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CNN Live Event/Special

Post-Juneteenth Celebration at the Hollywood Bowl. Aired 11p- 12a ET

Aired June 19, 2022 - 23:00   ET





DON LEMON, CNN HOST OF DON LEMON TONIGHT: It's been wow, wow, wow. We just experienced one of the most entertaining and meaningful live events, certainly that I have seen, you can see looking at people dancing there. That's the Hollywood Bowl. We're live here in Hollywood. So much great music including that show-stopping closing number. So many talented black artists and really many powerful messages of freedom. We're back with Juneteenth on CNN and I'm Don Lemon, a lot to talk about after that extraordinary concert celebrating Juneteenth and everything it took to make it an official Federal holiday. The person you hear talking, you may see her dancing later. I got the video.

I got the receipt. Michelle Turner is here, CNN Contributor and host of "Entertainment Tonight". Also CNN's Sara Sidner joins us from the Hollywood Bowl as well. Sara, fascinating, look I'm going to get to Michelle. She's dancing the whole time on the set, distracting. I couldn't even watch. Were you dancing in the crowd?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How could you not move your body? You know, even if you didn't have rhythm and I don't think anybody in the crowd didn't have rhythm but even if you didn't, your body literally just moved. It's like, you couldn't not do it. It was powerful. It was powerful. The poem from Jill Scott, like, hit me like a lightening bolt. It was incredible. There was -- there was a beautiful saying, you are somebody's ancestor act accordingly from another poet. Some of the things that I'm going to leave with and I think the audience is going to leave with are going to stay with them, but the music, first of all let me tell you who brought down the house because as we mentioned Michelle, Bell Biv DeVoe looks like they did when we were younger. I had to say younger, when we were younger. They were -- it was like I have transformed back to my 20s' and early teens. Like, I was so into it. Everyone was up. Everybody was dancing. Ne-Yo burned it down. It was amazing, and Earth, Wind and Fire hasn't lost it at all not a smidge (ph), not nothing. They were fantastic.

LEMON: Hey Sara, we've got Bell Biv DeVoe a little bit later. We're going to be talking to them live. We also have Neo and -- and look, I just want our audience at home to see this, because this is Bell Biv DeVoe right here.


LEMON: Look at that.

TURNER: First of all, anyone that knows me, knows I'm a NE for lifer. I'm a New Edition for lifer. I'm a Bell Biv DeVoe stand. So if you know me, you know there's no way that I couldn't be out here on this set dancing to "Poison". Come on. Come on.


TURNER: Isn't that how we're supposed to feel when we're watching this concert?

LEMON: It was great. I was great to experience. That, and you're right, the -- you're somebody's ancestor. You are some ancestor.

TURNER: Act accordingly Michelle. Exactly. Let me get myself together. I am on CNN right now.

LEMON: Yes. And we -- I mean Neo, we were talking about Sara and you can join us in this conversation as well. We're talking about how talented everyone is. Like Neo, I just kept, you know, that was my jam.

TURNER: Well excuse me, talk about somebody getting up and dancing, I wish I had my trigger finger on the video button because this one right here was dancing during Ne-Yo's set, dancing during Earth, Wind and Fire, for sure.

LEMON: Singing, not singing.

TURNER: No you weren't singing. You were -- I don't know what you were doing. But Sara, but I think it was that feeling.

SIDNER: Some of this though Michelle, right? Yes. Yes. And I think part of this is that this is actually both an extremely joyful time and there's -- there is this need to show the world "black joy". There is a need to show that black folks love to have a good time, but they also know how serious this moment was in history for their ancestors, for you know, African-American slaves who had no idea for two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. After other slaves were set free, some of these slaves in Texas didn't know, they were unaware and when that news came, can you imagine that moment. That moment of both exhilaration and fear. Right? Because the life that you knew, you no longer had to lead, you were literally set free from bondage, and so you saw that in some of the acts. Debbie Allen always brings it, because she brings a very different genre to the stage. Beautiful, beautiful dancers --

LEMON: Debbie Allen's going to be here in a few minutes as well.

SIDNER: Debbie Allen, I mean, are ya'll going to let me talk to anybody or is this just going to be me, I know, just yapping out here. LEMON: The answer is no, but listen I want you guys to react to this.


LEMON: Listen, I want -- how music brings everyone together. This took me back to my childhood. Ya'll weren't even born yet, but this is Earth, Wind and Fire --


LEMON: -- "Let's Groove". Watch this.


LEMON: Look at them. Look at them.

TURNER: I mean, it's the best.

LEMON: I was like, look at the old folks getting down.

