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Interview with Former Counsel to U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security and CNN Legal Analyst Carrie Cordero; Interview with Financial Times Columnist and "Impossible City: Paris in the 21st Century" Author Simon Kuper; Interview with Civil and Human Rights Leader and 2017 Women's March on Washington Former National Co-Chair Carmen Perez-Jordan; Interview with Singer/Songwriter Aloe Blacc; Interview with TransLash Media Founder Imara Jones. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired June 27, 2024 - 13:00:00   ET



CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.

France gears up for Macron's big gamble, baiting the far-right at this weekend's snap elections. I speak to Financial Times columnist Simon Kuper.

Plus, the latest earth-shaking decisions from the Supreme Court.

Then --


HARRY BELAFONTE, MUSICIAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS ICON: I'm here because you called. I'm here because I am part of your history.


AMANPOUR: "Following Harry," the next generation continuing the work of legendary musician and civil rights icon Harry Belafonte. I'm joined by

activist Carmen Perez-Jordan and singer songwriter Aloe Blacc.

Also, ahead --


IMARA JONES, FOUNDER, TRANSLASH MEDIA: Roughly now, half the states in the United States have some sort of anti-trans legislation on the books.


AMANPOUR: -- combating trans hate award-winning journalist and founder of TransLash Media Imara Jones speaks to Hari Sreenivasan her new docuseries,

"American Problems, Trans Solution."

Welcome to the program everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London. This weekend, France heads to the polls and the far-right looks set to come out

on top. President Emmanuel Macron threw the dice with this snap election after his centrist party was trounced by Marine Le Pen's National Rally in

recent European parliamentary elections.

Correspondent Melissa Bell has more on how Le Pen has reshaped the party's dark origins into an apparently palatable mainstream alternative.


MELISSA BELL, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was, for France's national rally, a historic win. The European elections marked

the first time the hard right had won a poll nationally. Now, with the party's campaigning for seats in France's parliament and a shot at


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The party was long demonized. But that's the work that Marine Le Pen and her team have managed to do, to show

that we are a party capable of governing and a party that is democratic.

BELL (voice-over): No mean feat for a woman who inherited the party from her father, the Holocaust denier Jean-Marie Le Pen, who founded the

National Rally or National Front as it was known, with former French members of Hitler's SS. A history steeped in fascism that was credited with

long keeping the party from power, even when it got close.

France is a country, after all, heavily marked by the horrors of Nazi Germany.

BELL: Amongst those atrocities, what happened here at Oradour-sur-Glane 80 years ago, when an entire village was rounded up by the SS and killed in

cold blood.

BELL (voice-over): The village, frozen in time, left exactly as it was on that fateful day 80 years ago, in order for the world to remember.

But in the new village, rebuilt after the war, the European elections saw the National Rally come first here too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Here the National Rally did a big score like in other rural communities. Times have changed, the means of

communication are no longer the same, societal issues have evolved too, and there's been a detoxification of the extremes, of the far-right.

BELL (voice-over): The key also for the National Rally, the young, who voted massively in favor of a party that few in the past would have

admitted voting for, but that has now gained something that long eluded it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Legitimacy, that's it. We're no longer ostracized. We're taken seriously. They said that 30 percent of

French voted for us. French people who love their country, who don't want to see it change and get eaten by globalization.

BELL (voice-over): A message that looks set to resonate in a parliamentary poll that could see the National Rally gain, not just legitimacy, but power



AMANPOUR: Now, in a moment, we're going to have a deeper dive into the political landscape in France and across parts of Europe. One of the things

that the French president, Emmanuel Macron, did earlier this year was to enshrine a woman's constitutional right to her own reproductive health,

including an abortion in the constitution, fearing that if a far-right government ever came to power, they would take those rights away from

French women.


Now, of course, this scenario has been playing out in the United States, with the legal tangle over abortion. And today, America's highest court has

ruled on Idaho's strict abortion law, temporarily allowing them in medical emergencies.

So, consider this level of conditionality that I've just read out and the news interest, in a nation where women had the constitutional right to

decide their own reproductive health matters for themselves for five decades until just two years ago when the majority conservative Supreme

Court, mostly appointed by then-President Trump, overturned Roe versus Wade.

Legal analyst Carrie Cordero joins me now from Washington to explain the significance of today's ruling. So, Carrie, give me the significance of it,

because it seems to be a very narrow decision, with a lot of conditions attached to it. Tell me what it actually means.


decision by the Supreme Court, what they really did is delay making eventual decisions, if it comes back to them, on the legality of Idaho, one

state's laws that bans abortion unless the life of the mother is at risk.

And so, the Supreme Court had stepped into this case earlier this year and had allowed the Idaho law to go forward. And now, what the Supreme Court

has done is it said, actually, we think we intervened too quickly, and so we are going to step back out of this case, but we're not actually going to

make the substantive decisions about it just yet.

AMANPOUR: So, what does this mean? One of the associate justices, Ketanji Brown, said that this is not a victory for Idaho, it's not a victory for

the patients in Idaho, it is a delay, as you've laid out. What does this mean for the women there?

