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Don Lemon Tonight

Guiliani Blocked Merger Of AT&T And Time Warner; White House Refuses To Apologize For Aide's Cruel McCain Joke; CNN Poll: 52 Percent Thinks Kanye West Made Slavery Comments For Publicity; America In Black And White; Childish Gambino's "This Is America" Viewed 80 Million Times; CNN Hero. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired May 11, 2018 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon, 11:00 p.m. here on the East Coast live with all the breaking news for you. Rudy Giuliani, at it again reportedly saying that President Trump blocked the proposed AT&T-Time Warner merger. Even though the Justice Department has insisted from day one that the President had no role in the lawsuit. That is according to the "Huffington Post."

So is this another foot in mouth moment for Giuliani? We got much more on that story in just a moment. Plus this, the White House refusing to apologize for a vicious so-called joke at the expense of a true American hero John McCain, who is battling brain cancer right now.

It's hard to imagine that anyone much less a White House aid would joke that John McCain, is her words, is dying anyway. That is exactly what Kelly Sadler said, anybody would just announce of decency would apologize, but not this White House.

Let's bring in Mark McKinnon now, executive producer of Show Time's "The Circus." He is also adviser to George W. Bush and John McCain, thank you for joining us this evening for our fireside chat --


LEMON: -- as we often do on Fridays. Good to see you.

MCKINNON: Yes, get the fire going. Thank you.

LEMON: Rudy, the merger, what do you think?

MCKINNON: Well, just as a core communications guy, worked with Presidents and candidates, it just drives you crazy, because you've got somebody out there completely freelancing. You've got a legal strategy on the merger, you got, you know you got a legal strategy on all the other issues facing the President, and the one thing that would drive me crazy that I see him doing, is -- it is all random. I mean, there's no coordinated strategy behind it. He just pick up the phone, calling press people. We called him from our show, in the middle of show and he just picked up the phone and started talking.

LEMON: Started talking. Here is the thing --

MCKINNON: It would be on the show yes, I am afraid he is accessible, but if you're the coms team you're just going crazy, because you have no idea what he is saying or whose he is saying it to.

LEMON: The president denied the merger. They did not get the result they wanted.

MCKINNON: Which is the last, I mean that is against the law, I mean you can't -- there's supposed to be a separation of powers.

LEMON: When you had it, this is declaration of Assistant Attorney General, Maykem Telerahim (ph), who says at no time did I receive orders, introductions, directions relating to the transactions or the decision to file the complaint from any of the following people or entities, President Donald Trump, the executive office of the President or any related representative of the staff. So if he says the administration, the Attorney General or any related representative of the staff, the Deputy Attorney General or any related representative of the staff. The Associate Attorney General or any related representative of the staff. Anyone else in the Department of Justice outside the anti-trust division.

MCKINNON: Well, reinforced the people's worst fears about the President, in which he doesn't understand the separation of powers and that he takes out personal vendettas against the people and companies that he doesn't like.

LEMON: OK, so, we were talking and we are trying to figure out how they're going to clean this up. And you said they would walk --

MCKINNON: I expect that while we are here, Rudy Guiliani would come out and say.

LEMON: Doesn't that make it hard?

MCKINNON: Sure, it does. But I anticipate what he'll say is I didn't mean the President, I am not the President's administration. I am to say administration, I mean department.

LEMON: But isn't that still illegal?

MACCALLUM: Well, the President's Department of Justice.

LEMON: That is illegal? The things that I didn't talk to anybody -- OK. All right.

MCKINNON: I think that is the only door that he can open.

LEMON: OK, so this joke -- the president refuse to apologize, I mean the administration, it is not the President.

MCKINNON: Kelly Sadler.

LEMON: Kelly Sadler, but I was thinking of Sarah Sanders is what I was saying, because it was asked about at the press briefing. She refuse to apologize or say anything about the administration apologize and Kelly. I understand that she did apologize to Meghan McCain and to her mother.

MCKINNON: Right. Well, I mean first of all it's beyond insensitive, inhumane and indefensible. What Kelly Sadler is really saying is John McCain doesn't matter, and nothing could be less true. I mean, even on John McCain's worst day, he cast an enormous shadow of influence over Washington D.C. And especially this week ironically, I mean the whole debate we were having with the CIA confirmation was about torture. And the reason we have changed our torture practices in the United States is because of John McCain. Now the interesting thing from the podium today, you know, when you get caught saying something and somebody says where did you hear that, you know what they are saying is they are not denying what has been said, but they are more concerned about who said it. And that is a kind of response from the pressure.