TURNER: You talk about how music, like, moves you and as a people, just to get real -- kind of take it home for a second as a people. You know, music during the slave days is something that, kind of, kept the -- kept up the slaves spirits up.

LEMON: Right.

TURNER: The call and response. The calling out to one, hearing a response from somebody else that's picking cotton, or doing, you know, doing other, you know, slave menial work. So music has always been a part of who we are, part of our culture. A part of pride for black folks in a lot of ways, because it's all we had in so many of those times.

LEMON: Right.

TURNER: It's all we had. The call and response, that's all we had.

LEMON: When you think about the way, and there's a little mosquito or something biting me. If you think about it ended, I mean, it ended with, you know, doing the church and gospel and the (inaudible) said we have to -- we're going to take you to church. It is Sunday and you think about the influence of the black church on our --

TURNER: On everything.

LEMON: -- I was going to say our spirit, our freedom, everything, but being -- I -- I said -- said to Michelle, Sara, I said the Hollywood Bowl. Listen, it's amazing on television, in order to really appreciate it you have to be there.

TURNER: Yes, very much so.

LEMON: What was it like in - being in the crowd there?

SIDNER: Absolutely. It was filled with joy and anticipation, but there was also this sense of community, like I haven't felt and a lot of us haven't felt, whether you are black, white, Asian, whatever you are, wherever you come from. A lot of miss community because of what happened with COVID, because of the separation that we all had to go through, and this was community. People were hugging each other, black folks, white folks, people from all over. Latino folks, they're all here together. They were dancing with one another. At one point the comedian says, if you love black people stand up. If you're for black people, stand up, and white folks were just yes. They were the first people standing up.

So like what you were seeing in there -- what you were seeing in there was a -- a moment of togetherness that we so desperately need in this country. It was that moment of togetherness that we have all missed so desperately to say, it's OK. We can be joyous together. We can talk about hard things, but we can do it in a way where we can share with one another without screaming at each other. Without telling each other, you know, what they should do and what they should think. It was a beautiful coming together of a lot of people from a lot of different backgrounds. It was truly awesome.

LEMON: Let's talk about some real serious stuff right now. How do I get Bell Biv DeVoe track suit?


TURNER: First of all, you know, Paw Paw. You probably have some of those balloon tracks in (inaudible).

LEMON: Bell Biv DeVoe tracksuit.

SIDNER: I feel like you have one Michelle. I feel like you have one in your closet.

TURNER: I do have a t-shirt that says Ronnie, Bobbie, Ricky, Mike, Ralph and Johnny and I wear it proudly.

LEMON: Look right here. Over here, look over your shoulder. No. No. Right here. Right here.

TURNER: Oh, come on. Come on. Come on.

LEMON: Look over your shoulder.

TURNER: Who is it? Who is it? Who is it?


TURNER: Come on guys. Hi. We didn't know you were right there.

LEMON: We're going to talk to them in the next block. You all are not on mic, but we want -- we're going to have to talk about how to get a tracksuit.

BELL BIV DEVOE: OK. But you're not on mic. Bring the tracksuit before we get out of here. (CROSSTALK)

LEMON: I mean, you were sit dancing, look at her. She was chair dancing.

TURNER: They know that I know their names. I go way back with these fellas. So I can't wait until we have them on stage to hear what it was like for them to be in that arena as well, because we heard their music that got us off our feet. We also heard a lot of message music tonight, Don. We heard Mickey Guyton singing "What's Going On". We heard Lucky Day singing Donnie Hathaway.

LEMON: Can we talk about Lucky Day really quick though?

TURNER: We can, yes, you know I love them.

LEMON: I was going to say, anyone who gets on stage and they -- and they're going to do, what's his name, I'm having a senior moment.

TURNER: Donnie Hathaway.

LEMON: Donnie Hathaway and I don't -- I'm the one who told you. See, you know, I'm getting old. Anyone who can do Donnie Hathaway, no one can do that song like Donnie Hathaway, but I -- I think Lucky Day gave Donnie Hathaway a run for his money. It was such a beautiful tribute.

TURNER: He's such a young kid, you know, just really making his mark in Hollywood and he -- you can tell by the way he sings, he's got an old soul. Right? He's got a really old soul, but he's so talented and I loved seeing these young artists pay homage to the ones who came before them, to the ones who started this music revolution for so many black artists and we saw that tonight.

LEMON: "Song for You", Lucky Day, listen.



LEMON: I mean, what do you -- how do you --

TURNER: He's New Orleans boy, man, come on, he's got that soul.

LEMON: Hello, well Louisiana, not New Orleans. Yes.

TURNER: That you should connect, absolutely. I mean, it really was, I thought one of the highlights of the night for me because he just sang with such conviction.