CORDERO: So, as a practical matter, right now, post this decision, the Idaho law that is more restrictive is set aside, and if there is a woman

who needs the care, under the provision of federal law that applies, that she will be able to receive that care. The Idaho law would restrict that

and would not enable a hospital or a doctor to provide the care that she needs if her health is in danger, not necessarily her life, but her health

is in danger.

And so, that is what the practical impact is. But again, it will go back to lower courts now. And so, it is foreseeable that this is really just a

temporary reprieve and not any type of resolution to the issue.

AMANPOUR: So, what do you, I suppose, surmise? Was it that the Supreme Court didn't want to do yet another controversial decision in the midst of

an election campaign, or what?

CORDERO: It's hard to say that it was tied to the election year in particular, but it does seem that in this particular case they've just

decided that it wasn't yet right for their decision-making, and it seems like some of the justices step view that they had stepped into the case

much too quickly.

Now, Justice Jackson and Justice Alito, in the pieces that they wrote, both said that they think that the Supreme Court should have actually resolved

what the conflict in this case was, which was whether or not the federal law preempts or should hold over the Idaho law. Both of them would come to

complete opposite decisions as to how that would be resolved. But they both wrote that they thought it should have been resolved.

But instead, most of the justices just decided to step out of the case for now and send it back to the lower courts.

AMANPOUR: So, Carrie Cordero, it really does sound so tangled, legally, and each state has different rules and regulations leaving American women

in really a big state of limbo. So, I wonder what you think of what countries like France have done in order to precisely prevent this kind of

removal of women's independence and their own healthcare rights.

CORDERO: Well, so the United States, of course, does not have this right to an abortion or any type of explicit privacy right or women's human right

that might be specified in our constitution. And what the Supreme Court did two years ago in the Dobbs decision is it took what had been, at least, a

Supreme Court decision that seemed settled, as you mentioned in your lead up, for 50 years in the United States.


And what the Supreme Court said is it said, actually, that didn't really settle it. We think it should go back. The decision could, should go back

to the states on this issue of what the Supreme Court tends to describe as a moral issue or a culture issue.

And what has happened as a practical matter, Christiane, is that the last two years have been more confusing as more and more states have implemented

laws that are specific to various aspects of reproductive health or women's health. It has caused more confusion since their Dobbs decision, not less.

AMANPOUR: And with President -- Former President Trump on this side of the issue and President Biden on the other side of the issue, it is a major

election issue, I guess. Certainly, it was in the midterms. But can I just ask you finally, are you surprised that, as we're -- people are describing,

it's kind of a half issue, or a half decision that the Supreme Court handed down. And they've so far avoided some of the more direct cases in front of

them, or at least they've delayed them up until now, involving President Trump, like the immunity case And other such things. When do you expect

that to come down?

CORDERO: Well, it could -- on the immunity case, it could be tomorrow or it could be early next week. And so, I think, we don't know exactly what

day. The Supreme Court doesn't announce in advance which specific day it's going to release opinions on. It does seem that next week it will finally

wrap up this particular term.

And we know that there are at least two cases affecting the former president. One is the immunity case, which is significant to him and to the

institution of the presidency, whether a president is immune from prosecution. And then there's another case which pertains to obstruction,

which would affect, not only Former President Trump, because if the court agrees with the petitioner in that case, it could potentially dismiss two

of the counts against Former President Trump. And it also would affect hundreds of the cases of individuals prosecuted in connection with January


So, both of those cases, we're still waiting for the Supreme Court to rule on, will be sometime in the next few days.

AMANPOUR: Carrie Cordero, thank you so much, indeed, for helping us navigate some of these complexities.

And now, let's get back to those upcoming elections in France. And I'm joined by the Financial Times columnist, Simon Kuper. His new book is

"Impossible City: Paris in the 21st Century." Welcome to the program.


AMANPOUR: You have spent a long time, I've read your weekend columns, talking about, for one of a better way, centrist politics and how the

center can sort of hold and you've done a lot of talk post-Brexit and the Troubles and all the rest of it.

And I just wonder, as somebody who spent so long in France, and you're now a French citizen, you've just written that sort of love letter to Paris,

which is a great city. What do you think has caused this moment where the far-right for the first time could actually win a parliamentary election?

KUPER: Well, the far-right has been like the wolf howling outside the door for 50 years. And the howling has got louder and louder, especially on

Marine Le Pen, who sought power more aggressively than her father, previous leader did.

And I think that there's a resentment against Paris that's built into it. That's a very big part of it. So, France, like the U.K., is a country with

a wealthy capital that's sucking in investments and jobs, that sucks in young ambitious people. And France is a country where people farmed for

millennia. And that kind of died in the last 80 years.

So, a lot of the French territory is abandoned, and people feel left -- abandoned by the republic. There's no bus services, there's no post office,

there's no doctor, there's no school, and that's part of this enormous resentment against Paris, and Macron has become the embodiment of that.

And then, there's a great discomfort about immigration. I think the French are more uncomfortable about immigration on average than the British. And

the far-right expresses that.

