Don Lemon and Terry Crews had a heated but respectful conversation Monday night about the actor’s criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement, which he has claimed is detrimental to the battle for racial equality.
The Brooklyn Nine-Nine star has pushed back on BLM multiple times via social media, which in turn has led the actor to be blasted for his stance. He told the CNN personality that nothing would sway his mindset.
“Black lives do matter, but when you’re talking about an organization, you’re talking about the leaders. You’re talking about the people who are responsible,” Crews argued on Lemon’s CNN Tonight. Lemon jumped on the statement and pointed out Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement were once seen as extreme.
Crews pivoted his point to the rash of gun violence in Chicago, saying a number of children had been fatally shot since mid-June and the BLM leaders have not said a word. A clearly confused Lemon asked what that had to do with what they were discussing.
“This is the thing, Don. Black people need to hold other Black people accountable,” Crews said, calling the movement Black America’s #MeToo. “If anything is going to change, we, ourselves, have to look at our own community and look at each other and say, ‘This thing cannot go down.'”
Crews continued, “It has to be all Black Lives Matter. And because I even challenged it, because I even questioned and warned people, I —,” Crews said as he was cut off by Lemon.
“The Black Lives Matter movement was started because it was talking about police brutality. If you want an all Black Lives Matter movement that talks about gun violence in communities, including Black communities, then start that movement with that name,” Lemon said. “That’s not what Black Lives Matter is about. It’s not all-encompassing. If someone started a movement that said ‘cancer matters,’ and then someone came and said, ‘Why aren’t you talking about HIV?’ It’s not the same thing, we’re talking about cancer.”
Lemon continued. “So the Black Lives Matter movement is about police brutality and injustice in that manner, not about what’s happening in Black neighborhoods. There are people who are working on that issue, and if you want to start that issue, why don’t you start it? Do you understand what I’m saying?”
Crews further attempted to defend his position, saying police brutality is not the only thing BLM is talking about, when Lemon again interjected. “I agree, but that’s not what the Black Lives Matter movement is about, Terry. Black Lives Matter is about police brutality and about criminal justice,” Lemon said. “It’s not about what happens in communities when it comes to crime. People who live near each other, Black people, kill each other. Same as whites. It happens in every single neighborhood.”
Crews still tried to defend his argument when Lemon said, “I’m over, Terry,” and ended the segment.
Tuesday morning, Crews tweeted, “If I’m truly your equal, I can discuss my concerns with you- but if I’m not- all my concerns are perceived as threats.”
Watch the full Monday CNN interview below.