LEMON: Yes. I just want to play -- I think it's important. Let's play his daughter on "The View." Let us play this.


MEGHAN MCCAIN, SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN'S DAUGHTER: Don't feel bad for me or my family. We're really strong. There's so much more love and prayer and amazing energy being generated towards us than anything negative at all. The thing that surprises me most is, I was talk about this with you, Joy, that we -- I don't understand what kind of environment we are working in, when that would be acceptable and then you can come to work the next day and still have a job.


LEMON: Listen, I think John McCain realizes that he is a public servant, he is still a Senator. Criticized on policy, I'm sure he would say that is fair game. But for something personal like that and you heard the family. I'm sure, you know, they're used to be in the public spotlight and scrutinized for their politics.

[23:05:03] But to have Sarah Sanders say -- and you know, you're a communications expert. To have Sarah Sanders say that they're not going to discuss this, turning into something that is leaked, rather than just getting to the essence of this, I think -- is that a good strategy?

MCKINNON: It's really not, because the way to deal with it is to just take it head on and just admit what everybody knows, what has been reported out by numerous sources, I mean there are sources from inside the room who obviously were not happy about it. This is the administration people reporting it, because I think it was wrong. And just get out in front of something, especially like that, just say sure, it was wrong, it is absolutely wrong, we apologize for it and it won't happen again and by the way this person (inaudible).

LEMON: And that was you said, that you surprise that you have a job the next day, but do you interviewed Meghan, right. This is --


MCKINNON: I did, yes.

LEMON: Could you put this clip up for me?

MCKINNON: Yeah, sure. Well, we caught up with Meghan McCain. You know, I was on the campaign with her. It was just great to see her, because I haven't seen her in a long time. It is just amazing to see what an amazing, mature and feisty and funny independent woman. She just like her dad, I mean she is really a chip off the old block. But we talked about everything, about everything that is going on in Washington this week and what, you know, what the -- and the specter of John McCain that hangs over everything we do.

LEMON: Let's listen to her.


MCKINNON: Really the reason that we have reform and torture exercise in America is because of John McCain.

MCCAIN: When he was like speaking in town halls or during interviews he always says like, it's easy to think that life like -- take a guy and like shoot him in the knee and automatically get this information, and obviously he knows, I think better than anyone that ultimately people just break at a certain point.

MCKINNON: At a certain point. In this point you get that information, take it from me.

MCCAIN: Yes, and people lie and yes, break. Yes, he did, and I don't think it is American values to be OK with torture on any level of any kind. I know the counter argument. I still think he is the best expert anyone can find.


LEMON: So, you know, people have -- he is faced the worst circumstances and survived, right, and overcame the worst obstacles. I wouldn't count John McCain out.

MCKINNON: Oh, no. No, Lindsey Graham just said this week, he is doing pretty well. Listen, you know, he is the toughest guy I've ever met. And you know, my wife had a terminal cancer and said she is 15 percent survival category and she is still around. She said she felt sorry for the other 85 percent.

LEMON: Amen, brother. Do that again so they can see it. And that is what John McCain is.

MCKINNON: Yes. You know he is going to kick it hard.

LEMON: he is going to kick it hard.

MCKINNON: And carry on regardless. LEMON: Yes. We're thinking about you John McCain. The best to you,

and you know what, I apologize for those terrible indecent remarks. I am sorry for what Ms. Sadler said and the whole country is as well.

MCKINNON: Go get them, captain.

LEMON: Go get them captain. So you can see Mark McKinnon, "The Circus," it is Sunday night at 8:00 Eastern.

MCKINNON: One hour this week.

LEMON: One hours, because of all the craziness.

MCKINNON: Because there is so much happening.

LEMON: We get to see Giuliani, we get to see Avenatti, and we get to see Meghan McCain --

MCKINNON: John Brennen.

LEMON: Oh, my gosh. So what do Trump voters -- thank you, again, by the way. What do Trump voters think about all this, I want to bring in now the Dan Balz, he a chief correspondent covering national politics, the presidency in congress for "The Washington Post." How are you doing, sir?


LEMON: I'm great. So do you have -- you have an excellent piece. It's in the "The Washington Post." Your profile is Midwestern Trump voters looking at counties that went for Democrats for decades until Trump turned them red. Some voters are still holding with Trump. Others are growing weary I understand. One person described this feeling as motion sick. What did you find out?