AMANPOUR: Yes. I wonder, because I think you wrote in the paper, last week or so, about the famous French Soccer player or football player, Kylian

Mbappe, and what he said regarding these upcoming elections. And we know that in the parliamentary -- or rather in the European elections, young

people turned out and voted in large numbers for the Le Pen party. And Kylian Mbappe appeared to be addressing the issue. I'm just going to play

this and see what you think about it today.


KYLIAN MBAPPE, FRENCH SOCCER PLAYER (through translator): We know we are in a very important moment in the history of our country, an unusual

situation. And that is why I appeal to all the French people, and above all, to the young generation. I think we are a generation that could make a


Today, we see that the extremes are knocking on the door of power and we have the opportunity to shape the future of our country.



AMANPOUR: Do you think that will be a call that will be heeded? Does he have influence like that?

KUPER: It's a remarkable statement. The captain of a national team who's expected to maintain neutrality, who, as a black man. is in France always

under suspicion from a large part of the population of not really being for France, of not really being even French, he comes out and he doesn't say in

so many words, but he's saying, go vote for our rights.

And I think he's not appealing to young people in general, I think he's appealing, especially to younger people of immigrant origin in the suburbs

of Paris and other big cities who have low turnout, who haven't voted much, and he's saying, for God's sake, get out and vote.

Because if the Front (ph) National, the Solomon (ph) National, as it's now called, especially with its very kind of explicitly anti-Muslim ethos, I

mean, so many French people are of Muslim origin. This is really a nightmare situation. It's a -- their position on Islam is more radical than

Donald Trump's.

AMANPOUR: Wow. And that reminds us of one of the first actions he took when he, you know, made this ban for several Muslim majority countries

coming into the United States. You know, what happened? How did -- well, there are two questions. I mean, I remember covering the election of 2002

when her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who was -- wasn't he a Waffen-SS officer in --

KUPER: He's the co-founder of the party, was an SS officer. Jean-Marie Le Pen was too young to have had that opportunity.

AMANPOUR: Right. But he was the co-founder. OK. And, you know, he called the Holocaust a detail of history and he got very far in those elections in

2002. And then President Chirac got a coalition together to stop him. I think in France, they call it, you know, a cordon sanitaire, but basically

a safety net. Is that what Macron is gambling on, that everybody will come towards and save the day?

KUPER: It may have been one of the things he was hoping for. It's not going to happen, because the party of Jean-Marie Le Pen came from that kind

of 1940s tradition. Many of its early followers had their roots in Vichy, the French collaboration of World War II. Jean-Marie Le Pen, as you say,

was an explicit antisemite who repeatedly said, the Holocaust is a detail of history. And that just went too far for most French people. They

couldn't vote for somebody who recalled the kind of pro-Nazi Vichy regime.

And Marine Le Pen has sanitized that part of the party. She doesn't do antisemitism. She says she loves Jews. Her focus is against Islam. So,

she's removed that link with the World War II past that was just a bridge too far for many voters.

She kind of has presented a party that's against Islam, that's against broadly African immigration, but doesn't have that kind of pro-Nazi tinged

to it. And so, there isn't the terror of her -- or there is, but it's much less widespread than it was for her father.

AMANPOUR: What do you think Marine Le Pen would do if they become a majority in parliament? In terms of what kind of policies would they be

able to influence domestically?

KUPER: I mean, I don't think they're going to get a majority, but of course they might. And what they would do is they would remove birthright

citizenship. So, if you were born in France or your parents were not French, then you would not become a citizen, even if you lived your whole

life in France.

They would go to Brussels and say, any treaty we don't like, any European Union treaty we don't like, we're just going to ignore. And by the way,

give us lots of money back. We're not going to let any more asylum seekers. We're going to spend a lot of money kind of fantasy money. We don't know

where it's going to come from, but we're going to cut VAT on energy and maybe we're going to reduce the pension age. This is going to be a lot of

unfunded spending, which is going to terrify financial markets.

And because cost of living and those kind of economic issues, as you mentioned, is top of mind for many voters, do you think Macron's gamble

that should they come in as a prime minister or whatever to show people, well, you voted for them, you know, let's see how they actually govern. Do

you think -- given what you just said, could they stumble in government?

KUPER: I mean, every government in France ends up being despised quite rapidly. And so, that may well happen to them as well. But they can always

blame Macron, they say, well, I can accurately say, well, he created such a high budget deficit, we couldn't do all this kind of Santa Claus spending

that we had promised, and they'll blame the situation they inherited and maybe successfully.

I mean, give the far-right a spell on government and they'll be exposed. It hasn't worked for Donald Trump. It hasn't worked for Giorgia Meloni. So,

I'm really not sure that once they've got their foot in the door that they'll, leave the door.

AMANPOUR: I was going to ask you about Giorgia Meloni because she seems to be the template, the Italian prime minister, of how you can be part of a

legacy fascist party and yet, be acceptable, you know, on the world stage while implementing, you know, pragmatism on the world stage, but a lot more

conservative or extreme policies at home.


KUPER: Yes. So, I mean, one thing that they would be able to do is say to police, you know what? If you shoot a black kid, we're not going to make

any trouble about that. Just do what you want. At a demonstration, you want to hit the demonstrators, we're really not going to be fussed about that.