TURNER: And you knew that he loved that song and he wanted to do Donnie Hathaway proud and I think he did do Donnie Hathaway proud.

LEMON: He certainly did. Another voice we said, if you don't, Anthony Hamilton, if this voice doesn't move you, you are not a human. TURNER: Stay away from me. (Inaudible) move you.

LEMON: Sara, we will let you interview some people, but we have some people to interview on the other side of this break. So we'll let you get to it.


LEMON: To find some folks, still ahead, we're going to talk to some of the stars of tonight's show, the members -- look at her.

SIDNER: Poison.

LEMON: Memories of Bell Biv DeVoe, Ne-Yo's going to be here. Debbie Allen's going to be here. I hope -- you're going to have to hold me back when it comes to Debbie Allen. I love her. Juneteenth on CNN continues right after this.


LEMON: We're back now at Juneteenth on CNN. We talked so much about Bell Biv DeVoe. Why don't we listen to them performing tonight, a little bit earlier. "Poison".



LEMON: Bell Biv DeVoe, here right now. Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe.


TURNER: Yes. Yes. Yes.

LEMON: So you know you have your biggest fan here.


TURNER: They know.

BELL BIV DEVOE: She stops us. We see her everywhere.

LEMON: Let's talk about what it's like to be up on that stage celebrating, first, we're joking around but celebrating Juneteenth in, what, 157 years in the making.

BELL BIV DEVOE: It's a -- it's a -- it's an honor, I mean, to be asked to come and support and perform such a historical moment for us, and our time is supporting our people and our freedom, man. It -- it was just surreal man. The audience -- the energy was just amazing.


TURNER: You guys have been together for 40 years as a group. Now, yes. BELL BIV DEVOE: Yes.

TURNER: So, I mean, you know what longevity is. You know what brotherhood is. You know all of that, but this really is -- this was like the inaugural event. So knowing that you're known as, like, the party starters supreme. Right? You know, how did it feel to be invited to, you know, -- know that you were going to get the crowd going, know that you were the ones to get the crowd up off their feet and really getting humping?

BELL BIV DEVOE: Well we was in the dressing room watching the whole show, and we thought like the funk was a little laid back and we said, we know what, it's one of those nights, but then when we went and got our microphone and, you know, (inaudible) and we say, you know what? Turn up time. So from the moment we walked off from the side of the stage Michelle to get to the middle of the stage, we knew what we had to do. We had to come lift the audience. We're celebrating two things today, Juneteenth and we're also celebrating Daddy, Father's Day.

TURNER: Absolutely, and Happy Father's Day.

LEMON: That's what I was going to ask you, black fathers, about on Juneteenth. I mean, it's -- it's special there. This is an intersection.

BELL BIV DEVOE: Yes it is. It is. It is. Man, I have two young boys that were at home, actually at the hotel watching us on television and soon as we got off stage, they hit me on Facetime. Like, Daddy, you performed my favorite song. Right?

TURNER: Oh, so the kids love it too.

BELL BIV DEVOE: Yes. They -- they know it. They love it. They follow us. They move with us and to be able to be in the industry that will chew you up and spit you out, right, for almost 40 years next year is New Edition. For 32 years, it's Bell Biv DeVoe and be able to pass those gems onto our seeds. Right? That's how you live forever, through our children and it's such an amazing thing.

LEMON: What do you guys want people to get out of this through the world? Because this is worldwide, I mean, this is not just about -- it's about black folks, but it's also about American history. This is a history making moment. What did you want people to get out of it?

BELL BIV DEVOE: Well, music makes people feel good.

TURNER: And brings people together.

BELL BIV DEVOE: Like when you listen to lyrics or when people have a certain feeling, because you got to remember, some fathers are here and some fathers are upstairs in heaven. So to put this show together, Juneteenth, Father's Day, it was meant to have a -- a double hit. We're just happy that we got the call because Ron's sons were at the hotel watching him, but mine were in the audience. I've got four girls and they're in the green room. So my girls are getting the CNN experience today. So that's what it means.

LEMON: What was that like though, talk to me about that?

BELL BIV DEVOE: It -- it was like I was onstage and I'm saying yo Savanna, yo Shila, yo Skylar, yo Synia (ph), to my wife and to my mom. I feel like, when you could be in the moment and know why you're doing it and recognize your family and you can make people feel good that are your fans and your peers, the Ne-Yos and the different people that was on the show. That's what it's like when you get the call. Your job is to entertain the global and let people understand how strong we are as brothers and how strong we are as black men.

TURNER: Now did you know that you were this close to being Leslie Jones husband? I'm what --


TURNER: Because that's what she said.

