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Historic Opening of Spillway; IMF Head Questioned Over Sex Assault Allegations; Florida Imams Face Terror Charges; Uproar Over Common's W.H. Invite; Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig Speaks
Aired May 14, 2011 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Right now on CNN, a global business bigwig accused of nakedly forcing himself on a hotel maid. It supposedly played out in this posh New York City hotel. The head of the International Monetary Fund is being questioned by police right now. We will go live to New York.
Is Major League Baseball's commissioner softening his stance on Pete Rose? The former slugger is banned from the Hall of Fame for gambling, but could the door be opening a bit? You'll see this only on CNN.
And a CNN exclusive, never before seen pictures of the King of Pop before all that plastic surgery. We'll go behind the Hollywood headlines and show you the photos Michael Jackson wanted to have destroyed.
Good evening everyone. I'm Don Lemon. The news starts right now.
The legendary Mississippi River is rewriting history tonight. For the first time in nearly 40 years the Morganza Spillway was opened today to divert the swollen river into the Atchafalaya Basin.
The huge spillway was built just for that purpose. It's a pressure valve to relieve the threat of flooding in Baton Rouge and New Orleans but it means tiny communities in the basin could soon be under many feet of water and force thousands of people from their homes.
This is what it looked like back in 1973, the one and only time the Morganza Spillway had to be opened. Now, the fact that this spillway has not been opened in four decades underscores how serious this situation has become. For the next hour we'll be joined by General Russel Honore; a hydrologist, Mark Davis, from Tulane University; plus CNN correspondents in key locations for you.
I want to get right now, though, to CNN's Ed Lavandera, who was there when the Morganza Spillway was opened earlier this afternoon.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, the first gate of the Morganza Spillway has been opened. You can see the water gushing out through that first gate, halfway down this Morganza flood control structure.
There are 125 gates. For now, only one has been opened. Officials here say that they will continue to open up more in the coming days but, for right now, they're trying to slow down this process. You can already see the - the water making its way into this area that was just a big grassy area.
The reason they are doing it very slowly is to give the wildlife and animals a - a chance to adjust here to the - the vast amount of water that will soon be pouring through here. But you can see just through that one gate the amount of water that is already gushing through. And all of this has to do with the amount of pressure that has been building up along the Mississippi River.
The trigger number that officials here have been looking at is 1.5 million cubic feet of water per second. That's the amount of pressure that has been building along the Mississippi River. Anything more than that is simply too treacherous for the levee systems between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. They need to lower that pressure.
Anything more than that can really compromise those levee systems and right now they are at more than 1.6 million cubic feet of - second per water of pressure so that is simply too much. And officials here say they will not need to use all of the gates, that all of this capacity will not be needed, but the Bonnet Carre Spillway, which is the - one of the spillways that protects New Orleans, is already at full capacity. Everything's opened up there, so they need to use this.
So what does that mean for all of the people who live in the path of this water as it begins the slow process of moving southward, toward Morgan City, which is 100 miles away. It will move through the river basin for the area that will be flooded out. This water is not expected to crest in Morgan City until May 24th, and even after that the water is expected to stick around several more weeks.
So this is - we're looking at perhaps mid-June by the time all of this - all of this water dissipates and everything gets back to normal, and that's the reality for many of the residents, the thousands of people who lived downstream from where we are right now - Don.
LEMON: Oh, and a very sad reality. Thank you, Ed Lavandera.
CNN meteorologist Jennifer Delgado has more information about how opening the Morganza Spillway today has already had a measurable effect on New Orleans already.
JENNIFER DELGADO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Absolutely. You know, earlier in the day we saw right around 16.98 feet, and right now it's pretty close to that. But you have to keep in mind, that's minor flood stage.
As I take you back over, we're going to talk more about that and how it affected parts of New Orleans in just a moment. But as I zoom in for you, we have this image coming in from the Army Corps of Engineer, and this is a - this area in blue, giving you an idea of the flooding that's going to be experienced and projected to be experienced through parts of Louisiana.
Now, earlier today, we talked about how they opened up the Morganza Spillway, and actually Ed was saying how that water was coming out of there. They opened up about 20 percent of that. Now, as I show you this in red, this is the Morganza Spillway. In blue, this actually is the Mississippi River.
Because the Mississippi is so high, by opening this up, this has allowed for actually some of that water to actually - we can say be relieved and being pushed over towards the west and south. But the problem is that is going to flood a good part of the Atchafalaya River basin area, anywhere in blue.
Now, to give you an idea of how deep the water is going to be - we're talking about the flooding problem that's going to be there, anywhere you see in green - we're talking 10 to 15 feet. Anywhere in orange, you can see right along the river, we're talking 20 to 25. And look right here, this is actually showing you the area of the Mississippi River.
As I zoom out and we continue talking a bit more about Louisiana, as I close this for you, and this right here is going give you an idea when we're going to see some of that water coming from the Morganza Spillway. For Sunday it's going to get very close to the area of Interstate 10. That is a very heavily traveled road. It goes from Lafayette to baton Rouge, and with that water coming in we could potentially see some of that actually causing some travel disruption.
As we jump ahead to Tuesday, we're going to see potentially cresting on May 25th roughly about a half a foot above record flood stage. So we do have a levee system there, but that is if it holds together.
Now, we go to another graphic here. We have to continue talking about the flooding. Yes, this is Louisiana, and Don mentioned how is this going to have an effect on New Orleans? Well, because they opened this up we're going to expect only minor flooding May 14th, and in May 16th we're actually going see the river cresting, and that is roughly about 10 feet above flood stage. And up towards the north, we're talking dates roughly right around May 22nd, May 19th.
Now, I'm going to walk over here and I'm going to talk to you, Don. And we're looking at that video of the Morganza Spillway, and you said to me earlier how has that affected New Orleans? Well, the good news is it's actually relieving some of that potential stress.
Now, we have a little science experiment for you. Hopefully you can see this. We have some rice right here. Now, this represents actually represents the Bonnet Carre. Remember, we opened that last week?
LEMON: Yes. Smaller spill. Yes.
DELGADO: Smaller. Go ahead and scoop that up for me. LEMON: Let me scoop that one. All right.
DELGADO: Yes. You're doing good here. That represents 200 -
LEMON: (INAUDIBLE) with my mother.
DELGADO: Yes, exactly. I'm not your mom, but I'm giving you an idea.
LEMON: All right. That doesn't do much (ph).
DELGADO: That represents 250,000 cubic feet per second.
Now, this one, this is the Morganza, and I'm going to make a mess, Don. It's going to get all over your script.
LEMON: The water's going to spill like that anyway. You don't know where it's going to go.
DELGADO: Yes. Exactly.
LEMON: So there you go.
DELGADO: Now, the red line indicates actually - the top of this indicates the top of the levee. By taking this all out, you can see that the line's going to fall back down. It's going to be back below flood stage.
LEMON: Yes. And that's with both of them, though.
DELGADO: Yes. That's with both of them.
LEMON: Both of them opened. Yes.
DELGADO: So this has had an immediate effect, but unfortunately this is going to affect so many other people who live in that basin right there.
LEMON: All right.
DELGADO: And you know that so well.
LEMON: Good explanation.
DELGADO: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you for that, Jennifer Delgado -
DELGADO: I'll clean the mess up.
LEMON: -- our meteorologist here at CNN. We appreciate it. Thank you.
All right. We're following a developing story that we want to tell you about. It's about one of the most powerful voices when it comes to the world's money, pulled off a plane tonight and questioned about an alleged sexual assault. We're going to have a live report for you.
And then there's this. Two leaders of the Muslim faith arrested in this Miami house, charged with aiding terrorists. And many of you have been sending and asking for information on social media. So you can reach out to us on Twitter, on Facebook, on CNN.Com/Don, and on Foursquare.com/DonLemonCNN.