So, you can take away money from public television. So, that you then get this U.S. style situation where everybody has their own truth. So, there's

a lot of things that you can do quite quickly. But I think, even if they get the prime minister on July 7th, that's not the crucial step. The

crucial moment would be 2027, the presidential election. It does Marine Le Pen can get elected. Because being the French president, that's the most

powerful job in Europe. It's much bigger than being Italian prime minister in a coalition.

AMANPOUR: And bigger than Germany, which also has a rising far-right, you know, AFT?

KUPER: Well, the thing is, in Germany, you pretty much always have a coalition government.


KUPER: So, any government is constrained.

AMANPOUR: And what about the extreme left in France? Because there's the extreme right, and then there's this extreme left, and there's a whole

coalition of the leftist and socialist parties. Even the former socialist president, Francois Hollande, has joined. When you think that the FN won't

get a majority, who do you think will -- or how do you think it'll break down?

KUPER: Well, the thing is, the far-left hates Macron. The center left doesn't really like Macron either. And Macron is the kind of most detested

figure in French politics, but the action is moving away from him. What's possible is if you add up the Macron party plus the left coalition, they

might get 50 percent. And then, you have to say, well, OK, let's find a compromised prime minister. And who would that prime minister be? Maybe

Francois Hollande.

AMANPOUR: Interesting.

KUPER: You know, it's kind of in between.

AMANPOUR: Do you think he might -- well, he's pretty much -- well, he was hated. He was only a first, a one termer.

KUPER: Being hated plus age makes you a national treasure. So --

AMANPOUR: OK. what about your book? You have written this amazing book. You love France. You love Paris. What are you trying to say there, given

the situation we're in right now?

KUPER: I try and describe a city that is not just the postcard city that we know with the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. It's all there and the food

is wonderful. Paris is not that little city of 2 million. Paris is 12 million people. It includes the suburbs, which are a fascinating world,

which are now being united with the main city for the first time in history, 68 new metro stations, many of them coming online for the

Olympics. I'm really positive and optimistic about Paris, but a far-right government would throw everything off.

AMANPOUR: Wow. This is -- you have an incredible assignment being there right now.

KUPER: Fascinating.

AMANPOUR: Yes. Simon Kuper, thank you so much indeed.

And next, the longtime struggle for freedom and social justice in the United States. For decades, the legendary singer and actor Harry Belafonte

worked tirelessly to fight racism, carrying on the legacy of his friend Martin Luther King Jr.

For the final 12 years of his life, Belafonte collaborated on a documentary to pass on the lessons he learned from a lifetime of activism. The result

is "Following Harry." And here's a clip.


HARRY BELAFONTE, MUSICIAN AND CIVIL RIGHTS ICON: I'm here because you called. I'm here because I am part of your history. You called, and I'm

here to tell you that those of us who have been on this campaign, who have been in this struggle for over a century are delighted, happy to be part of

this moment.

PHILLIP AGNEW: What I recognized was Mr. Belafonte wanted to be a bridge that so many generations of young people could walk over that connected

them and us to the promise and the unfinished work of his time. His appreciation and love and belief in the Dream Defenders, at many times, was

the sole thing from keeping myself and, I think, other people from the brink of quitting.


AMANPOUR: Like Phillip Agnew speaking there, the film includes many of the younger generation Belafonte inspired and mentored, but also listened to,

including Carmen Perez-Jordan, an activist who now heads up the Gathering for Justice, an NGO that was founded by Belafonte, and the musician, Aloe

Blacc, who along with Carmen, this month received the Harry Belafonte Voices for Social Justice Award. And they're joining me now from New York.

Welcome both of you to the program.

It is an extraordinary documentary. It's just so sort of real-time, like a tutorial, like a lesson evolving before your eyes. So, Carmen, let me ask

you first. What made you even want to connect with Harry? What said to you, this is the person I need to talk to to continue my life of activism?

CARMEN PEREZ-JORDAN, CIVIL AND HUMAN RIGHTS LEADER AND FORMER NATIONAL CO- CHAIR, 2017 WOMEN'S MARCH ON WASHINGTON: Well, first of all, thank you so much for having us. And I don't necessarily think I asked myself that

question I was actually assigned to work for Mr. Belafonte through his mentee, Nana Alejandrez, who is the executive director of Barrios Unidos.


And I was running the prison project, and Mr. Belafonte was one of the guests inside Tracy Prison. And when I was invited to be part of what is

now called the Gathering for Justice, he clearly wanted me to work for him because of the work I had done in prisons and the work I had done in the


But, you know, 20 years ago, I didn't know it was going to be a blessing to sit at his feet and to learn from him. And what I initially thought Mr. B.

was and who he was, was not necessarily anything that I discovered until I got to sit with him, until I got to be with him. And I moved to New York

City to run the Gathering for Justice and it -- you know, when you talk about him and everything that he taught us, I used to want to bottle it up.

And following Harry, now is the exposure of what I got for the last 14, 20 years of my life.

AMANPOUR: And, Aloe Blacc, you are a young musician. There you were, you know, learning and also explaining to this veteran of the entertainment and

the street struggle. Worlds, the worlds of that. What did you think when you first met him? What did you think you were going to get out of this


ALOE BLACC, SINGER/SONGWRITER: Well, when I first met Harry Belafonte, I thought that it would be an interesting moment to just learn from an elder.