BALZ: Well, I found out a couple of things. One, is that this is an area that is crucial to Trump's future or let me put it this way, the kind of voters who are in the areas that I was in are crucial to his future. And as you said some of the people who supported him, even if they had not supported him initially in the Republican nomination battle have warmed to him and are totally with him at this point. But there are a group of other people who are conflicted. And I put them into two categories.

There are the people who are conflicted, but who like the policies that he is trying to implement, and they are willing in a sense to kind of put aside some of the things that upset them, particularly about his conduct and his behavior.

There's another group of these conflicted voters for whom that behavior becomes almost overriding. And what I found -- I went in and out of the Midwest for 15 months. I started this in January of 2017, really not knowing what I was going to do with it all. But I wanted to go understand better what had happened in 2016. And my editor said don't feel the need to write anything immediately, and we just kind of kept going.

And what I found was when I went back and back and particularly this year there were a number of people that I had interviewed earlier who were much more open about their unease and the degree to which they have pulled back. And I would say that the grip that Trump has on them is much weaker today than it was when I first started talking to them.

[23:10:19] LEMON: And weary, mostly is it behavior or accomplishments or lack of or what?

BALZ: It's -- it's almost all --

LEMON: All of the above.

BALZ: The behavior, the disruption, the notion that this is a President who -- you know, look, nobody likes the tweets. Even the people who are, you know, pretty much all in, you know, there are very few of them who, you know, think his tweeting is good. But it goes beyond that. It's a sense of a presidency or a President who doesn't have control of his own impulses. And that is what concerns them. And they -- you know, this one person I talked to said, you know, I think we know how this kind of thing ends and it doesn't necessarily end well.

You know, he is not saying he will never vote for Trump again if Trump runs in 2020. But he said I'm pulling back a bit. A couple of other people that I talked to who I've gotten to know over the course of a year, you know, they're at a point where Trump has to prove to them that he deserves their vote the next time around.

And so that I think is the key for Trump as he thinks about the next, you know, the next couple of years. How does he reassure those kinds of voters that he is going to be the kind of steady President that they would like to see?

LEMON: Let me get -- Dan, let me get this in, because you also highlight a man, his name is Dan Snicker, he is from Iowa and he talks about many of the workers near him are experiencing downward mobility, that their jobs -- that they not -- the jobs are not as good as they used to be, that they're getting paid less. I mean, that is where Trump's America first message really, really resonated, right. So talk to me more about that.

BALZ: Well, there's no question about that. And that was one of the reasons I went out there. Don, I grew up in Northern Illinois. So, this is part of the country that I was somewhat familiar with. I mean, I haven't lived there obviously for a long time, but I wanted to go back to try to talk to people, the kinds of people that I had grown up with. And you know, I had seen in the part of the country that I had grown up, part of the Illinois that I'd grown up, the loss of manufacturing jobs, over the -- you know, a couple of decades period.

And Dan Snicker put his finger on that when I talked to him in February of 2017. He talked about people have jobs, but they're not the jobs they used to have. They've gone backward. The next day I was in a small town in Western Illinois, Morrison, Illinois. And I was with Congressman, Cheri Bustos, who is a Democrats, who represents that district, who won the district, but Trump won it.

And we were in a grocery store and she talked to a gentlemen who described what had happened to him over a course of a number of years. He had worked in a manufacturing plant for three decades, they closed the plant, he lost his job, and he was out of work for a while. He got another manufacturing job. He just found that place, as he put a whole, well he didn't want to -- he just found the conditions intolerable. He ended up working in a grocery store.

And he said I like it here, I like the people. It's a good job and I'm enjoying myself. And she said you must have been taking some pay cuts, and he said yeah $20,000 from one manufacturing plant to the second, and another $20,000 to this one. So that is what happened to people in that part of the country. And not just that part of the country but a lot of places. And that Trump message about jobs and trade and secure borders, resonated with people like that.

LEMON: Dan, great insight. Thank you, sir, appreciate it.

BALZ: Thank you. Appreciate it.

LEMON: Yes. When we come back, much more on the White House refusing to apologize for a vicious so-called joke at the expense of John McCain. I am going to ask a Democratic Congresswoman if she thinks somebody in the administration should be held accountable.


LEMON: White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, was asked today about the cruel joke by White House Aid, Kelly Sadler at the expense of Senator John McCain.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meghan McCain, his daughter wondered aloud today why Kerry Sadler still has a job here at the White House. Does she still have a job?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm not going to comment on an internal staff meeting.