LEMON: We found out about this story a little while ago. This one is still developing and it's very disturbing. The head of the organization that oversees the world's financial system pulled off a plane in New York and questioned about a sexual assault.
His name is Dominique Strauss-Kahn. He is the leader of the International Monetary Fund.
Our national correspondent Susan Candiotti has been digging on this story, following the latest developments for us. So Susan, tell us what allegedly happened here?
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A lot of really disturbing details here involving a very prominent figure in the business world.
Here's what we know about what happened. This is according to an official with the New York Police Department. At about 1:00 this afternoon, at a very prominent hotel here in - in New York City, the head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was leaving - was entering, sorry, was in his room when a - a housekeeper, a maid, entered his room to clean his - his hotel room, when she was allegedly met by this man, Mr. Kahn, who was stark naked, according to police, and he tried to force himself on her.
She was able to break away. She ran to the desk, alerted the hotel staff. They in turn called the police.
The police say by the time they got there, he had already left the premises. So they found out that he was on a flight from New York's JFK Airport to Paris, and they got there just before the doors at the - of the plane had been closed. Some police officers went on board in plain clothes, took him off the plane. We're told he did not offer resistance, and now he is currently still being questioned after many, many hours by the New York Police Department at the Sexual Assault Unit.
Now, he is - and Don, he's not cooperating.
LEMON: He's not?
CANDIOTTI: He's not cooperating. We're being told that he's not making any statements at this time. And, furthermore, apparently the police said he left the hotel in quite a hurry, left his cell phone behind. We don't know whether he left his suitcase behind too.
But a lot more yet to be found out about this, obviously. LEMON: And, you know, I have to ask you, then, I don't know about his background, so is there - can you talk a little bit more about his background? Is there something that we - we might know that would give any indication that why he would do something like this?
Again, now he's just being questioned. We don't know if it's - you know, if it's exactly true. But what about his background?
CANDIOTTI: Well, he's not been charged yet. That - that's correct. He is still being questioned.
This is a man who is in charge of a very important organization. The Monetary - International Monetary Fund is a group that is in charge with transferring money from very rich countries to developing countries. And he's a very prominent figure. Mr. Kahn is serving in the fourth of a five year term.
He did have some personal difficulties in the past. About two years ago, in 2008, they looked into a situation and learned that he had had an affair. However, he was exonerated after a full inquiry, although he did offer an apology. He said he did not abuse his power.
But this is interesting -
CANDIOTTI: -- because he told the board of the IMF that, quote, "I'm committed, going forward, to uphold the high standards that are expected of this position."
CANDIOTTI: And, of course, if - if he is charged with this, that's a big problem.
LEMON: Yes. And we'll be - and we'll continue to follow the developments.
Susan Candiotti, thank you very much.
I want to turn now to South Florida where there's a developing story related to U.S. national security. Two imams, a father and a son, along with another son in Los Angeles, have been arrested on charges of providing support to the Pakistani Taliban. Three other people inside Pakistan have been indicted on the same charges. The federal indictment also accuses all six defendants of supporting a conspiracy to kill, injure and kidnap people abroad.
Hafiz Muhammed Khan, who headed the mosque, is accused of heading - of sending at least $50,000 to the Taliban inside Pakistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILFREDO FERRER, U.S. ATTORNEY: $50,000 is just a tip of the iceberg. We will show, as the case proceeds, that they transferred a lot more than $50,000 to Pakistan for the specific purpose that it reaches the Pakistani Taliban.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And here's what we're being told. We're being told the arrests are not linked to the recent killing of Osama Bin Laden. The two imams are expected to appear in federal court come Monday.