What I found was a friendship, and one where he saw me as a mutual friend. We both were able to speak to each other on the level and learn from one


And I'd say that, you know, in being with Harry and having Susanne Rostock's camera follow us and see those conversations, I think it's

extremely important for the world to see, and watching, "Following Harry," to recognize that as he aged, he continued to stay connected to youth,

continued to stay connected to activism and movement, and to instruct but also learn from us and instruct us to learn from the people who are

suffering the most, the most vulnerable, and understand how best we could use our voices, to empower them and make transformation, positive


AMANPOUR: Yes, and I really do think that two-way street is something that comes across so well, and it's so vital. It's not like you were being

lectured to -- it's not like you -- you know, you were also telling him, this veteran, what it was like now for your generations.

And I want to just refer back, Carmen, to something you were just talking about, the Gathering for Justice that he founded. So, we know that there's

over incarceration of black and brown young people in the United States, what some call, including in the program, the new Jim Crow.

So, it's led by the six principles that were outlined by Martin Luther King in a famous essay, "A Pilgrimage to Nonviolence." And I want to play a

little bit of Harry himself in the documentary talking about it.


BELAFONTE: The gathering came out of a deeper inquiry on my part about incarceration of young people and the injustice system.

I do a lot of work in the lockup with a lot of young people because I remember with tremendous clarity what it was like to try to work your way

out of a bad deal.


AMANPOUR: So, Carmen, you spoke a little bit about what -- you know, what came out of those gatherings. But I wonder what you think has been achieved

in the attempt to have more social justice in this regard. And also, what you were able to tell him and vice versa about the march that you were

responsible also for launching, which was the Women's March on the inauguration day of Donald Trump in 2017?

PEREZ-JORDAN: There were so many lessons in my conversations with Mr. Belafonte. One of them was part of the six principles of Kenya nonviolence.

And it was principle number three, attack the forces of evil, not people doing evil. And so, when we were organizing the women's march, the attack

was not against Trump, it was actually creating pathways and entry points for all women to feel that they were connected to a movement, to something

larger than themselves.

And so, Mr. Belafonte would sit with me and guide me through the lessons he learned, through the original March on Washington. And so, a lot of what we

were able to do with the 2017 women's march was really based on his guidance. He always said, meet people where they're at, champion them to

your cause. He said, you know, there's a lane for everybody to get involved in the movement.

And so, when we were thinking about preparing the agenda, we needed to bring in artists like Aloe Blacc, Alicia Keys, other women who were

demanding rights for women. And so, for me, it was this exchange, very similar to what Aloe is saying, we always had conversations.


He consistently gave me a historical analysis. You will see that in "Following Harry," where he talks about what happened with him and Dr.

King. And those historical analysis and the conversations he had not only with Dr. King, but Eleanor Roosevelt and Nelson Mandela have allowed people

like myself, Phillip Agnew, Sean Pica (ph), Ajad Monet (ph), others to continue the legacy of those that came before us. But also, not just their

legacy, but to continue the work of Harry Belafonte.

"Following Harry" is such an important film. It is exactly what we need in this moment. He discusses -- and even though it took place in the last 10

years, everything is relevant to the political climate that we are currently in. And so, there's a lot of gems that are being dropped. And

like I said, I sat with him for close to 20 years. I'm so grateful. But now, with "Following Harry," the information that he shared with me is now

going to be shared with the world.

AMANPOUR: And, Aloe, I want to ask you about a particular speech that Harry made back in 2013 when he was -- I believe he was being awarded at

the NAACP. And he didn't just say, thank you. He put everybody in the audience on notice. I'm just going to play an extract.


BELAFONTE: The question is, where is the raised voice of black America? Why are we mute? Where are our leaders, our legislators? Where is the



AMANPOUR: You know, really throwing the gauntlet down. I mean, he was not afraid to shine the spotlight and to, you know, turn the mirror on his own

community. What did you think, Aloe, when you heard about that speech?

BLACC: What I thought was, it was my turn to step -- stand up and step into the light and be part of the change. Harry was calling on all of us to

use our voices, our celebrity, our influence, our artistic expression. And so, what I've been doing since then, putting together an album in -- with

the support of an organization called "Stand Together," where all the songs are representative of and amplifying the work of people on the ground,

community workers who are improving their environments and the people that they serve. Organizations that are doing the hard work to better the lives

of the most vulnerable.

This is the way that we can show up as artists. And I -- you know, I look to all of my peers within the music industry, the film industry, and other

entertainment industries to use their voice, use your voice to speak truth to power. One of the things that Harry Belafonte always said was that

artists are the gatekeepers of truth, and it was a quote that he got from his hero, Paul Robeson.

AMANPOUR: And I want to ask you also, because he was cognizant that not all movements are kumbaya. There's a lot of struggle within and internal

disagreement within, certainly in the civil rights movement. And, Carmen, I think you know, clearly, because you were there, that there was a lot of

conflict within the women's movement after that march.

So, he often said in the film and throughout his career, you know, was it worth it? Did everything I do mean anything? What did we change? I want to

ask you that, Carmen, about what he said and what you think you can change.