LEMON: I want to bring in Congresswoman Karen Bass, a Democrats from California, Congresswoman, good evening to you.

REP. KAREN BASS (D), CALIFORNIA: Good evening to you, Don.

LEMON: Do you think Kelly Sadler needs to be held accountable for her comments or at the very least does the White House issue an apology?

BASS: Well, I think all of them. I think she needs to be held accountable, I think she need to make an apology, but I think the chief of staff as well as the President need to be held accountable. I think her comments need to be viewed in the context of the culture that we all know about this White House.

LEMON: We started this first week with the first lady, urging all of us to be best and it is ending with a White House staffer, a White House staffer dismissing to John McCain's opposition to John McCain's office and CIA director nominee, Gina Haspel, saying he is dying anyway.

BASS: She need to take that message to the Oval Office. That is where that needs to go.

LEMON: Go on, talk to me more about that.

BASS: Well, I mean, I think, you know, for her to have a press conference, for her to say that, you know, she is launching this program and this effort, and I think it's noble, I think its fine. But I do think that she needs to challenge the very culture that she is in within the White House. She also has a whole effort on cyber bullying and the number one cyberbully in the United States is her husband, the President of the United States. So I think that there's a lot of work that she could do on the home front that would help us all.

LEMON: Congresswoman, a former Vice President, Joe Biden, weighed in on those comments today, and he said that people have wondered when decency would hit rock bottom with this administration, it happened yesterday. Given the White House -- White House trail of disrespect toward John and others, this staffer is not the exception to the rule, she is the epitome of it. What do you make of this remark?

BASS: Well, I think his remark is right on point, but I really do think that the entire focus should not be on the staffer. That staffer is wrong, she should apologize. She probably should be fired. But having said that, we really have to look at the overall picture. I mean, look at what the Chief of Staff said this week about immigrants. He has a long history, of making just very inappropriate, insensitive and sometimes dishonest comments. I think it starts at the top.

[23:20:03] LEMON: At the top, though, the President criticized John McCain. Remember I prefer heroes that are not captured.

BASS: Yes.

LEMON: Repeatedly he ridiculed a long list of women, immigrants, a disabled reporter, so that is at the very top.

BASS: Well, absolutely and you know, I really do think her comments were sad. I mean, all of us, you know, understand that McCain is a hero, and we're all watching him suffer and go through this illness. And the idea that somebody would kick you when you're down like this is just completely unacceptable, but I do have to say it's inconsistent. It's what we've seen from day one. It was the way he launched his entire campaign, so none of us should be really surprised.

LEMON: I want to talk to you about this new CNN poll. I am glad I have you here, Congresswoman. It's about Kanye West. 52 percent of Americans think that Kanye West made his recent comments about slavery being a choice, because she was seeking publicity. I mean what's your reaction to that? Do you think it was a publicity stunt?

BASS: Well, I think it probably was. I also think, you know, he is a sad character that we know has had a lot of challenges. But, you know, the issue of slavery in the United States and you and I know this very well, you know, the United States really -- the people in our country really have very little understanding about how long slavery lasts, why slavery was here, what the conditions were, the contributions to the economy of the entire United States, the involvement of the north. So there's a whole lot that I think the people of the United States don't understand, and he frankly was just reflecting that ignorance.

LEMON: And even if it was a publicity stunt it's tone-deaf to say the least.

BASS: Tone-deaf, but we know Kanye West has a long history of that. And I think that, you know, he needs to pay attention to his health.

LEMON: Congresswoman Karen Bass, thank you. I appreciate it.

BASS: Thanks for having me on.

LEMON: When we come back the white Yale student, the white student at Yale who called the police on a sleeping black student has done it before. That is next.


LEMON: A second black grad student at Yale University has come forward saying that the white student who called the campus police this week on a black student who fell asleep while studying in a common room of the dorm, did it to him back in February. Reneson Jean-Louis, says he got lost inside the dorm while looking for his friend. Lolade Siyinbola, the same grad student who was forced to show her I.D. to police on Tuesday, and Reneson Jean-Louis, joins me now. Thank you so much. This was back in February you asked her for directions -- good evening, by the way --


LEMON: -- to the common room, right? What happened?