BELL BIV DEVOE: We'd -- we'd had some real cute babies.


BELL BIV DEVOE: She said, oh Ronnie, you was my favorite. You didn't understand. I said, look, my wife is in the audience so you might want to back up a little bit.

LEMON: I say, but she was poison.

TURNER: Yes. That's what she said.

BELL BIV DEVOE: People have been lovin' and embracing us for so long, man. Those New Edition for lifers and the people out there rocking with Bell Biv DeVoe for like many, many, many, decades. Right? They've been propping us up and pouring love into us for a long time. So we appreciate it.

TURNER: And we're going to continue to do that, you all are going to continue making music. You just finished a tour. You're about ready to start --

BELL BIV DEVOE: I was just ready to say something to you. A shout out to Johnny Gill.

TURNER: Yes indeed.

BELL BIV DEVOE: Shout out to Bobbie Brown.

TURNER: Yes he did.

BELL BIV DEVOE: Shout out to (Inaudible).


BELL BIV DEVOE: Shout out to Brooke Payne, and our road manager got sick. He caught COVID. Shout out to Mr. Jeff (inaudible). TURNER: Yes.

LEMON: Did you guys ever think that you would be at this moment --


LEMON: -- like Michelle says, 40 years, that you would be --

TURNER: Still relevant, still here, still getting the crowd going.

BELL BIV DEVOE: When we recorded "Poison" we were just -- we -- we fell in love with the song so much, we knew that it would be a hit but 30 something years later, it's like we couldn't have planned for that. And sometimes, we like, like Mike side, we're in the dressing room and we're watching the audience, we're like, are they going to get up for us? It's like -- it's like we're going to be -- they're going to be sitting -- yes we were actually concerned.

TURNER: Don showed the whole world me dancing to the music.

LEMON: Oh wait, did you guys see the video?


TURNER: I think they looked down the audience a time or 10 and saw me in the audience doing --



LEMON: You guys are all in the background.


LEMON: You know what I want to know? How do we get one of these tracksuits? That's what I've been asking the entire time.

TURNER: Get this man a tracksuit.

BELL BIV DEVOE: You look like the green. We got red.


BELL BIV DEVOE: Now hold on now, "D Slim Trim" what do you think -- what color be fly on "D"? What you want? Tell us what you want?

TURNER: Let me see. We got the red. We got the Umpteenth (inaudible)


BELL BIV DEVOE: A lemon yellow. There you go.


TURNER: There it is.

LEMON: You all can leave one of those chains too. It's nice. I'm good.

TURNER: They have given the best advice to people over the years. I've heard people say to me they've never gotten better advice. They never trust a big button smile. So --

BELL BIV DEVOE: And it remains true today. Thank you so much for having us.

LEMON: Thank you and congratulations and we thank you for helping the world celebrate and to mark Juneteenth.

BELL BIV DEVOE: A shout out to Boston where we from, New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Miami, everywhere and across the water. We are Bell Biv DeVoe.


BELL BIV DEVOE: We'll see you all in Vegas in November.

TURNER: Yes. Cannot for that residency.

BELL BIV DEVOE: What up (inaudible).

LEMON: We'll be back with more Juneteenth on CNN. Debbie Allen is here. Ne-Yo here as well, we're not done yet. We've got a lot more ahead.



LEMON: One hit after another and the closing of Juneteenth Concert tonight at the Hollywood Bowl. I want you to check out this clip. This is Ne-Yo performing "Give Me Everything". This is when I started dancing.



LEMON: It's always amazing for people, see themselves performing. Ne-Yo is here. Ne-Yo, thank you. Good to see you.

TURNER: He would see how the audience was reacting to you.

NE-YO: I mean, I could see the people that I could see but I -- I didn't see that young lady. I would've. I wish I would have, she would have hyped me up even more.

LEMON: You know what I have to say before we get into it, what a pro you are. You dropped -- your battery pack fell off.

NE-YO: Yes. Man. LEMON: You picked it up, plugged it in, turned it back on and you're

like, all right we got it and you just kept going.

TURNER: Kept going.

NE-YO: Well it happens, you know what I'm saying. Once you up there, it's -- it's -- it's fight or flight, you know what I mean, and I'm a fighter so we keep it going.

LEMON: What was it like celebrating Global Juneteenth.

NE-YO: Ah, man. It was amazing. As a black man, it was amazing. As a black father, it was amazing because it falls on Father's Day, having Father's Day, all the father's out there. Had (inaudible) father's out there. I had a ball, man, I had a ball. I'm looking forward to doing it next year, and the year after that, and year after that. This is an official celebration for my family now, period, point- blank.

