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Author Richie Jackson in Conversation with CNN’s Don Lemon on “Gay Like Me” at BookHampton
February 15, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pmFree
“My son is kind, responsible, and hardworking. He is ready for college. He is not ready to be a gay man living in America.”
When Jackson’s son, born through surrogacy, came out to him at age 15, the successful producer, now in his 50s, was compelled to reflect on his experiences and share his wisdom on life for LGBTQ Americans over the past half-century.
Gay Like Me is a celebration of gay identity and parenting, and a powerful warning for his son, other gay men and the world. Jackson looks back at his own journey as a gay man coming of age through decades of political and cultural turmoil.
Jackson’s son lives in a seemingly more liberated America, and Jackson beautifully lays out how far we’ve come since Stonewall — the increased visibility of gay people in society, the legal right to marry, and the existence of a drug to prevent HIV. But bigotry is on the rise, ignited by a president who has declared war on the gay community and fanned the flames of homophobia. A newly constituted Supreme Court with a conservative tilt is poised to overturn equality laws and set the clock back decades. Being gay is a gift, Jackson writes, but with their gains in jeopardy, the gay community must not be complacent.
As Ta-Nehisi Coates awakened us to the continued pervasiveness of racism in America in Between the World and Me, Jackson’s rallying cry in Gay Like Me is an eye-opening indictment to straight-lash in America. This book is an intimate, personal exploration of our uncertain times and most troubling questions and profound concerns about issues as fundamental as dignity, equality, and justice.
Gay Like Me is a blueprint for our time that bridges the knowledge gap of what it’s like to be gay in America. This is a cultural manifesto that will stand the test of time. Angry, proud, fierce, tender, it is a powerful letter of love from a father to a son that holds lasting insight for us all.
Richie Jackson is an award-winning Broadway, television and film producer who most recently produced the Tony Award-nominated Harvey Fierstein’s Torch Song on Broadway. He executive produced Showtime’s Nurse Jackie (Emmy and Golden Globe nominee for “Best Comedy Series”) for seven seasons and co-executive produced the film Shortbus, written and directed by John Cameron Mitchell. As an alumnus of NYU Tisch School of the Arts, he endowed a fellowship program at his alma mater in 2015 to assist graduates in the transition from academia to a lifelong career in the arts called The Richie Jackson Artist Fellowship. He and his husband, Jordan Roth, were honored with The Trevor Project’s 2016 Trevor Hero Award. They live in New York City with their two sons.
Don Lemon anchors CNN Tonight with Don Lemon airing weeknights at 10pm. He also serves as a correspondent across CNN/U.S. programming. Based out of the network’s New York bureau, Lemon joined CNN in September 2006. A news veteran of Chicago, Lemon reported from Chicago in the days leading up to the 2008 presidential election, including an interview with then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel on the day he accepted the position of Chief of Staff for President-elect Barack Obama. He also interviewed Anne Cooper, the 106-year old voter President-elect Obama highlighted in his election night acceptance speech after he had seen Lemon’s interview with Cooper on CNN.
Lemon co-moderated one of the 2019 Democratic Presidential Debates. He has also moderated CNN Town Halls with the 2019 Democratic Presidential Candidates.
Lemon has reported and anchored on-the-scene for CNN from many breaking news stories, including Hurricane Florence (2018), Las Vegas shooting (2017), the Orlando shooting at Pulse Nightclub (2016), Charleston church shooting (2015), death of Freddie Gray while in police custody, the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO (2014), the George Zimmerman trial (2013), the Boston marathon bombing (2013), the Philadelphia building collapse (2013),the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting (2012), the Colorado Theater Shooting (2012), the death of Whitney Houston, the Inaugural of the 44th President in Washington, D.C., the death of Michael Jackson (2009), Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana (2008) and the Minneapolis bridge collapse (2007).
Lemon serves on the Board of Trustees at Brooklyn College. He earned a degree in broadcast journalism from Brooklyn College and also attended Louisiana State University.