PEREZ-JORDAN: I absolutely feel it was worth it. You know, I want Mr. Belafonte and everybody to know that, you know, what he did was pave the

way for so many of us. And one of the things that he had shared with me after, there was always conflict, there's conflict in every movement,

right? But he said, those who are working towards the liberation of our people are subject to friendship and support. Those who are being divisive

are playing the enemy's game.

And right now, in this moment, there's an opportunity for us to come together to stand up for women's rights, to stand up for young people that

are being impacted by houselessness, to stand up for individuals that are being impacted by poverty.

And when -- what Mr. Belafonte did really well is he gathered people, he brought people together, he was a bridge. And that's where I think there is

hope. In this film, you will see that. If you are looking for answers, if you are looking for a way to feel hopeful again, "Following Harry" is it.

It is a clarion call for equity. We all have a role to play in this movement, whether we're involved in the women's movement, whether we're

involved in the criminal legal system movement, there is a lane for us.

And Mr. Belafonte just didn't impact those of us that are part of this film. He gathered so many young people, and there are young people all over

this country, all over this world that are continuing his legacy.


AMANPOUR: And that is what I want to end with, because -- yes. Aloe, because we're in the midst of an election, young people historically don't

turn out in the numbers that they should. What do you think this time around?

BLACC: I think this time around, young people absolutely have to. The world depends on their action right now. And those of the people -- those

are the people who can make the change. We are the ones that are going to be in charge of the future. We've got to step up.

AMANPOUR: And we just heard that message from the great French -- a soccer legend, Kylian Mbappe, they're undergoing a very crucial parliamentary

election this weekend, and I think a lot of cultural leaders are trying to trying to send that message out.

So, I don't know how many seconds I've got left, but just, Carmen, two words on what Harry Belafonte meant to you.

PEREZ-JORDAN: Mr. Belafonte meant the world. He was my saving grace, and I'm really grateful for him and his mentorship throughout the years.

AMANPOUR: And quickly from you, Aloe.

BLACC: Dramatic transformation. Find one good thing. That's the quote that I got from Harry, via Bono, actually, in a conversation. One good thing.

AMANPOUR: Great. Well, you've communicated that and "Following Harry" does just that. Thank you both so much indeed for being with us.

Now, standing up for the marginalized comes, of course, in many shapes and sizes. The last few years have seen record waves of legislation targeting

the rights of transgender people. And next term, the Supreme Court will decide whether states can restrict gender-affirming care.

But award-winning journalist Imara Jones has made it her mission to fight the narrative that disempowers the trans community. And she joins Hari

Sreenivasan now to discuss her new documentary series, "American Problems, Trans Solutions."


HARI SREENIVASAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christiane, thanks. Imara Jones of TransLash Media, thanks so much for joining us.

You know, I kind of want to do a little bit of an update. You know, last year you joined us on the program. We talked a little bit about the

different types of legislation working their way through different states in America, or I should say the legislation is focused against LGBTQ

people. And I'm wondering, can you kind of update us on what the progress has been, what the landscape is across the country now?

IMARA JONES, FOUNDER, TRANSLASH MEDIA: Yes. And I think that the interesting part of this story is the way in which most of these laws are

targeted at trans people specifically. And while there are fewer than passed last year, that's for two main reasons, Hari. The first is that

roughly now, half the states in the United States have some sort of anti- trans legislation on the books, either sports or medical care or some other aspect.

So, that first wave of bills has been largely, sadly successful. And so, what's happening now is what? I've seen in my reporting on this over the

last five years is that there's some years that there's experimentation on new types of laws. And we're seeing that this year, such as a law in

Tennessee, which criminalizes parents or caretakers who wish to provide gender-affirming care for their teens outside of the state. They now can

face criminal liability from the state, or the fact that even in Missouri, for example, you know, chosen names and also preferred pronouns, even if

parents consent to that, schools are not allowed to recognize either of those. And if a school individual does, they can be prosecuted as a felon

and made to be put on the sex registry list and then lose their license.

So, I think what we're seeing is the laws being more insidious. And there's even another one in Florida that also allows for the transfer of custody in

cases where there is one parent who is trans affirming, the other one is not, it can be the basis to transfer custody of the kid to the parent who

is not trans supporting, and that even applies for people visiting outside of the state. So, the laws are getting more invasive in the most intimate

and sacred of relationships.

SREENIVASAN: So, Imara, according to the dashboard that you have on your website, I'm reading that 604 anti-LGBTQ bills were proposed in 2024, but

only 42 have passed. So, are we making a mountain out of a molehill, or should we be thinking about this differently?

JONES: I wish it was making a mountain out of a molehill. It would make this pride season so much easier and more festive. But I think that we have

to understand that the volume of the bills actually underscores where the momentum is. And usually what I have seen from my reporting on this is that

you'll have certain years where there seem to be less bills that are passing.


But what's actually happening is an experimentation about the types of bills that will become the models for the surge and subsequent years, the

surge and passage. The entire point is to acculturate us to these laws.