It was a performance that was under fire even before he even took the stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMMON, RAPPER/ACTOR: Even through the unseen, I know that God watches. From one King's dream, he was able to Barack us. One King's dream, he was able to Barack us. One King's dream, he was able to Barack us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: That's rapper Common at a White House poetry reading this week. We'll look at what's really behind the conservative uproar over his invitation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMMON: Burn a Bush because for peace he no push no button. Killing over oil and grease, no weapons of destruction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Hip-hop star common in a 2007 performance on HBO's Def Poetry Jam. That line about burning a bush is one of the reasons that conservatives are up in arms after the White House invited Common to a poetry reading this week.
So, was the White House wrong, or do conservatives have a fundamental fear or misunderstanding of rap and hip-hop? Well, we had a good chat about it earlier.
ROBERT WATSON, RECORD PRODUCER: They have nothing to go on. This is the cleanest rapper we have in the game. Common Sense is - I mean, he makes conscious raps. He speaks to the people. He's anti- violence (ph). He's anti-everything.
This guy is the best that we got. If - if he's bad, there's nothing left in rap. I mean, he's the best we got.
LEMON: I know that, you know, FOX will play this and say oh, you know, look what CNN did. They invited these people on, and what have you. Just asking the questions, is there some racial undertones here?
TIM WISE, AUTHOR, "COLORBLIND": There's a definite racial disparity in the treatment of different types of music, and I think the reason is because for a lot of white Americans, they believed that when black people talk about violence it's autobiographical and they're getting ready to go kill somebody and they realized that when white folks do it, oh, they're just talking.
Except, of course, you know, the real thing - and Bill O'Reilly - you had a clip of him, and he said, you know, the - the White House doesn't understand a lot of America. I think the bigger issue is that these critics don't understand that there are millions of Americans whose understanding and experience of this country is not the Lee Greenwood, you know, "thank God I'm free, proud to be an American version." It's a version of the folks who live in the South Bronx, who live on Pine Ridge Reservation, brown-skinned folks in Arizona right now who don't feel free.
And when they write about it either in a rhyme or in a poem, I think that's what scares these Conservative white folks. Then don't accept the fact that there are millions of people for whom the experience of America is different than theirs and they certainly don't want to have to confront that.
LEMON: Don't most whites buy hip-hop and rap? They buy the bulk of it.
DAN CHARNAS, AUTHOR, "THE BIG PAYBACK": Absolutely. Absolutely. And you need to - you just have to remember, this is - this is all strategy. You know, in my book, I - I actually tell the cop side of that 1992 "Cop Killer" controversy.
And Ron DeLord who ran CLEAT down in Texas. He knew consciously that this was something that the cops needed to do after the L.A. cops beat down Rodney King and the ensuing riots is that the police had egg on their face and that this is something that Republicans and the police needed to do to sort of turn cops into victims when, in actuality, it's people like Rodney King and, you know, folks who are brutalized by police that are, you know, much more the victims of this kind of thing.
LEMON: Thanks to our panel there.
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig sits down with an exclusive interview, and he had some very interesting things to say about steroids and Pete Rose. I think you'll be surprised. You don't want to miss it.
LEMON: Major League Baseball is celebrating its history and its pioneers this weekend right here in Atlanta. The Annual Civil Rights game is being held at Turner Field Sunday, but the game is just part of a wider celebration.
Today saw a youth summit at Centennial Park, along with games at a temporary field. The Beacon Awards are tonight, honoring heroes like Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, and a special recognition of the Freedom Riders, those courageous Americans who rode buses across the South in the early '60s to defy discrimination.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig is here in Atlanta for this weekend's event, and he sat down with our very own Fredricka Whitfield for an exclusive interview. He talked about baseball's efforts to rid the game of steroids, as well as the eligibility of certain players for the Hall of Fame. He also had some very interesting things to say about Pete Rose, currently banned from the game for betting on baseball games.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So it's cleaner now than ever is what you're saying?
BUD SELIG, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL COMMISSIONER: There's no question about it. We banned amphetamines, which were a great problem in Major League Baseball for years. The incident of steroids in - in terms of (INAUDIBLE), it's almost down to nothing.
We - we're the only American sport testing for human growth hormone. We're giving blood tests in the Minor Leagues. And so I'm proud of where we are.