JEAN-LOUIS: She began to interrogate me on spot. She asked me if I was a Yale student, and I responded yes, I was and reaching for my I.D. she started screaming and saying basically if you're lost and you don't know where the common room is, you must be an intruder. You need to get out, you're making me uncomfortable. You need to leave. Confused I turned my back and went to the base of the staircase and she was on top of the 12th floor screaming at me still.

LEMON: What did -- so did police come? Did she call police on you?

JEAN-LOUIS: She ended up calling police on me. We found out when Lolade, the friend of mine came to the common room, which is on the 12th floor of the hall of graduate's studies, and when Lolade came back, she came back with police officers who had told here that were looking for a suspicious character, quote-unquote.

LEMON: Did she tell you why she felt threatened?

JEAN-LOUIS: No reason, absolutely.

LEMON: Why do you think she felt threatened?

JEAN-LOUIS: I think race was involved clearly. There's a policy in which you have to kind of just use your residence key to use the elevator within the graduate hall.

LEMON: So this is what I want to know, so to get into the hall, is there a security or a locked door, right?

JEAN-LOUIS: Yes, the doors are locked, I mean, there are security passes that you have to go through.

LEMON: OK, and then -- and even to get on the elevator.

JEAN-LOUIS: You would have to have a resident key. And this same woman, Sarah Brash, invited me onto the elevator, asked me which floor I was getting off of, and when we got to the 12th floor, she went down stairs. But at no point throughout our entire ride did I even communicate with her beyond the point that I was going to the 12th floor.

LEMON: So you and Lolade, released a joint complaint. And here is -- I just wanted a part of it said, calling the police on a black student, because he is lost and in nay part of HGS and Whiter Yale Campus is an act of violence. Just because a Yale student is lost does not make that individual an intruder. Sending four policemen to the common room in my residence, because a black Yale student is lost is an act of violence, because of the history of state sanctioned executions of faultless black men, women and children. She called it an act of violence. Do you see it that way?

JEAN-LOUIS: It is definitely an act of violence not just simply racial profiling, but it sends a message to many black students who experience these micro-aggressions all the time. What Sarah told me, you don't belong here.

LEMON: How does that make you feel?

JEAN-LOUIS: This is place I call home. I mean, I've come to Yale not just for the amazing resources but the support that I have were just so much faculty and so much blood graduate networks support that has coalesced around me -- Lolade and I, excuse me. And to see that this could happen at any given moment at Yale is problematic.

LEMON: But not only at Yale. I mean, we saw what happened in Philadelphia, we saw the woman on the golf course, we saw the woman in California for the Airbnb and on and on and on. JEAN-LOUIS: I mean, you made a point, Don. I mean, we know you can't

drive well black in America, (inaudible), you can't walk around at nighttime while black, (inaudible) Martin, and now you can't nap while black? That is my friend Lola. There's an issue that needs to be addressed and that needs to have not only just a conversation within the Yale community but a nationwide conversation. When is the black person allowed to just be --

LEMON: Thank you.

JEAN-LOUIS: I appreciate it.

LEMON: Thank you very much. Good luck. Keep us inform. When we come back, like I said, this is just one of many, many racial incidents making headlines lately, but none of this is new to people of color in America. We're going to talk about what's going on and why these stories are coming out now. That's next.


LEMON: A second Yale University student has alleged that the same white student officer admonished this week for reporting a black student asleep in the dorm common room, called police months ago to report his presence in the building.

As you heard earlier in this program, Reneson Jean-Louis went to the dorm to meet with Lolade Siyonbola, the graduate student who was reported just this week for sleeping in the common area.

I want to bring in now Tre Johnson, a writer for Rolling Stone, Kierna Mayo, the former editor-in-chief of Ebony Magazine, Shermichael Singleton, a Republican strategist. And CNN political commentator Mr. Marc Lamont Hill.

[23:35:00] Good evening to all of you.



MAYO: It is.


MAYO: Always down for that, always.


LEMON: Listen, we saw -- and sometimes you just have to laugh, right, to keep from --

MAYO: Of course.

LEMON: We saw what happened there at Yale with the female student. And now the male student is alleging a similar thing happened to him. Whether it's Starbucks, whether they're shopping, you know, at Nordstrom Rack after the prom, whether --

MAYO: Waffle House.

LEMON: Waffle House, barbecuing, all of it. Is it getting worse or is it just this tool, cellphone videos, that we're seeing it more?

MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's not getting any worse. I'm sorry, it's not getting any worse. It's the same thing every time. For years, being black has meant being subject to racial (ph) humiliation, degradation, lack of access to public space. The only difference between now and before is that we have surveillance.

