that plague society in today's world. Currently, he has a program where he brings the news to the general public and another one where he serves as a host in a platform where these types of discussions can be held on a routine basis.
3. He’s an accomplished author
He's also written a few books, and one or two of them has made it to the New York Times bestseller list. It only makes sense when you really stop and think about it. If he is concerned about not only the political situation that exists these days, but also all of the other issues that cause problems in society, it seems only natural to write a book about them. Even though he is able to host a show that brings these topics to light, it's virtually impossible to discuss everything that needs to be brought to the forefront in such a compressed time frame. On the other hand, writing the books gives him the opportunity to express his opinions freely and he can go as in-depth as he chooses.
4. He’s currently based in New York City
As is the case for so many people who choose a career in journalism, New York City has always been the place where he eventually wanted to end up. That's largely because this is considered the top market for journalist of all types, and it often means that anyone that's in the business has a goal of eventually ending up on some type of program that's based out of the city. For him, it was always a dream to be on a nationally-recognized program that came from the heart of America's largest city. However, he readily admits that the reality of the situation is much different from the dream he had so long ago.
5. He is originally from Louisiana
Not only was he born in Louisiana, but he grew up there. He went to high school near Baton Rouge and even started his college career there. As you can imagine, transitioning from a place like Louisiana to New York City take some doing. The entire culture between these two areas is different, something that can make adapting to new surroundings difficult. That being said, he seems to do quite well and he's never forgotten where he came from or how proud he is to be from Louisiana.
6. He attended Louisiana State University
When he first began his college career, he decided to attend Louisiana State University. Although he fully realized that the university didn't quite have everything that he wanted from a college experience, he made the decision to attend school locally and get some of the basic core classes out of the way. That decision gave him an opportunity to become more familiar with his chosen field, not to mention becoming more well-established on his own before he truly struck out into unfamiliar territory.
7. He’s always known what he wanted to do for a living
Most people don't have the foggiest idea what they want to do with their lives while they're still in school. It's not really that uncommon for someone to graduate from high school without a clear idea of what they want from their life. As a matter of fact, there are many college students who are completing their core classes and still haven't decided on a major, largely because they don't know where they want to focus as far as their career is concerned. It's actually quite refreshing when you run across someone that has always seemed to know exactly what they wanted to do, almost as if it were a calling instead of merely being a chosen profession.
8. He eventually transferred to Brooklyn College
Knowing that he would have to take certain courses in order to achieve his career goals, it didn't take him very long to make the decision to transfer to Brooklyn College. In short, he made this decision for two distinct reasons. He knew that eventually, he wanted to end up working in New York anyway, so he felt like it would be better for him if he started taking college classes in the area where he could do some internships and make those all-important connections. In addition, he was searching for a college that had one of the best journalism programs in the country, and he found it when he majored in broadcast journalism at Brooklyn College.
9. He got an early start on his career at WNYW in New York City
Just as he had hoped, he was able to get a job while he was still attending college, giving him an opportunity to hone his skills in broadcast journalism. Even though it was a relatively small station, it was still one based in New York City. It didn't matter to him that he was broadcasting locally, it mattered that he was working toward his goal on a daily basis. The fact that he was doing it in the nation's largest market made him feel even more prepared for everything that he was trying to achieve in the future.
10. He’s not afraid to call out the very place where he works
Today, he works for CNN and even though he's achieved his goal of being at the national level of broadcast journalism, he doesn't necessarily agree with many of the things that CNN does as a whole. He's never been shy about stating his opinions, even when that's likely to get him in hot water. As such, he's been very vocal about criticizing the very station for which he works, questioning their motives and even questioning whether or not they thoroughly investigate the stories before they decide to go the press with them. Clearly, this is something that hasn't set very well with his superiors and he's been reprimanded for it several times. That being said, it hasn't stopped him from remaining critical of the station and their practices. In all honesty, it adds a sense of realism when someone is willing to stand up and say that they don't like something that their place of employment does, even when it puts their very job in jeopardy for doing so.
11. He’s equally unafraid to call out others if he perceives a problem
As you might have already imagined, he's not going to be very fearful about calling others out on the carpet if he's doing it to his own employer. If you're not already aware, he's African-American but he's also quick to point out that there are a lot of things that African-Americans do that cause them to struggle both financially and within society, at least according to his way of thinking. This was another time when the public didn't really care for what he had to say, and there was a very large outcry from the African-American public, as they felt as though he were basically shaming them for being black. Nevertheless, that hasn't changed his stance, nor has it changed how willing he is to speak out when he doesn't like something, no matter what it is or who is involved.
12. He has come out publicly
More recently, he also publicly came out as homosexual, further complicating his relationship with the viewing public. Some people vehemently support him for being willing to stand up and be himself, even knowing that he will face a certain amount of ridicule. Others felt that it was somewhat ironic that an individual who was so quick to criticize others was now in a position to be criticized. As you can imagine, if there's a way for the public to be divided on a topic, they will be and this was no different.
13. He claims that he was abused as a child but said nothing
He has repeatedly made claims that when he was a child, he was sexually abused. He also said that he suffered in silence until he was 30 years old, when he finally broke the news to his own mother. Since then, he has been very critical of people that are accused of such abuse, yet he has also been seen as someone that appears quite insensitive to other individuals who have suffered the same fate.
14. He is proud of his Creole heritage
As you can imagine, he's very proud of his heritage, which includes a certain amount of Creole. Most people are proud of their heritage, as it gives them a sense of self. It also provides each individual an opportunity to find out more about where they came from and how the lives of their family members who have gone before them unfolded,Sometimes having a direct impact on their own lives.
15. Viewers once got a petition together to have him fired
In case you haven't already figured it out, this is an individual who has no problem speaking out vocally about things that he feels passionate about. It doesn't matter if the overwhelming majority of the public agrees with him or not, he's going to say whatever is on his mind. As a matter of fact, he rarely seems to be in agreeance with the majority of the public but that doesn't stop him from drawing a lot of lines in the sand and then basically daring others to cross them. At one point, he made so many comments about a police incident that he became extremely unpopular with many of his viewers. They expressed their displeasure by creating a petition to have him fired. Although well over 1,000 signatures were collected, he still has his job.
16. He has a history of controversy
You guessed it, he speaks passionately about basically anything that's on his mind at the time. As such, he's gained a reputation for being someone who is quite controversial. This endears him to some and disgusts others. It all depends on one's personal point of view and who he is criticizing at the moment.
17. He won an award for being an influential person in his chosen field
Only a few short years ago, he was voted as one of the most influential African-American journalists in the country. This is a high honor, to say the least and it must be something that means a lot to an individual who has set his sights on such success since he was a child.
18. He has also been voted one of the worst journalists of all time
Of course, it's always important to stay humble. In his case, it came in the form of a not so highly desired “award” that voted him as one of the worst journalists that's ever been in that field. Again, it all comes back to a matter of opinion. Some people think that he's on the cutting edge and ahead of his time and others think that he just likes to make a lot of noise and stir the pot.
19. Some people seem to think he lacks respect for others
Some people have even gone as far as to say that if he had any respect for other individuals, he would tone his thoughts down as opposed to being so matter-of-fact about virtually everything. In other words, many see him as more polarizing than anything else.
20. He is definitely not a fan of Donald Trump
If you have spent any time watching his broadcast or listening to him, you already know that he does not like Donald Trump. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, and he's more than entitled to state his opinions. However, some worry that his actions sometimes appear similar to Trump's in the sense that he aggravates and agitates people as opposed to bringing them together.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker