Ed Gordon looks back on explosive Omarosa debate at NABJ convention

(Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Over the span of his 30-year career, TV journalist Ed Gordon has interviewed some of the most prolific figures and celebrities in American culture.

From former presidents like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama to entertainers like Tupac Shakur and O.J. Simpson, Gordon has sat down with the best of them.

But no exchange was quite like the one he had with Omarosa Manigault last summer during the National Association of Black Journalists convention in New Orleans.

While attempting to ask the then White House aide about her boss President Donald Trump‘s comments on policing in communities of color, Gordon instead found himself in an intense standoff with the reality star. Looking back on the encounter in a recent interview on The Grio LIVE!, Gordon says things did get a bit too intense.

“Did it get a little ghetto? Absolutely,” Gordon admits, later saying “I knew what her M.O. was and felt like – ‘Not today.’”

The veteran journalist says that while he wasn’t supposed to be the moderator of the panel, he had agreed to do it after other moderators apparently backed out when they heard Omarosa would be a part of it.

What Gordon didn’t know at the time is that it would end up becoming a grandstanding in a room full of Black journalists–and naturally it was all caught on camera.

–READ: Omarosa causes uproar at Black journalists convention–

As he recalls: “I’ve seen her try to co-opt panels before, and so she did exactly what she tried to do there, and that is stand up and then she walks to the center of the stage. Most moderators would let her have the stage. What I chose to do was follow her and not let her take over. By the time that I got out of that room, my daughter was calling me–it was trending.”

Though the exchange made for great headline fodder, Gordon says he’s “amazed by how transfixed we are by Omarosa with all of the problems in Black America.”

“Omarosa is a master marketer–we’ve seen that. From the time we were introduced to her on The Apprentice to today with her being in Celebrity Big Brother and everything in between, including the White House,” he adds.

“Good for her on a personal level. But as Black America there are so many other important issues that we need to deal with. We need not worry about her.”

‘Am I Black Enough?’

One thing Gordon wants the African-American community talking about it is his new documentary Am I Black Enough: An Ed Gordon Special, which is exclusively streaming on Brown Sugar TV.

He sits down with an array of stars from Samuel L. Jackson to Misty Copeland to talk about hot-button issues impacting the Black community.

“I find it interesting that we as a community want to define Black. You always here someone in our community talk about if someone is Black enough; whether it be light versus dark, or can you be deemed Black enough if you’re a republican, particularly with the Trump administration,” Gordon said.

He says the documentary also takes a look at colorism and biracial identity.

“It’s funny who some people the Black community accepts as all Black. We embrace Barack Obama now, but I remember when he first came on the scene a lot of Black people were hesitant in part because he’s mixed, and they weren’t sure if he would be Black enough for us. So we take a look at that and a number of things.”

Taye Diggs recalls in the documentary being called “black dot” during his childhood because of his dark-skinned complexion.

“I think it’s very deep rooted. Whether we’ll ever overcome it? I don’t know,” Gordon says.

“With this special, we wanted to really take a look at some of the things that we talk about behind closed doors but don’t typically talk about in public. My hope is just to get people talking.”

See the entire interview with Ed Gordon below.

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