Gentlemen's Corner: Damien Lemon Dishes on Celebs Breaking 'Guy Code' and What Women Should Know About Men

A few wise men once said: "If they don't know your dreams, then they can't shoot 'em down." Today, many of us acknowledge and chase after our dreams under the watchful eye of an audience. Whether it be tweet, blog or word of mouth, whatever you choose to pursue isn't safe from the criticisms of peers and strangers alike. Fortunately, Guy Code's Damien Lemon realized his comedic aspirations just before the start of intrusive social media culture.

As an employee at VIBE Magazine, Lemon hustled his way out of a desk job and onto the stage as he tip-toed into the world of stand up comedy and eventually television. Since then, it's been a rollercoaster ride for the comedic hustler who lends his witty one-liners and commentary to MTV's Guy Code and Guy Court. Joined by a bevy of other familiar faces, Lemon's advice comes at you straight with no chaser; and audiences can't get enough.

During our exclusive chat, we got the lowdown on life after a 9-5, what all women should know about men and what celebrities are guilty of breaking guy code.

Take us from the days when you were at Vibe. How’d you transition from that to comedy?

I started comedy in '05 and left Vibe in 2007. I didn’t want everyone to know I was doing it because that was still the age of side hustles and I wanted to be good.  I was the Music and Entertainment Sales and Marketing Manager, one of the longest titles in the masthead. It was dope; I got to travel to LA maybe ten times a year.  It was a vanity job, but once I got into the comedian thing, I started to lose the passion for doing sales and they peeped and I got let go. It was honestly a good thing because I kept saying “I’m gonna do this shit,” so it gave me the kick in the ass I needed.

When you got fired, how did you survive? How’d you pay your bills?

I had saved up money and I did get a severance so I had a little something and I was doing odd jobs. My family held me down, my lady held me down and I had a good support system . Around 2011, I was starting to gain momentum in comedy and I did an MTV comedy showcase and I rocked it. People from MTV hit me and asked if I had management and I told them I was actively looking for it. They linked me with my management. MTV would bring me in for various things to pitch a show about the worse rap videos ever. The creator of Guy Code came in and my old sales tactics kicked in. He said, "Oh I’m about to put a show on called Guy Code" and I said, "Oh I’d be good on that" in passing. They called me in with the director Andy Stuckey and it went well.  They called me back to actually write on the show and then I went from the writer's room to actually being on the show.

At that time were you aware it could be your breaking moment?

Nah ( laughs). You have so many moments where you’re like, "well this could be the one" and then it’s not. Shit has changed since Guy Code, but I didn’t even have that expectation. People hear "guy code" and hear a certain thing like real “bro-y," but there are all types of guys on there; the Alpha male to dudes who get vulnerable. We’ve just finished season four coming out next year.

What's the creative process behind the show?

There is a corkboard loaded with topics and we’ll look at the guys codes to that and then we think of the beats. For example, what is the guy code to when you’re in a interracial relationship; the questions and universal themes that come with that.  In the room guys may have a story and if it resonates in the room then it eventually make the show.  It’s unscripted, however you see the questions before hand.

What would you say to women who ask why they should watch the show?

It gives you insight on the opposite sex and women really want that.  They try to figure out what we're thinking and for the most part, we don’t speak in riddles; we are pretty straight forward. Women try to look at it for what it is and it just gives you the insight for things you don’t have the courage to think or ask. Honestly, the approach is don’t try to be funny. Just be honest because you’re already funny by default.

Worst Scenario where you wish you had Guy Code advice?

When I was young, my older brother was dating this girl and he had a side chick.  I was young and his girl took me to Burger King and she sat me down and was like, "So is he dating anybody else?" It was like First 48 gave me something to eat and I was like,  "he’s dating such and such" and I was snitching. I could’ve used some more teaching.  It was a teachable moment.

Do you ever break any of your advice now?

Absolutely.  It’s easier to give advice than to take advice. You got to break it to speak on it.

What celebrities continuously break Guy Code?

You could say Kanye [West]. He’s his own worst enemy; he breaks Kanye code. He doesn’t let his work speak for itself. He’ll put out a dope piece of work and say some ridiculous shit. Also Simon [Cowell]; he’s wildin'. He took his best friend's wife. Maybe they’ve got a different guy code overseas.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Do you watch Girl Code?

I do watch it periodically. It’s a lot of funny women on that show; it gives you insight

The best piece of insight you gained?

I couldn’t even call it; it’s just some funny people on that show. The funniest is when Jamie Lee was talking about masturbation and she said it feels how pizza tastes. You never hear a female talking about that.

What are 5 things women should know about men that would make their lives easier?

Don’t over think a guy's movements, but if you want to know,  just ask. Sometimes women get caught up.  Let a man take care of you;  it doesn’t make you any less of a woman. Be able to be vulnerable with a guy. Be cool; try to get into each other's passions as opposed to high maintenance.  Bring other women to the bedroom. (Laughs) Nah.

Are you still with the same girl?  Would you say you’ve become wiser because of the show?