It seems that white America didn't believe it when we told them. We have people that get kicked out of stores and followed around stores all the time. The only difference now is we have proof and so suddenly they have to come to terms with it.

LEMON: Go ahead, Kierna.

MAYO: And there's this reaction, just to piggyback off for what Marc is saying, there's almost a reaction from white America like how could this be? And meanwhile we are like this is what has been. So there's a dichotomy between black and white America in just receiving of the facts again.

LEMON: So we reported the incident in North Carolina, Shermichael, of this man being choked and we'll put it up, by an officer at a waffle house. And I think it is very disturbing, when I see it. It is being investigated.

Bernice King, who is a daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., tweeted out today to boycott Waffle house, it should be boycotted, and the whole chain for involving the black patrons there. Waffle House says it will reach out to King to address her concerns. But a boycott, is that the right response, Shermichael?

SHERMICHAEL SINGLETON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Look, I think that if you want to send an example to certain institutions that we are not going to be mistreated and we're spending our dollars at those institutions, then we should absolutely take our dollars and spend them elsewhere.

But what's so peculiar about this to me, Don, is that so often, black people are told, particularly young black men, pull up your pants, get a solid education, be respectful when you are in public. No, mam. Yes, mam.

You have two (ph) African-American students at Yale University. They were not given the benefit of the doubt. You have the three African- American women in California at the Airbnb. They were not given the benefit of the doubt. You have the African-American student, a young guy, 20 years old, taking his sister to the prom at the Waffle House. He was not given the benefit of the doubt.

And so while we love to say we're this great diverse society, I have to question, if we truly are that diverse, why do we see people who are of color mistreated unfairly? Don, we keep having the same conversations over and over and over again.

But until certain members of our society take the opportunity to truly understand the black experience which is desperate from their own experience, they will never understand what it's like to walk in our shoes.

LEMON: I want to get Tre into this conversation. Listen, all these things that you are saying, one is not necessarily -- I hate to say that you can't do one without the other, because I think that people should be prideful.


LEMON: Respectability, for me that's a whole -- I think people should -- this is all about self-pride for me.

MAYO: Yes.

LEMON: I'm very proud of myself, but I don't really care what someone else thinks about me of any race. I care what I think about me. So that doesn't mean that we can't better ourselves, right? That we can't come in dressed like Tre. What more do you have to do?

MAYO: But we have to --

LEMON: I want Tre. Go ahead, Tre.

TRE JOHNSON, WRITER, ROLLING STONE: I think that's the tough thing about these situations, right? You know, it think what continues to be a shock for people is that, they look at these situations and white American in particular want to apply logic to things to account for what is happening.

So they say like this doesn't make any sense, so clearly there must be a more rational answer to why this is happening. And I think that it doesn't flush with their reality. I think that's hard for them to grapple with.

LEMON: As we continue talking, let's put up this. This is an incident in North Carolina -- I'm sorry, this is a video of a 65-year-old black woman. This is in Georgia.


LEMON (voice over): Being pulled over from her car by a police officer in a traffic stop gone wrong here. The police officer has since resigned. The ride sharing app Lyft has issued a statement saying that she is a driver for them and that what happened to her occurs all too often to black Americans. It could have ended really much worse than this. And this reminds me of -- of so many we see, right?


MAYO: It's really, really, really hard to watch. It's an assault on our very humanity. And I guess my argument -- my push back would just be that I'm not sure that we necessarily need to have proximity in order to have the presumption of humanity.

There are many black people, there are many people of color who don't live in proximity to white people. But the presumption of their humanity is always there.

[23:40:01] We've just got to be given the benefit of the doubt that first, we are people. We have blood flowing through our bodies just like the rest of us.

LEMON: If you don't have to deal with it, though, it doesn't exist.

MAYO: That's not true for people of color in this country.

LEMON: I'm not saying it's right.

MAYO: It still exists.

LEMON: I'm not saying it's right, but --

LAMONT HILL: I think what -- that's what we're talking about. We're talking about -- we're talking about white -- we're talking about white privilege here. We are talking about the extraordinary privilege to not to have to know what's going on, to not have to care about what's going on.

MAYO: Convenient.

