Transparency requires honesty and Lemon paves the way.
In his new memoir, Transparent, CNN anchor Don Lemon discusses life, including his sexuality and serves as an inspiration, perhaps more than before. His message, to be true to yourself, is an empowering one.
I recently had the chance to talk to Don Lemon and any nerves I felt from the role reversal were quickly put to rest. As it turns out, he is every bit as down to earth as he is open and honest. Read what he had to say about his book, life, and inspiration below!
STELLA: In your memoir, Transparent, you discuss some very personal experiences- did you anticipate the response you’ve received?
LEMON: I didn’t anticipate so much interest. I know that it’s really hard for public figures to reveal some of the things that I revealed. But that’s what true transparency is about. The response has been overwhelmingly positive and I’m extremely grateful for it.
STELLA: What led to the decision to write a memoir?
LEMON: I write about the decision in the book. The book’s publisher approached me to write the book a while back, and I said no for a long time. Then I realized I was doing exactly what others had done to me all my life- tell me no. So I decided to push back against the fear and just do it. And once I started writing it became cathartic. And before my very eyes, the book I wanted to write and needed to read appeared. And the rest is history.
STELLA: Aptly titled, in Transparent, you put it all out there- more so that many living out of the public light- would you encourage others to be more “transparent”?
LEMON: I would encourage everyone to live and walk in his or her own truth. It’s such a personal decision though. I think the more people who come out and feel comfortable doing it can only help those who are questioning or living in fear and shame to do the same. I never realized that I’d be a role model to so many others by just saying the words and being who I am.
STELLA: As a fellow Southerner, in my own life it has been difficult to be of a dissenting viewpoint. What has been your experience? How has it shaped you as a person?
LEMON: I think it’s hard for anyone to be perceived as ‘not the norm. Most people want to conform and be accepted. That’s just human nature. But there is strength and power in living from the core of your true self. Once you’ve experienced that sort of freedom there’s no turning back. And you look back and wonder why you haven’t lived that way sooner. As a person it’s made me stronger, freer and more authentic. It’s an amazing place from which to live your life.
STELLA: As an anchor on CNN, you’ve interviewed many, what was one of your most memorable?
LEMON: It would have to be Ann Nixon Cooper, the 106-year old woman who wanted to live long enough to vote for and see an African-American person become president. Mrs. Cooper was a testament to strength, faith and tenacity. We all stand on her shoulders and the people like her who fought for equal and civil rights for all Americans. Mrs. Cooper died about a year after President Obama was elected. But she got to experience the dream that she had for decades. It took a while but she realized her dream. What an amazing lesson for us all.
STELLA: Anyone you’d like to interview or speak with that you haven’t?
LEMON: I’d like to interview Presidents George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton all in the same room. That would be incredible
STELLA: Who or what inspires you?
LEMON: My mother inspires me because she embodies all Americans. She’s a fantastic woman who overcame many obstacles to make a way for herself, her children, her grandchildren and now here great-grandchildren. She’s a role model and a survivor. I love you Mom!
Many thanks to Don Lemon for taking time to talk with me…
You can follow Don Lemon HERE on Twitter and don’t forget to pick up a copy of his new book, Transparent, and tune in to CNN to catch him in action.