Of all of the pundits who have lost their cookies over Kanye West’s visit to the Oval Office, Don Lemon certainly seems to have parted ways with the most macaroons.
There were plenty of genuine outlandish moments on Lemon’s CNN show Thursday night, some of them risible and some genuinely offensive. In the latter category, few moments were quite as disturbing as when the anchor invoked West’s dead mother to insult the rapper.
The “CNN Tonight” anchor said that the artist’s behavior was “not normal, and we need to stop sitting here pretending that it’s normal.”
“This was an embarrassment,” Lemon said. “Kanye’s mother is rolling over in her grave.”
West’s mother, Donda, died 10 years ago of coronary artery disease at the age of 58 after surgery. Her untimely death informed much of West’s work in the period afterward.
So, why not use it to take a dig at the rapper?
I’m not sure what “not normal” is classified as in Don Lemon-world, but I’m fairly sure using the death of someone’s parent as a rhetorical point qualifies for most people.
That wasn’t the only offensive thing that Lemon had to say over the course of his one hour of invective. Perhaps the saddest thing was that it was all wrapped in the guise of feigned concern for West.
“I have no animosity for Kanye West,” Lemon said. “I’m just going to be honest and I may get in a lot of trouble for it.
“I actually feel bad for him. What I saw was a minstrel show today. Him in front of all these white people embarrassing himself and embarrassing Americans, but mostly African-Americans because every one of them is sitting either at home or with their phones, watching this, cringing.”
West, according to Lemon, “needs a father figure. He needs someone to help him and to guide him, and he needs a hug more than anything.”
The CNN host also said Kanye’s “his managers, maybe some other people who are in the music business who know him, they need to grab him, snatch him up and get Kanye together because Kanye needs help.”
The problem with all of this rhetoric is that West didn’t act much differently in the Oval Office than he has for his entire career. The rapper has always come across as a bit of an eccentric, which was totally OK with most people back when he was saying stuff like “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” on a telethon. Kanye was an unquestioned genius — and, the party line went, shouldn’t geniuses be allowed their idiosyncrasies?
That all changed once he donned the MAGA cap.
Suddenly, the fact that West acted that way was a sign he “needs help.” Whether it be a hug or Haldol, Kanye needs something to snap him out of conservatism and bring him back in the Democrat fold where good black people belong. Until then, he’s presiding over a “minstrel show” — to Lemon, Kanye is literally Jim Crow so long as he’s pro-Trump.
But sure, Kanye is the one being offensive. So offensive, in fact, that it’s OK to bring his dead mother into it. Shame, it seems, is a four-letter word in Don Lemon’s vocabulary.
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