LAMONT HILL: It's very convenient. For example, I don't know of a black person in New York who hasn't had difficulty with a cab, a cab not stopping for you. Or when it starts to stop for you, they say where are you going. They start asking questions that aren't even --

LEMON: Where are you going? Up town --


LAMONT HILL: Exactly. Or the cab goes past you -- or the cab drives past you and picks up the white person who was there second. When that happens, I've had white people look at me and shrug, and say this is messed up, but they still get in the cab. And that's where the problem comes in. White people have to be accountable for what happens in this country.

And white supremacy is something that can only be ended by white people. Black people can't end white supremacy alone. White people have to be responsible and be willing to kill whiteness to be able to give back that thing, that gives them unearned unmerited privilege. And until they do that, we're not going to get anywhere.

LEMON: All right, stay with me. When we come back, I want to talk about childish Gambino and his stunning music video for "This is America," a video that has been viewed more than 80 million times. A lot to say about this one.

[23:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Actor Donald Glover's rap alter-ego goes by the name Childish Gambino. And in that artistic role, his new music video, "This is America," is a runaway hit. Released only this week. Already getting more than 80 million views on YouTube. "This is America" is a gritty and graphic portrayal of what it's like to be black in America. Tackling issues such as gun violence and race.

Tonight, CNN's Miguel Marquez talks about the music video with Los Angeles DJ Aaron Byrd. And a warning to you, our viewers, parts of the video may be hard to watch.


AARON BYRD, DJ, KCRW: I think in many ways this is just a reflection of our existence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): This is America.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This is all about gun violence in America. Black on black violence. What do you draw from this?

BYRD: I wouldn't say that it's quite specifically about gun violence in America. It's mostly about violence perpetrated on black Americans.

This frustration, this reflection, this existence that many of us have endured is exactly what birthed the Black Lives Matter movement.

This particular image, I instantaneously was brought back to South Carolina a couple years ago with Dylann Roof.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): This is America.

MARQUEZ (voice over): Dylann Roof, the white supremacist, a teenager who shot and killed nine people.

BYRD: Throughout the video, you see this dual reality. You see the unique stance that Donald Glover, Childish Gambino was in. And it's actually an owe to Jim Crow (ph) imagery. It's a form of dance and sort of chucking and jiving.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): Get down.

MARQUEZ (on camera): This has had tens of millions, about hundreds of millions of views across the internet. It has garnered headlines not only in this country but around the world. People don't watch music videos like this one anymore. Why this one?

BYRD: Well, clearly it's more than a music video. This is a visual masterpiece. Also the timing, whether it is living in the Trump presidency world, right off the heels of Kanye and his recent antics. It's so raw, so real.

MARQUEZ (on camera): This video also comes at a time where America is waking up to sort of a new level of realization of black and white culture, the double standard. Whether you were a black man in Philadelphia at a Starbucks or a former NFL'er in Atlanta or the kid in North Carolina who has taken his sister to the prom, was in the Waffle House after.

BYRD: None of this is new if you look like me or you look like Childish Gambino. What's new is the exposure of it. I think this video serves more as a mirror. I don't think it is necessarily about indifference is no longer a choice. This is literally just a reflection.


LEMON: Miguel Marquez, thank you very much. Back with me now, Tre, Kierna, Shermichael, and Marc. Tre, fantastic piece you wrote for The Rolling Stone. You saw that this was a nightmare that we can't afford to look away from. Why do you say that?

JOHNSON: I think for a couple reasons. I think Mr. Marquez touched on a lot of them. This idea that we've become so desensitized to the idea that black bodies are strewn across the country all the time every day.

Some of that goes very viral, some of that goes under the hush of night. And it's hard when you have to grapple with the pain that we are enduring every day in the country. And what the country wants instead is for us to dance and shut up.

LEMON: What's your take away? What's your takeaway, Shermichael?

SINGLETON: Look, Don, I think again it was a masterpiece. It reminds me a lot of the Black Arts Movement back in the '60s, and I sort of hope that this was like a sort of cultural revelation, if you will, that will encourage other artists to do the same.

LEMON: My favorite part actually is in the end when he's running, like he's running for his life, like he's trying to escape. There is a whole lot of it that I like. But this, for me, it's like you're trapped in a world.

You can see the sunlight, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you cannot get out of it. It's like you're running away from slavery. And then also the dancing, the caricature of Jim Crow stood out to me as well.

LAMONT HILL: Yes. The visual throwbacks to Jim Crow to some of the icon -- iconography of the Jim Crow era was powerful.

