Black History Month is observed every February to commemorate the important people and momentous events in African-American history. Hotspots honors Black History Month by profiling black LGBT people who have made noteworthy achievements in their personal or professional lives.
(born March 1, 1966)
Don Lemon was born on March 1, 1966 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was interested in becoming a television reporter from a young age, and he pursued his dreams by majoring in broadcast journalism at Louisiana State University and also at Brooklyn College in New York City. His first job, in college, was as a news assistant at WNYW in New York City. After graduation, he worked as an investigative reporter and anchor at many stations across the country, including WCAU in Philadelphia, KTVI in St. Louis and WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama.
In the early 2000s, he started working for NBC News from their head bureau in New York City. In this capacity, he worked as a correspondent on Today and NBC Nightly News and eventually worked his way to becoming a permanent anchor on Weekend Today and on the 24-hour news channel MSNBC. NBC offered him a job as anchor at one of their owned-and-operated affiliates, WMAQ in Chicago, where he worked for three years.
In 2006, he started working for CNN in Atlanta as a full-time anchor, a job he still holds today. For his work at CNN, he was nominated for a number of awards relating to his coverage of the AIDS crisis in Africa. He has also received an Emmy Award and an Edward R. Murrow Award for his coverage of real estate in Chicago and the Washington D.C. sniper attacks, respectively.
One of the most public faces of the news outlet, Don Lemon has been discussed extensively in social media for his reporting, garnering headlines for his outspoken nature and criticized in others for injecting subjective opinions into the pieces he covers. More than ten of his reports from 2014 ended up trending on Twitter, leading Philadelphia Magazine to call Lemon “America’s first reality news star.”
In 2011, he released a memoir, Transparent, in which he came out to the public as a gay man. He has been recognized by The Advocate and GLAAD for his work to combat homophobia in the African-American community. In addition, he has been named to Out Magazine’s Power List and Ebony Magazine’s list of the top 150 most influential black people in the United States.