TURNER: I love that, and we were talking about, you know, we do need to start some traditions. This is the first time, like, publicly and globally we have celebrated Juneteenth. So I think we should start some traditions, in our families, with the concerts, all of these good things. You know, Don and I were also talking because we love listening to all the performers, and when you came on you were singing. We were like, oh, his voice is on point tonight. It was like, oh, you just sounded so fantastic.

NE-YO: Thank you. I appreciate that.

TURNER: When you see people, like, what -- what did you take away from tonight?

LEMON: To sing and dance, I mean, right? Before -- (inaudible).

NE-YO: I was just going to say, you know what? It -- it was -- from -- from a cultural standpoint, it just -- it just felt amazing. It felt amazing to celebrate us, to celebrate, you know, our freedom, our actual freedom. It just felt great. It felt great. I -- I had an amazing time and I hope everybody else did to. It felt like they did. It felt like everybody --

LEMON: Really -- so -- so when is see you and I'm sure you'll appreciate this. I see Sammy Davis Jr. I see Michael Jackson. I see Usher. I see so many people that, right? That -- right, this is you -- people who came before you.

NE-YO: Yes. Yes. Yes. Those who paved the way. Shout out to the incomparable. Everybody that you just named. Two of which are part of my five kings. So -- so Prince, Michael Jackson, Sammy Davis Jr., Stevie Wonder, and Marvin Gaye.

TURNER: Absolutely.

NE-YO: These are the five men that if I could meld them together to create one artist, that's who Ne-Yo has always aspired. LEMON: Our Sara Sidner was there at the Hollywood Bowl in the

audience watching Ne-Yo. Sara, I mean. Right? Amazing.

NE-YO: Hi Sara.

SIDNER: I was like that lady. I was like -- everyone started dancing. I had -- I had a -- I had a white gentleman to my right. I had a child who was about 10 years old, I think, to my left. I had an auntie behind me. I'm an auntie. Yes, I'm -- I'm in that genre. I -- I have -- one of my, you know, a black man behind me. We were-- we were mesmerized by you. Like -- like mesmerized, when you started coming towards -- I was just like, ahhh, I lost my mind like a teenager. But I do want to ask you something. How do you -- how do you sing and dance -- I swear you never take a breath. I'd be -- I'm exhausted just dancing to your music. How do you do all those things and your still carrying, like, the most --


SIDNER: -- perfect tone? You're able to do the two things together, seamlessly. How in the world do you do that? Do you train for that?

NE-YO: You definitely have to train for that. It's -- it's running on a treadmill and singing at the same time. That definitely helps.

LEMON: You -- you do that?

NE-YO: Oh yes.

LEMON: That's a very important question Sara, because you -- was -- was that returned when you dropped your thing. Because you -- when you dropped the mic pack. Could you hear -- you could hear yourself any longer?

NE-YO: No, I couldn't hear anything at that point.

LEMON: That's what it's -- she's -- yes. So yes, to your question.

NE-YO: That's -- that's why when you was like, oh, you sounded good. I was like, oh, thank you, because I was flying blind for about 20 seconds there where I couldn't hear anything at all. But that -- but yes, the running on the treadmill and singing at the same time, all these things help just control that, when you're moving. So you're voice doesn't bounce when you do.

TURNER: Right.

NE-YO: You know what I mean? Yes. It helps. It definitely helps.

SIDNER: OK. I've got one more quick question. That -- this is for Michelle Turner and I. This is for the two of us. I'm asking for you Michelle and you're welcome. Do you need a couple of back-up singers or dancers, because we will -- we can do them both?

TURNER: We can be there for you.

NE-YO: I was just having that conversation with someone -- are ya'll -- are ya'll auditioning? Is that what ya'll --


LEMON: Don't discriminate. It's "Pride Month". I can be a back-up dancer too as well.

SIDNER: We saw you dance. No you can't.


NE-YO: I was ready.

LEMON: I was trying to, you know.

TURNER: Listen, we're ready to go on the road. Sara and I, we're ready to go on the road. You know what I'm saying?

NE-YO: Don't call me. I'll call you.

TURNER: Oh, see.

LEMON: We talked about this being -- this being Father's Day as well. How do you -- do you talk to your kids? Do you explain to them about Juneteenth? What do you say?

NE-YO: My -- so my oldest is 12, and then right behind her is her brother, he's 10. So I have explained it to them, and they -- they get it. You know, my five year old, my four year old and my one year old, they don't care yet. You know. Not yet, but they -- they will. I will make them care. I will make sure that they know how important this is to us as black people and I'll -- I'll make sure that they -- they are there for the celebration every single time.