We always have to be on the lookout. Chemists are always trying to develop things. But this is the first time baseball ever had a drug testing program. We went through the cocaine era in the '80s, we ran into a lot of others (ph), there was never any testing done. Now, there's very stringent testing, and I'm very proud of the great progress we've made.
WHITFIELD: How will that impact the eligibility of players in the Hall of Fame? When you hear of names like Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco and their records and the potential of Hall of Fame, yet, at the same time, the cloud of using enhancement drugs are there.
SELIG: Well, I'd like to answer all of your questions (ph), but that's going to be up to the Baseball Writer's Association of America. I mean, that - that really is in their - they're going to have to make that judgment in the years to come.
WHITFIELD: Will it be your judgment?
SELIG: No. No. That's - that's strictly up to the Baseball Writer's Association of America. So they will have to make their own individual judgments on players. \
WHITFIELD: So when it -
SELIG: As they do now.
WHITFIELD: So when it comes to a Pete Rose, your opinion of a Pete Rose weighs very heavily on whether he should be in the Hall of Fame.
SELIG: Well, that was different. Pete broke an existing rule of 70 years, and my office was created by Kenesaw Mountain Landis and the Black Sox Scandal, and - and that's a matter still under review.
WHITFIELD: So you might change your mind on that?
SELIG: Well, I didn't say I might change my mind, but it is under review. And I understand the pros and cons of the Rose situation.
WHITFIELD: In your lifetime, do you think you'd see a Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame, as a result of those reviews?
SELIG: Not a judgment that I would like to make. No.
LEMON: And I want to tell you that you can see Fredricka's full interview with Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig tomorrow in the NEWSROOM, 2:00 P.M. Eastern, right here on CNN.
And also today CNN had a chance to speak with three men being honored by Major League Baseball as role models and trailblazers, quite frankly, Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, actor Morgan Freeman, and musician Carlos Santana were given Beacon Awards tonight, emblematic, the League says, of the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement.
Now, here's some of their conversation with our very own T.J. Holmes.
T.J. HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Banks, could you even imagine? I guess there was a time you couldn't even imagine there being a - a black player in Major League Baseball, but now there's a black president. What was your thought?
ERNIE BANKS, MLB HALL OF FAMER: It was, you know, very unique. I didn't ever think there's was going to be a black manager, a black general manager. And Jackie said this, you know, in 1972, he said he felt that baseball had reached its pinnacle, unless you see a black man standing on that third base, coaching. So it was - it begins with him, you know, back with him. Jackie - Jackie was really a pioneer.
I think he is responsible for Barack Obama being the president of the United States, going way back then. It was before the Civil Rights Movement. Jackie was a person who lived up to all of that and have changed that superiority and inferiority to -
MORGAN FREEMAN, ACTOR: More of an equality.
BANKS: A lot (ph) more of equality.
HOLMES: That was a very profound statement right there - Jackie Robinson is responsible for Barack Obama being in the White House. Do you think people forget that sometimes and sometimes just put in a category, because it was sports?
FREEMAN: It's a long string, but every now and then somebody comes along and connects both ends so that we can see it clearly again. I don't know if we actually forget it (ph).
LEMON: You can see more of this interview tomorrow morning here on CNN. Major League Baseball Civil Rights game will be played right here in Atlanta on Sunday afternoon.
New developments in just the past few hours along the rain- swollen Mississippi River. The Morganza Spillway is now open. Next, we'll talk with a Tulane University professor and Retired General Russel Honore about the decision to flood thousands of homes and businesses to save the state's two largest cities.
(HANK WILLIAMS JR. SINGING "DIXIE ON MY MIND")
LEMON: That was Hank Williams Jr. performing at a country music benefit for the victims of the recent tornadoes and flooding. It airs Sunday night on our sister network, HLN 9:00 Eastern Time.