So, at first, people will be shocked at some of the things that I've said, but two or three years from now, if they keep hearing about it, it won't

seem to be as shocking. And therefore, increases the likelihood of passage. And I have heard and I have had state legislators tell me directly that

that is what they want. You know, they understand that sort of slowly turning up the temperature over time makes the frog in the analogy not jump

out of the water. And that's exactly what they're doing with these bills. And, you know, like I said, half the states now have them.

Additionally, a part of this acculturation and the passage is so that these issues will rise to the Supreme Court. Barbara Ehardt, who is the state

legislator from Idaho who introduced the first successful anti-trans sports bill, that's become the model for all of the others, said to me clearly

that she knew that this issue was going to go before the Supreme Court and that was her goal because there was a receptive -- in her view, receptive

court for these types of laws in this type of legislation.

SREENIVASAN: You know, Imara, when you talk to people that are drafting these types of legislation, what is their core concern or belief? Is it a -

- do they feel threatened by something? Is this a religious motivation? Why are these bills coming up?

JONES: They don't believe that trans people are real. And specifically, they don't believe that trans kids are a fact. And consequently, their

point of view is that there must be something unnatural and harmful that is making kids be trans and making adults be trans.

And so, for them, whatever that force is, and I've heard them describe it in various types of ways, some say it's the culture, some say that it's

schools, some say it's a part of an international conspiracy to undermine America, and they say that with the great -- you know, great knowing inside

of themselves. They then believe that these types of laws, no matter how harsh, no matter how disruptive are justified.

SREENIVASAN: You know, when you mentioned the Supreme Court, I mean, the very act of choosing to hear a case is in itself an inkling of where the

court is, right? I mean, you have to have at least five justices agreed to hear it. And there's an important case that is making its way or will make

its way to the next Supreme Court. Tell us a little bit about that.

JONES: Yes, it's a case in Tennessee, which argues that trans kids shouldn't have access to gender-affirming care. And gender-affirming care,

for most kids, basically means -- I mean, who are under the age of 16, it basically means access to therapy and therapist and the ability to be able

to be called by their preferred pronouns and their chosen names, right? That is affirming the gender.

But as these kids get older, there may be other types of things that a combination of their doctor, their therapist, and their parents all in

agreement say are the right way forward. And by the way, surgery is not one of them. That's just a trope. It's -- it doesn't -- it essentially doesn't


And so, this bill in Tennessee says that none of that can't happen, right? That you cannot provide gender-affirming care to kids. And Tennessee is a

place where a gender-affirming center at Vanderbilt was closed due to bomb threats and all types of other threats and protests, where in very -- in

eerie echoes to the abortion movement, what this case possibly could mean if the ruling goes against gender-affirming care, it means that the Supreme

Court likely is going to have to make a defining ruling between the difference between biological sex and gender and say that gender is not

protected under the constitution.

And that, in one fell swoop, could mean that trans protections at the federal level and possibly at the state level, could be ruled

unconstitutional. And so, any of the gains that trans people have made, minor gains that are already under assault, could be wiped away. And then,

there are larger implications for everyone in terms of gender-affirming care and all the rest of it.


SREENIVASAN: Can we talk a little bit about how the climate of legislation or pending legislation here in the United States is affecting things around

the world? I mean, we -- one of our most successful exports in America is culture, right? And how is this affecting what happens in Europe or in

Africa or anywhere else?

JONES: Yes, I think that one of the things that we have to understand is that one of the things that we are exporting is essentially legislative

transphobia in a can. And the reason why that is the case is because the organizations in the United States, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom,

are global in nature as well. They have chapters in the United Kingdom and in Hungary and elsewhere.

And one of the things that is emerging, for example, and I've heard people who are in the trans community in France, tell me that increasingly they

are seeing the exact same rhetoric and the exact same approach that's used in the United States now be picked up by far-right French politicians in a

way that did not exist two years ago, for example. And so much so that there was actually a nationwide protest in every single department in

France last month by trans people to underscore the -- their visibility and their essential need for rights.

The other thing that we need to understand is that in other places, such as Africa, a lot of the anti-LGBTQ legislation there is also supported by

religious institutions in the United States who are sending know-how and talking points and even cash to help generate support amongst legislators,

in Ghana, for example.

So, we have to understand that what is happening here is changing and toxifying the climate around the world. And it's something that I don't

think that we pay enough attention to.

SREENIVASAN: Is there a crossover or an overlap between where this becomes more successful and the type of regimes or governments that are in power?

JONES: I mean, we see that the most anti-trans governments around the world are usually on the right and the far-right. For example, when

Vladimir Putin makes speeches about Ukraine, he goes out of his way to a devote part of the talk of rallying the nation to talk about trans people

and to talk about gender. The same is true for President Xi in China, who also, you know, goes after what he says are girly men in China, and that

they are bringing down the Chinese state, and that people need to act in a more masculine way.

And we also have to say that the anti-trans push in the United States began legislatively and administratively during the Trump administration. And we

have a political party in the United States now, which is devotedly anti- trans. Every single major Republican candidate made being anti-trans one of the top four reasons and rationales for their presidency, and that's now

true for Donald Trump.

