Talib Kweli Visits Ferguson, Squares Off With CNN Reporter

Categories: Michael Brown

talibcnn.jpg
Screenshot from the interview.
Socially conscious rapper and activist Talib Kweli came to Ferguson this week to participate in the protests surrounding the shooting of eighteen-year-old Mike Brown by a police officer on August 9. Kweli says that part of the reason for his visit is to help "control the narrative" of the situation, because, in his view, "the media has been doing a horrible job of making sure that the stories get out in the right way." He shared these feelings early on in an on-scene interview with CNN's Don Lemon, who has been on the scene in Ferguson throughout the turmoil. Lemon took this as a chance to defend his company's coverage.

The situation quickly devolved from there.

See also: Our full coverage on Mike Brown's case and the unrest in Ferguson

"I disagree with that," Lemon says in the interview, "especially with our coverage. I think we have done really great coverage here."

Kweli agreed that the intentions of the media organization were good, but "we live in a world that is run by white supremacy, and that is the narrative and language of the oppressors taking over." He took particular umbrage with a headline that read "Ferguson Streets Were Calm Until Bottles Fly," which he claims is inaccurate.

"I was there that night. That's not what happened," he says. "And the first thing in the story it says is that, 'Police chased down men...'"

At this point Lemon steps in to argue with him, and the interview quickly turns into the two men trying to talk over one another and Kweli eventually saying, "If I can't talk then we don't need to have an interview," and turning to walk away. Lemon says that "in order to have a conversation, you have to listen to me as well." From there the argument turns to whether proper greetings were made at the interview's outset.

KWELI: Let me explain something. I would listen to you if you had the decency -- let me finish -- if you had the decency to greet me.

LEMON: I do have the decency. I invited you to come on CNN.

KWELI: Let me tell you what happened. You didn't invite me. Nicole invited me, first of all. You came up -- you didn't even say nothing to me. You were on your phone the whole time. You asked how to pronounce my name. You have no respect for who I am.

Kweli then tells Lemon to "let me finish what I have to say, or I'm gonna leave," and continues his criticism of CNN's article, while Lemon stays quiet.

When Kweli wrapped up his point, which was that, from his view, police had already agitated the crowd prior to any bottles being thrown, Lemon hops back on the defensive, addressing CNN's coverage as well as his being on the phone when Kweli arrived.

LEMON: As far as you saying, me coming up -- I have a job to do. What I'm doing on television is in this phone. I'm reading -- hang on -- I'm reading --

KWELI: I would have the respect to greet you if I had never met you before, brother. To say, "How are you doing? It's nice to meet you."

LEMON: I said, "How are you doing."

KWELI: No, you did not.

LEMON: I did.

By the end of the strange exchange the two returned to civility, finding common ground in their purposes on the scene and eventually shaking hands. But the confrontational turns the interview reveal how high tensions and emotions are surrounding Ferguson and Mike Brown, and mirror the arguments taking place in and around the city, as well as the world, every day since the unrest started. Social media has become a minefield of differing opinions, with long-time friends engaging in arguments and angrily bickering over both the big picture and minute details of the case.

Let's only hope that the rest of us can find it possible to shake hands when all is said and done as well. Conversation is important, civility is crucial and we need to be open to each other's opinions. There is no need to get into petty arguments; there are real things to be discussed right now. Right?

Watch the full interview below:


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56 comments
Jeff Craig
Jeff Craig

Nice job Talib! Thank you for your contribution dip.

Doctor_Herbert_West
Doctor_Herbert_West

This hip-hop "artist" didn't see any bottles thrown, so therefore the police, media, and eyewitnesses are lying.


Also, the live video feeds on multiple networks and media sharing websites that showed numerous bottles being thrown at police on several different occasions were fake too.

Tiffany Aleashea Thompson
Tiffany Aleashea Thompson

Kweli is a legend..hip hop with a meaning...real music...a positive voice for the community....and what just happened here is the same that's happening to that community...they want us to hear them but they don't hear us...but that's just my opinion...

Curtis Hardy
Curtis Hardy

Lmao......and you post on your wall about rfid chips being put in americans. Obviously you haven't had a chance to search and see that is an old hoax and have no idea how rfid is a short range technology.

Curtis Hardy
Curtis Hardy

You have time to read the article but don't have 2 seconds to google who Talib Kweli is?

Justin Michalik
Justin Michalik

I'm probably gonna catch a lot of flack for this but I don't care; the truth is the truth. I was there the very first night, before shit hit the fan. Saturday night. It was the night of the Miley Cyrus concert because my girlfriend and sister were there while I went to Ferguson for police accountability. Everything was peaceful in the apartment neighborhood, everyone was just preaching on their street. Then they marched out to the main road and the step father was out in the street yelling at everyone to come and block the road. He was quite successful and traffic was jammed. People were sitting in the streets. Police showed up on both sides of the sit in, about 2-3 cruisers each side. They blocked the road about 100 ft up the road. I walked to their line and started getting closer to them to ask questions when a bottle smashed into one of the cruisers. Then rocks. I retreated away from the cops because I knew that's what the target was. I warned others coming towards us that bottles were being thrown as more came down. The cops retreated to the stoplight intersections and then called for backup. That's the truth.