TURNER: We've been talking a lot about how, you know, music (inaudible) black music is rooted in so much. Right? I call it the trunk of all of, kind of, the branches of the music tree, and also just about how, like, black music from slave days was so important to our people. Do you ever think about that when you're making this music, like, that you are effecting, you know, a generation?

NE-YO: I mean, when you -- when you think about it like that, it's like OK. So -- so now, we dance to it. We celebrate to it. We have a good time to it. As to back then, it was how everyone where to go to get away when it was time to run. You know, it was communication.

TURNER: Absolutely. Right. It was communication. Absolutely.

NE-YO: So it was more than just -- just celebratory. So yes, I mean, that's definitely something that you think about, but at the same time, you know, it's -- it's another way to think about it is, thank God we are what we are now. Mind you, we've still got a long way to go.

TURNER: Right.

NE-YO: But thank God we're in a place now where the music is about the celebration and -- and -- and just -- just -- just basking in the beauty of what black music is.

LEMON: But also for a lot of us, especially our ancestors, it was a way out. When you think about Sammy Davis Jr. wasn't educated. Right? And -- and before athletics too became a way out, the music, entertainment became a way out for many of, you know, our people. Does that -- do you think about that?

NE-YO: You mentioned Sammy Davis Jr. I grew up in Las Vegas. So I wanted to be Sammy Davis Jr. You know what I mean. I -- I-- I instantly, like, gravitated to the "Rat Pack". My mom introduced me to it and Sammy was my guy because he was the one that looked like me, and he made it cool to be black at a time where, you know, according to the masses. It wasn't real cool to be black.


NE-YO: And -- and so whenever I can get on stage and do what it is I do, they -- I always have him in mind. I always have my five kings in mind and it's just -- it's just a moment of thank you, you know what I mean. Because -- because there's a lot of different places, there's a lot of different ways my life could have went, and -- and because of music, solely because of music I'm in an -- an amazing place. I -- I have an amazing wife, amazing children, and an amazing career, and I honestly can say I owe this all to -- to music.

LEMON: Who can take the sunrise --


LEMON: -- sprinkle it with dew.

TURNER: It gets a little late at night, Don starts to --

LEMON: I -- I love me some Sammy.

TURNER: I see.

LEMON: The candy man can.

NE-YO: That wasn't bad. You sure you don't want to come on the road.


NE-YO: Just come out in the open. Just give them a quick Sammy and let me do me and we good.

TURNER: You gave me my bop for last summer. You, you know, "You To Love", it was like seriously the bop of the summer. What are you -- what are you giving us now because we're waiting?

NE-YO: Yes. So, finally, finally. Brand new album. July 15th, the album will be out. It's titled "Self Explanatory". I called it that because -- so I've been here roughly 20 years at this point. Do you really need a lot of explanation for Ne-Yo right now?

(CROSSTALK) LEMON: Sara, say goodbye.

TURNER: Thinking about love and getting up and dancing.

LEMON: Say goodbye to Ne-Yo Sara. And stop to leave me out of the follies.

NE-YO: Bye Sara.

SIDNER: Bye Ne-Yo.


SIDNER: -- I mean, thank you. I'm -- I'm going to try that running on the treadmill and singing thing. You've dropped some knowledge. Your five kings, you're -- you are that by the way. You -- you have done that. You have melded them. You have done that. It's incredible.

NE-YO: Thank you all.

LEMON: Thank you sir. I appreciate it.

NE-YO: I appreciate the love.

LEMON: Up next, the one and only Debbie Allen's going to join us. Her dance academy lit up the stage tonight. Stay with us. Wow.


LEMON: This was art tonight. Let me tell you why. There was music. There was poetry and there was dance at the Juneteenth concert tonight. I want you to take a look at this remarkable performance by the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.


LEMON: So we are joined by the founder of the Debbie Allen Academy, the actress, director, producer, choreographer and shall I say legend, Debbie Allen.


TURNER: Is that like an octuplet threat? Like an eight --

LEMON: She said I don't know. I love you so much.

ALLEN: I love you. I'm watch you everyday.

LEMON: I want to tell -- I want to tell you -- thank you for everything that you have done --


LEMON: -- for the culture, for society, you and your sister. ALLEN: Yes, my sissy.

LEMON: And your sister Phylicia Rashad is her sister for those who don't know, you better recognize. Right? But -- and you always have arts at the top of mind, dancing at the top of mind and that stirs the soul. What was it like being there tonight?