[23:50:06] It shows just how sophisticated and highly literate Donald Glover is. I think that the idea of running and still being enslaved and you see the image of the church, you have the image of -- the entertainment industry and dancing and distraction is powerful.

He's making a powerful visual statement. And I don't think it's improper to call Childish Gambino or Donald Glover a genius. But I think it's also important for us to never reduce genius to just black men because at the same time this is happening, Janelle Monae is releasing also a powerful visual that also is a form of black genius. We have to talk Janelle Monae at the same time that we talk Childish Gambino and see that at this moment, there are really powerful visual representations of transgressing sexuality, gender, race and empire.

LEMON: Yes. The shootings, Kierna, and the video is almost too familiar. You see the children --

MAYO: Yes.

LEMON: -- in the church which brings us back to as we said brings us back us to Charleston. I mean, the different ways that he tackles gun violence.

MAYO: The metaphor high art. It is such a display again of true genius. I love that he had given us so many breadcrumbs to kind of sit and parse apart (ph) yourself, with your crew here on the set. I think this goes on and on and on. It just speaks to the complexity and nuance and layered experience of just being black in America today.

LEMON: We talked about genius, right? And was saying Kanye is a musical genius.

MAYO: Yes.

LEMON: But this is -- Kanye, the new CNN poll, only 23 percent of people have a favorable opinion of him and among people who heard these comments about politics and slavery, 56 percent of Republicans believed him compared to 30 percent of Democrats. But basically low overall, 23 percent. They are not buying Kanye.

MAYO: Yeah. But check it out. I think a genius is no longer enough. Black genius is no longer -- it's how you live your life. So I think the difference between Glover today and Kanye today explains the difference to the poll numbers.

LEMON: What do you think?

JOHNSON: I think a couple things. I agree that the idea that like genius, it's been hard in this day and age to kind of bottle up genius --

MAYO: Yeah.

JOHNSON: -- in the abstract. We have a social media kind of culture where people are living their entire life out across the spectrum. Kanye made the choice to be something bigger than just musician and he is paying the price for that. I think I'm much more driven by what Gambino and Monae are doing. I think they are moving the culture forward and showing just the nuance inside of the black experience.

I am trying to like part it and press (ph) upon people that blacks are not a monolith and I think the tapestry that we are creating in pop culture nowadays is proof point around that. And I think at the same time, it is presenting the exact reason why we have the tensions that we have in terms of mainstream acceptance and rejection of the different type of art we're putting out there more and more.

LEMON: Very well said. Thank you, panel.

MAYO: Thank you.

LEMON: I enjoyed that. This Sunday, make sure you you tune in to CNN. W. Kamau Bell travels to South Carolina to meet a group of survivors, the gula (ph). Step into the past in the next "United Shades of America" and see the birthplace of African-American culture, Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This art is considered one of the oldest arts for African-Americans. And one way you can always visualize traditional pieces or patterns that are older, will be based on simplicity. During the time of enslavement, there was no need for -- for beautiful pieces. This is a waste of time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because at that time of enslavement, it was based on agriculture.

W.KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST: You need to get it done.


BELL: It's like you're making tools.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct, correct.

BELL: You're not making art.


BELL: You've done something that I try to remind myself to do. You specifically saying enslaved --


BELL: -- not slaves. I try to remind myself that, you know, a person is not a slave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Correct. It's out of respect.

BELL: So, you can't teach me how to do this, can you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Colleen (ph), go ahead. Get him.

BELL: I'm ready to be gotten.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: See, you're a come here, we've a been here. BELL: Oh, you're a come here, we've a been here.


BELL: So I'm like a dark-skinned white man?





LEMON: When this week's CNN hero saw children begging in the streets of Vietnam, he went from tourist to altruist. He left his home in New York and now works year-round in Vietnam to give young people the skills to rise out of poverty. He takes no salary, refuses to retire, and has given nearly 250 Vietnamese youth a free foundation to succeed. Meet Neal Bermas.


NEAL BERMAS, CNN HERO: The young people in our program come from the whole country. All kinds of very, very difficult past. We have kids with HIV background, kids from leprosy villages, sometimes trafficked, sometimes more than once.

You'll do great.


BERMAS: Within a couple years, no matter how difficult and how painful and how tortured their life may have been, with 100 percent assurance, I know that young person is going to be starting a career with all kinds of possibilities.


[24:00:03] LEMON: To see how Neal's program disrupts the cycle of poverty for hundreds of Vietnamese youth and to nominate someone you think should be a CNN hero, go to