SREENIVASAN: I want to shift a little bit towards solutions. And I wonder, you know, look, if there is a kind of rubber stamp machine that can crank

out legislation, anti-LGBTQ legislation in a can, if you will, and export it overseas or go from state to state, is there any sort of a counter to

that? Are there states or municipalities that have codified protections for different groups that are also kind of sharing the Google doc, if you will,

and saying, hey, here's a way that you can -- here's something you can propose to your electorate?

JONES: That's right. I mean, there are states that are doing that. And it's a part of, you know, what you may think of as the usual suspects. So,

Maryland has declared itself as a sanctuary state for trans people. Minnesota has declared itself, through legislation, a sanctuary for trans

people. That is to say, you can come here and be treated equally, have access to healthcare, et cetera. The same also happened in San Francisco,

and there are pushes to do that in even more places.

And so, I think that we are seeing that pushback. But I think that it's also with a hint of sadness, because people deserve to live in places that

they call home and you shouldn't have to be turned into a political refugee in the United States because your local state legislature has decided that

you shouldn't have equal access to health care or equal rights or share in the public space like everyone else.

And so, while those are hopeful signs, we also have to understand the pain of people who -- literally, I have talked to parents who are staring up at

the ceiling at night, wondering if it's time for them to move their entire family to another state when they they've lived, for instance, in Texas for

five generations.


SREENIVASAN: Speaking of solutions, you're the creator of TransLash Media. And there is a new documentary that's going to be on public television

stations around the country this week. And it's called "American Problems, Trans Solutions." And you looked at a few different characters and kind of

the innovative solutions that they're bringing in their own communities. Tell us a little bit about the characters you spoke to.

JONES: Yes, they're amazing. I mean, they're a part of the hope that you were talking about. You know, they're the lights in this moment. There are

three powerful people Oluchi Omeoga, who is of Nigerian descent, immigrated to this country from Igboland, his entire family who's working on issues of



OLUCHI OMEOGA: When I look back on my life, I really want to say, we shifted how people see black trans people, how people see migrant folks.


JONES: We have Kayla Gore from Memphis, who has an entire innovative program to turn people who were homeless into homeowners by building and

then gifting tiny houses to trans people, immediately giving them an access to housing and economic opportunity.


KAYLA GORE, CO-FOUNDER, MY SISTAH'S HOUSE: Home for me means safety, security. It means stability. It means comfort.

Growing up, that wasn't even a question of I would have a place to, like, lay my head. Becoming an adult, I start to face realities of people not

liking how I present in the world. And that prevented me from having housing.


JONES: And lastly, Breonna McCree, who is in San Francisco, who, through The Transgender District there, has an incubator program for trans

entrepreneurs, where once you go through this program, you get $10,000 to start your business in a way to try to avoid the discrimination and the

need to do things like engage in sex work, if that's not something that you want to do, because you're able to innovate and have that funded and



JONES: There seemed to be some new buildings, like there's a new hotel, damn. And I was like, is there a gentrification creeping into this area?

BREONNA MCCREE, CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE TRANSGENDER DISTRICT: Gentrification is always creeping in San Francisco. But we are trying to

get city officials also to give our folks some of that money --

JONES: Right, right.

MCCREE: -- through grants so they can own storefronts also. Why not help the trans district support folks in that effort.


JONES: So, I think these are all really powerful examples. And what really drew me to them is that they're not only examples for the trans community,

but perhaps for the entire country, and in many ways, the world. I mean, finding ways to provide economic opportunity through entrepreneurship

grants and training, gifting houses, humane migration. I mean, those are all things that not only are needed by trans people, people in the United

States, but also people around the world.

SREENIVASAN: Draw that kind of connection, if you will, between the climate that we are seeing today and the work that these individuals are

spearheading right now.

JONES: I think that, for me, the connection is that when things fail for you and when society fundamentally is not allowing you to participate, it

allows you to see the things that are the impediments that aren't working. And then, if you have an entrepreneurial spirit, to find ways to try to

innovate around those.

And I find what's fascinating is that these are some of the most marginalized people in the country and all of their stories have extreme

moments of pain and disenfranchisement. And at the same time, they have decided to not only try to innovate around the experiences that they had,

but also to do so in a way that allows other people to not have to go through that and not only to survive and thrive.

And I just think that that's such a powerful and hopeful story about how we can transform darkness and pain into ways to uplift everyone.

SREENIVASAN: The documentary is called "American Problems, Trans Solutions." Imara Jones of TransLash Media, thanks so much for joining us.

JONES: Thank you so much. Great to see you.


AMANPOUR: And finally, tonight, as we've seen throughout the program, activism can take place wherever, whenever. For instance, along the often-

grimy banks of the River Thames here in London. Student ballerinas swayed an arabesque for our planet as part of the city's Climate Action Week.

These young dancers from the acclaimed Central School of Ballet moved together on the shores to inspire hope and urge people to take steps to

combat climate change. Now, the choreographer, Daniel Davidson, says it's been really interesting setting this work in a different environment and

seeing what that does to the work but also how it engages with the audience, passersby.


That's it for now. If you ever miss our show, you can find the latest episode shortly after it airs on our podcast. Remember, you can always

catch us online, on our website, and all-over social media.

Thank you for watching, and goodbye from London.