Yes and the thing about the show is it asks you the questions explicitly.  We’ll talk about jealousy and apologies because these are questions that will probably never come up with your boys.  It makes you articulate your thought and it helps to practice what you preach.

What next for you in the future and distant?

A lot more stand up.  I never stop.  There is going be a Guy Code/Girl Code college tour. I have a web series call The D Lemon In The Morning Show which is like a fake radio show. I would love to have a comedy special on HBO,  put out an album and write a movie. I just want to be known for being a great comedian, putting good shit out in the world and explore any opportunities that come from that.

Photo Credit: WireImage

From the Web

More on Vibe

Aaliyah during TNT Presents - A Gift of Song - New York - January 1, 1997 in New York City, New York, United States.
KMazur/WireImage

Fans Rally For Aaliyah's Discography To Be Released On Streaming Platforms

As another day passes without Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms, fans are looking for answers.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FreeAaliyahMusic appeared on Twitter in light of song battles between Swizz Beats vs. Timbaland and Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. The latter opponents played their collaborations with the late singer, proving Baby Girl's dynamic relevancy in the age of modern R&B. As songs like "I Don't Wanna" and "Come Over" picked up plays on YouTube, the hashtag pointed out the tragedy of her songs not existing on platforms like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.

Aaliyah's only album on multiple platforms is her 1994 debut, Age Ain't Nothing But A Number. Other albums like the platinum-selling One in A Million and Aaliyah are being held in a vault of sorts along with other unmixed vocals by her uncle and founder of Blackground Records, Barry Hankerson.

Hankerson has built up a mysterious yet haunting aura over the years due to his refusal to release Aaliyah's music on streaming platforms. Reasons are unknown but Stephen Witt's 2016 investigation revealed business deals like the shift in distribution from  Jive Records to Atlantic helped Hankerson take ownership of the singer's masters. The deal was made in 1996 when Blackground featured artists like Aaliyah, Toni Braxton, R. Kelly, then-production duo Timbaland and Magoo as well as Missy Elliott.

Sadly, Aaliyah's music isn't the only recordings lost in the shuffle. Recordings from Timbaland and Toni Braxton have been hidden from the world with both taking legal action against the label over the years. There's also JoJo, who had to break from the label after they refused to release her third album. The singer recently re-recorded her first two albums.

With Aaliyah's music getting the attention it deserves, Johnta Austin discussed the singer's impact on R&B today. "It was amazing, she was incredible from top to bottom," he told OkayPlayer of working with the singer on "Come Over" and "I Don't Wanna." "I don't think Aaliyah gets the vocal credit that she deserves. When she was on it, she had the riffs, she had everything."

Earlier this year, an account impersonating Hankerson claimed her music would arrive on streaming platforms January 16, on what would've been her 41st birthday. A docuseries called the Aaliyah Diaries was also promoted for a release on Netflix.

Of course, it was far from the truth. Fans can enjoy selected videos and songs on YouTube, but it's clear they want more.

 

Aaliyah’s music is the landmark for a lot of your favs not only was she ahead of her time with her futuristic sounds she also was a fashion Icon dancer and phenomenal actress . The future generations need be exposed to her artistry and pay homage .#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/LxZfxcqRgF

— Black Clover (@la_alchemist) March 29, 2020

Her first #1 solely based on AirPlay! She was the first ! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/BHlANZjCGZ

— (@hodeciii) March 29, 2020

Makes no sense for someone still so influential to be hidden. Many try to emulate her. On Spotifys This is Aaliyah playlist, theres some great tracks not on her main Spotify #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/vLqLTVxqO9

— Blackity Black⁷ (@ClaudBuzzzz) March 29, 2020

Aaliyah is trending once again. She deserves endless flowers. This is true impact y’all. Her voice, her sound, her music...She’s been gone for 2 decades and y’all see the love for her is even stronger! We miss you baby girl! #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/ALDcT0ZQxR

— A A L I Y A H (@forbbygrlaali) March 30, 2020

Aaliyah said she wanted to be remembered for her music and yet most of it is not on streaming services #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/zwk0AWMCoE

— RJR (@MyNewEssence96) March 29, 2020

aaliyah’s gems like more than a woman deserve to be in streaming sites #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/mM2GWEg1pe

— k (@grandexrocky) March 30, 2020

I saw #FreeAaliyahMusic and IMMEDIATELY jumped into action! I can’t express how betrayed I felt when we were supposed to have all her music on Spotify by her birthday. Her discography is deeply underestimated and we need to make it right for our babygirl!pic.twitter.com/GfxBeJxUY1

— jerrica✨ (@jerricaofficial) March 29, 2020

Before Megan The Stallion drove the boat...

Aaliyah rocked the boat...

#FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/iXNwssD3sY

— Al’Bei (@_albei) March 29, 2020

i think we should have that conversation #FreeAaliyahMusic pic.twitter.com/cGl269tuTr

— AALIYAH LEGION (@AaliyahLegion) April 1, 2020

Continue Reading
Singers Adrienne Bailon (L) and Kiely Williams of the 'Cheetah Girls' pose for photos around Mercedes Benz Fashion Week held at Smashbox Studios on October 18, 2007 in Culver City, California.
Katy Winn/Getty Images for IMG

Kiely Williams Explains Fallout With Adrienne Bailon Houghton And Alleged Fight With Raven-Symonè

Our current isolated way of life has given some plenty of time for reflection like Kiely Williams of the former girl group 3LW and The Cheetah Girls (ask your kids). The tales of both successful groups have been told time after time by fans in YouTube documentaries and members of each collective but Williams has decided to share her side of the story.

Williams hopped on Live Monday (March 30) where she discussed her former friendship with The Real co-host Adrienne Bailon Houghton and the infamous chicken throwing fight with actress/singer Naturi Naughton. The mother of one didn't pinpoint exactly why she fell out with Houghton but did point out how she wouldn't be interested in appearing on her talk show.

"I don't think Adrienne wants to have live TV with me," Williams said. "'Cause she's gon' have to say, 'Yes Kiely, I did pretend to be your best friend. Now, I am not.' You were either lying then or you're lying now. You either were my best friend and now you're just not claiming me or you were pretending [to be my best friend."

The two remained friends after Naughton was kicked out of 3LW, the platinum-selling group known for 2000s pop hits like "No More (Baby I'ma Do Right)" and "Playas Gon' Play." Williams and Houghton were eventually picked to be apart of The Cheetah Girls with then-Disney darling Raven-Symonè and dancer Sabrina Bryan.

Williams went on to discuss her fight with Naughton, which she denies had anything to do with her skin color. With her mother near, Williams claimed Naughton called her a b***h, leading to the fight. While she didn't clear up the chicken throwing, she stated how she was "going for her neck" and was holding food and her baby sister in the process.

Apologies aren't on the horizon either. “I don’t feel like I have anything to make amends for, especially as it relates to Adrienne,” Kiely said. “As far as Naturi goes, if there was ever a reason to apologize, all of that has kind of been overshadowed by the literal lies and really ugly stuff that she said about my mom and my sister. So, no. Not interested in that. I’m sorry.”

Moving onto The Cheetah Girls, Williams also denied claims she got into fights with Raven-Symonè on the set of The Cheetah Girls films and never outed her as a teen. The rumor about Symonè and Williams was reportedly started by Symonè's former co-star Orlando Brown.

Symonè has often shared positive memories about The Cheetah Girls and their reign but did imply during an episode of The View how co-star Lynn Whitfield kept her from losing her cool on set.

On a lighter note, Symonè, Houghton and Naughton have kept in contact with Naughton and Houghton putting their differences aside during an appearance on The Real. 

Symonè and Houghton also reunited at the Women's March in Los Angeles in January. During Bailon's performance at the event, the two briefly performed the Cheetah Girls' classic, "Together We Can."

Willaims also shared some stories about the making of the group's hits. Check out her Live below.

Continue Reading
Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Kelis Announces ‘Cooked With Cannabis’ Show Will Premiere On Netflix

Kelis is taking her chef talents to Netflix. The musician will host a food competition show titled Cooked With Cannabis that’ll premiere on the very-fitting April 20 (4/20). According to NME, the show will span six episodes and be co-hosted by chef Leather Storrs.

Describing the opportunity as a “dream come true” since she’s a major supporter of the streaming service, Kelis took to Instagram to share how cannabis and cooking is one of her many creative passions. “As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today’s society,” the mother-of-two writes. “In this country, many things have been used systemically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together.”

Each episode will place three chefs against each other as they craft three-course meals with cannabis as the central ingredient. Each episode’s winner takes home $10,000. Guests will play an integral role in who takes home the cash prize. Too $hort, and El-P are just a few of this season's guests.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I'm really excited to announce my new show, Cooked with Cannabis on @Netflix!! Anyone that knows me, knows how much I love my Netflix, so this is a dream come true. Interestingly, this was one of those things that I didn't go looking for, it kind of came to me. As a chef, I was intrigued by the food and as an everyday person, I was interested in how powerful this topic is in today's society. In this country, many things have been used systematically to oppress groups of people, but this is so culturally important for us to learn and grow together. I hope you all will tune in, it's definitely going to be a good time! We launch on 4/20! XO, Kelis

A post shared by Kelis (@kelis) on Mar 18, 2020 at 7:57am PDT

In a previous Lenny Letter profile, Kelis shared she comes from a line of culinary influences beginning with her mother who owned a catering service. In 2008, the “Milkshake” singer sought to refine her cooking skills by enrolling in the Le Cordon Bleu school. Receiving a certificate as a trained saucier, the New York native put her expertise to the test during pop-up restaurants in her native city, created a hot sauce line, and co-owns a sustainable farm in Quindio, Colombia.

“Food is revolutionary because it is the one and only international language. It’s the most human thing you can partake in,” she said in an interview with Bon Appetit. “We are the only species that cooks.”

This isn’t Kelis’ first foray into the reality-cooking television world. In 2014, she partnered with the Cooking Channel for Saucy and Sweet and published the "My Life on a Plate" cookbook a year later.

Continue Reading

Top Stories