ALLEN: This was for me because I'm from Texas. So from four years old, wanting to dance and do everything that I'm doing now and believing that it was possible, you know, we were always told, no, no, no. You can't, can't, can't. You can't do this and June 19th was always, kind of a, a family reformation of us saying yes you can, and you must plow through. So to see this realized as a global celebration on CNN really just took my breath away when I just sat there with my husband Norman Nixon and when Chaka Khan walked out onto that stage. It was like -- it was real and then the incredible orchestra, and then the people. I mean, I feel like I was with my whole family. I had to take pictures. COVID did not not exist, I'm sorry. COVID did not exist today but that we have created this celebration that is now a marker for America. That's how I look at it, because this is a celebration that American now has embraced and now the globe has to understand, and -- and freedom is something that is being fought for all over the world right now.

LEMON: I'm sorry. This is a moment for me. I --

TURNER: Here you go.

LEMON: I grew up watching you and loving you and never thought in a million years and you talk about a global celebration, that I would be here on CNN interviewing you. Bell Biv DeVoe left, they said, man, I ain't never been on CNN, and I said you know what? I'm on CNN everyday and I need to realize what a privilege that is, what a privilege to be here and what a privilege for us to -- for what has happened to us and where our ancestors and where we come from.


LEMON: And again, I just thank you. This is -- and we need to recognize this moment. So I am fooled. I am a fool. I'm sorry.

ALLEN: You are beautiful and I love you for this emotion and this honesty.

LEMON: Thank you. It's true.

ALLEN: This is the truth and that's what we're celebrating right now, truth. The truth of who America is, you know, America was built on a stolen people. The power of America came out of the cotton and sugar cane fields. Those are my ancestors, my family.

LEMON: Louisiana and Texas. The Recollective Orchestra, we need to give them their do. I'm sorry Michelle.

TURNER: Well no, I'm just -- well first of all, I'm sitting here enjoying this moment because I love Don so much and I have always loved this lady. Like, I just get happy when I see her, and I get happy when I see your dancers because I know they're an extension of your joy when you move. And so tell me about the piece that you guys did tonight?

ALLEN: Well, this is something that came to just us from the L.A. field, Rene (ph), you know, Rene Hughes (ph) running things over there. And they asked us if we wanted to participate, and we said absolutely and they had a whole long list of composers that we had never heard of, they wanted to do something different. They wanted to do something classical, and so I had never met Jessie (ph) Montgomery (ph) until tonight. I'd never heard her music until it was sent to me, and so this was like, a coming together. So this happened over a period time and (inaudible) Thomas (ph) who did the choreography is one of my children, I think he's like my son but he's a grown man, but he is incredible and he choreographed this piece.

So for my kids who didn't grow up with Juneteenth, they started to understand that they were a part of something that has what I said before, their blood memory. It's in their DNA. All that has happened. It is there and you just have to recall it and then you get in touch with it and they were just so inspired to be there today, and they were -- they were in tears when it was over. It made me just --

LEMON: You know, the music, I mean, look, it's music to your ears obviously but the -- but this is music to your eyes. It's so beautiful Sara, I mean, on television. I can't imagine just how overwhelming it was sitting in that arena watching it.

SIDNER: It was overwhelming. It was -- it was one of the first times when the audience got really quiet and not because they weren't paying attention, because your eye starts feasting on this absolute flowing movement that goes with the music, and the white. And you always pick the most beautiful colors and you see black skin against beautiful white, you know, frocks. It was gorgeous. I do want to mention something to you. You know, when I was a kid I loved dancing. I always, to this day, I cannot, not watch dancing on TV or wherever I can find it, and the thing that you did for a lot of us is you had different body types. Like you didn't have to be a ballerina --


SIDNER: -- and tiny and -- and, you know, itty bitty. You let people be free, however they looked and so, to -- to see you in person. You walked by me and I -- I stopped speaking which is really odd, because everyone knows I talk too much. And -- and -- but to see you in your element, and to see you put forth this beautiful performance, it showed the breath of what black folks can do and what black bodies are capable of, and that was really -- it's really powerful every single time. So thank you, thank you for doing that. Do you think about this? Do you -- do you purposely go after people that just have -- they're just all different body types and nobody is exactly the same and so I find it so thrilling.

ALLEN: So this is what happens. I was one of these kids. I was told I wasn't the right body type. That I would never be a dancer. I was told this, and so when I opened my doors at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, I opened my doors for people who had the spirit of the dance in them. I'm not looking for perfect feet and perfect whatever people think is perfect. I'm looking for the power of the dance and you saw that. That's what you're recognizing and it's true, everyday at DADA and it's something that I hope would go around the world. That all of this separation and all this, you know, people are dyslexic and can't eat and smoking cigarettes, and they should eat chicken and dance.

LEMON: Oh, that's what -- as soon as I'm done tonight that's what I'm going to do, but I just got to tell you Sara. That dancer, as soon as he came on tonight, I said, look at that dancer. He stole my body.