Mark Tubbesing
Mark Tubbesing

Who is Talib Kweli and why should I even give one second of my time to his obviously skewed view of life?? White supremacy?? Lmao.

James R Johnson
James R Johnson

Author what you find petty is all another person may have, their dignity.

Curtis Hardy
Curtis Hardy

Violent rap song and Kweli do not belong in the same sentence.

John Anderson
John Anderson

He is just looking for another violent Rap song.

brsinai
brsinai

Typical of the b l a c k community.  This is why Ferguson is in the state it is in, because these people are simply irrational in their thinking.  We have an administration with the same mentality and is turning the U.S. into a government run no better than Zimbabwe and Nigeria.  

Daniel Loftin
Daniel Loftin

There is black people and then there is Talib

Curtis Cooper
Curtis Cooper

Ohhh ya! ;) See black people can get loud and not fight and kill each other! ;)

Reed Paladino
Reed Paladino

If it comes to light that this was an assault on a police officer, and he was justified in his defense to put the perp down...that makes all these so-called protesters race rioters, does it not? Racism is alive and well, and the jerkoffs like Talib prove it.

Tom Baker
Tom Baker

The gentleman on the left intended to be disruptive and rude. He had a platform and tried to make it memorable. There are better ways to make a point than like that. I don't care to know any more about him. He's convinced me of that, as there are more articulate and persuasive people than him. Some people might be influenced by angriness, but most sensible people aren't.

Matt Hale
Matt Hale

I did not know either of their names before the interview. Now I do. So they both did good in the PR world. Sad thing is is that this is news it should of ended up on a editing room floor. Horrible interview on both of their parts. Both of them acted like high school kids.

Toya Liner
Toya Liner

So because you don't agree with Talib, he's ignorant? Don was rude...you don't ask for an interview then interrupt because you disagree. And the man is far from "a rapper", stop judging him from a title! Oh, all rap music talks about are gangs, murder and money right? Oh and big booty bitches? READING IS FUNDAMENTAL!

Jake Chräjbüel
Jake Chräjbüel

douchebag. seriously how is anyone that big of an asshole to don lemon?

Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

No one is getting a free pass when dealing with Ferguson/ the riots /Mike Brown's death. It is too important to the nation that everything be documented correctly, be portrayed on television correctly, and handled correctly by the government.

Christopher Harper
Christopher Harper

I don't think is right how African-American men and women can say such mean things about white people in general. Its all over the media everyday and if the tables were turned around what would happen?

Jenna Silva
Jenna Silva

Where is Bill Cosby? I'm sure he would have a few choice words for all shades of ppl. I love that man. Lol

Johnny Niswonger
Johnny Niswonger

Why is anyone wasting the air time with these hip hop artists? Bring down Chuck Berry for an interview. If anyone knows how a black man gets treated from StL police, he would be the guy I want to hear from.

Zac Nevill
Zac Nevill

why would anyone ever side with the police!?

Zac Nevill
Zac Nevill

or just listen to what he says in his music. he is an activist

Kyle MacCárthaigh
Kyle MacCárthaigh

People who listen to Talib's lyrics should listen to his lyrics. The guy is far from racist and far from unintelligent. The guy quotes Norman Mailer in his songs. He owns a book store. If nothing else, YouTube "Get By" and see what he's always been about.

Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd

Have you listened to his lyrics? enough said.

Benjamin Scherliss
Benjamin Scherliss

Nobody, in history is "by default a racist." That's one of the stupidest things I've ever heard.

Benjamin Scherliss
Benjamin Scherliss

Screw him, he showed-up intending to have an argument. Any point he wanted to make was negated by his tantrum.

Dawn Garries
Dawn Garries

I saw it. Talib Kweli was out of control. He acted like an overgrown kid. I think he needs psychotherapy. Counseling? At the very least (talk therapy). As for CNN's coverage; at least it's not like FOX News.

Steve Gousetis
Steve Gousetis

What a racist ! Condemning all white people as oppressors ! Anyone who listens to his music oughta think about what he said here.

Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd

Talib Kweli is a Five Percenter and a racist

Jon Hiltz
Jon Hiltz

Who is that moron ? Tell him to shut his mouth and leave the community

Brian Boyd
Brian Boyd

Talib was only there to see one thing. He was only there to say one thing. There was no way, ever, that he would have sided with the police even if they brought flowers and finger sandwiches to the protest. Talib Kweli is by default a racist.

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