ALLEN: He is 14 years old.

LEMON: Even at 14 I didn't look like that --


TURNER: You're kidding me. No, 14.

ALLEN: Fourteen, I think he might be turning 15 in a day.

LEMON: They are beautiful. Look at the bodies.

ALLEN: They're just on their way. I mean, I'm just trying to raise a generation of people who understand that the arts is a beginning. That it -- it stimulates that part of the brain, that's also going to help cure cancer, or fix the post office, or fix education, or fix the kitchen, you know. It's creativity.

TURNER: Where did we -- by the way, I -- I do want to say that I also think Juneteenth is a celebration to celebrate the best of us and -- and what we have given to society and that's why this is very appropriate today to give you your flowers, because you deserve them --

LEMON: You stole the words. But go on, (inaudible) go on.

TURNER: -- in every single way. I'm wondering though, you were talking about how, you know, you love dance so much and -- and how it's global and you like that and you're taking DADA global. Were you just -- were you in Jamaica the other day? Where was it you were teaching? I just saw all these beautiful little brown girls and I was like, whoa what is happening here.

ALLEN: I went to Jamaica. I was invited as a cultural arts exchange and I just spoke to Marissa (ph) who invited me and we just figured out that we're going to bring at least six or seven of those dancers with me to be in my "Hot Chocolate Nutcracker" in December.

TURNER: I love it. My favorite.

ALLEN: They were so beautiful. I mean, I was in there dancing like I was 25 child. I walked out of there bent over, oh child, but I was like feeling it. It was beautiful. It was beautiful.

LEMON: Let me tell you, and you're right. You stole the words, because as tonight we gave -- we're giving Debbie Allen her flowers. This is our (inaudible). This is our "Fossi, Fossi, Fossi".

ALLEN: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you.

ALLEN: Thank you. Thank you.

LEMON: We love you. We love you. So --

ALLEN: I appreciate this love. I really do.

LEMON: And so -- I -- I pointed to her when you were -- because you were looking at the monitor at the dancers. There was so much pride. She was like --

ALLEN: I know.

LEMON: Thank you. Thank you Debbie Allen. Still ahead --

ALLEN: We're going to still do it. I started in middle school you know.

LEMON: Thank you. We'll talk. I got to go to break. They're yelling at me. Thank you very much. Our big takeaways from tonight's concert but first a preview of the new film on tennis legend, another legend, Arthur Ashe.






LEMON: We promised tonight's Juneteenth concert would uplift, inspire, and educate. I would say that we delivered and there was a whole lot of hot music too. Take a look, this is Billy Porter performing "Children".


LEMON: One, that dress and you know mama knows what's best now.


LEMON: Well we mean this the best way, why is Billy Porter always extra.

TURNER: Because he is. LEMON: Because he's extra.

TURNER: Because he is, and he's so darn fabulous. You know what I -- I love --

LEMON: So darn talented.

TURNER: Yes. You know what I loved about this too, seeing him up there in all his glory and just working it. We as a community, as a black community, have not always had our arms as wide open as we should to the LGBTQ Plus community, our black brothers and sisters. And so I think, when we're celebrating Juneteenth and celebrating freedom and celebrating what it means to be black people, not a monolith but a mosaic, we needed that performance from Billy tonight. We needed to see that representation on stage from him as well.


LEMON: And I asked him, I said why, you know, we haven't always been able to be the -- our full selves and what we want, when you think about Iggy Pop, and you know, if Iggy Pop can do that, can do similar. If Madonna can do similar, gender bender, or whatever, if Lady Gaga can do that, David Bowie and on and on and on.


LEMON: So can Billy Porter.

TURNER: Well Billy Porter does it with the best of them.

LEMON: Amen. Sara Sidner. Do you agree? Was this amen choir or are you going to disagree?

SIDNER: It's an amen choir. I mean, he is -- he does all the things. He's a quintuplet threat, or wait, maybe, anyway, anyway, he can do all the things and he does them with -- it's like he is on Broadway in person or whether he's on TV or whether -- he is such an incredibly bold performer. This has been incredible. People from 80 years old. I just met an 80 year old lady. She's lovely to a two year old that was running around, just dancing. This is for everyone. Every race, every color, every creed.

LEMON: Just so happy that you had a fantastic time. We had a fantastic time. Thank you everyone for joining us. Thank you Michelle Turner.

TURNER: Thank you baby. I was so happy to be with you tonight.

LEMON: I missed you. Come back and hang with me more.

TURNER: If they'll let me.

LEMON: I'm Don Lemon. Thanks for joining us. Happy Juneteenth everyone.