Dangerous flooding along the Mississippi River today led to the opening of a spillway in Morganza, Louisiana, a move not seen since the early 1970s. The Army Corps of Engineers says - says more gates will be opened and will probably stay open for weeks. It is a desperate action to reduce the river level now threatening the cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
And I want to bring in now Retired General Russel Honore and Attorney Mark Davis, Director of the Tulane Institute on Water Resources Law and Policy. Thanks to both of you for joining us tonight.
Mark, a lot of people are upset about flooding the Atchafalaya, but what choice did the Corps have?
MARK DAVIS, DIRECTOR, TULANE INSTITUTE ON WATER POLICY & LAW: They didn't have a choice. In fact, the choice was made shortly after the 1927 flood. In many ways people have to understand that this system is working the way it was intended to work.
After - in 1927, we displaced more than 600,000 people, and this is a whole system. It's not just Morganza or Bonnet Carre, it's the entire levee system with its control structures that have been put in place. And there are some hard choices that have been made in the process and not everyone bears the same burden. But right now it's actually working the way it was designed to work which after Katrina it's nice to see a levee system do that.
LEMON: Well said. And General Honore, you know, the Morganza can handle up to 600,000 cubic feet, I believe, of water per second and the Bonnet Carre can handle about 250,000 cubic feet of water per second. Is it enough? Is it enough to save New Orleans and Baton Rouge?
LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, U.S. ARMY (RET) (via telephone): Based on current projections, Don, but you know things can change. If we have a failure, with a ball under or some recessive ball and that we don't catch and the National Guard, the levee guys are doing a great job recounting those levees.
But if we have a break, for instance, history has shown we've had seven or eight breaks between Baton Rouge and Morganza in the last 100 years. If that was the break and flood poured out then that becomes the game changer.
LEMON: Yes. Port Allen, it's where I grew up right there. Mark, I got to ask you this. I have never heard anyone say this and, you know, maybe I just hadn't heard it. Didn't read enough. But explain to us that releasing - how releasing this water into the Atchafalaya and into Lake Pontchartrain can be a positive thing for the environment?
DAVIS: Well, it can be, not so much for Lake Pontchartrain. But I think what we need to understand this, this is really the story of one river and two floods. That Coastal Louisiana, everything from Baton Rouge South and largely from Texas to Mississippi was built by the Mississippi River over the last 7,000 years. And ever since we took the river out of that landscape, we've watched it disappearing and really over the last 100 years we've lost roughly, you know, 2,000 square miles of land. That's a permanent flood.
So what we actually need is to get the river back into that landscape in a controlled way but where it can actually nourish the wet - the marshes and the swamps that in fact protect New Orleans and so many other things from things like Hurricane Katrina.
So, we have to realize that this - this river is a part of this coast, and, you know, that it's - it's a tool as well as a source of trouble.
LEMON: General, I'm going to bring you back in again. This flooding event might last into the summer, you said. I got to ask you, can the levees hold that long?
HONORE: Well, Don, a lot of investment has been made into the levees with the riff-raff, with the concrete being poured against it in the most dangerous reinforcement (ph). We're going to be at risk. I mean - and the Corps is working hard to minimize that risk by keeping the pressure using Morganza and using Bonnet Carre.
But no one can give you 100 percent of certainty we wouldn't have failure. Why? Because there's things going on underneath that water that you can't see and underneath the levee, and if history prevails, even though we have the strongest levees (INAUDIBLE), in the history of Louisiana and the United States that there's a possibility we could have a failure. There is a possibility.
LEMON: I've got to ask you this just on a personal note. I'm being honest here. When you said Port Allen, I hadn't heard that. My mom is in Port Allen. She lives there. Is there a possibility of flood or breach there?
HONORE: Well, a breach - the most probable place based on history is between Port Allen and the little town of (INAUDIBLE) Morganza.
HONORE: There's (INAUDIBLE) that eight or nine breaks in the levee there within the last 100 years that's flood Pointe Coupe Parish and part of West Baton Rouge Parish. That is the most vulnerable area right now.
South of Baton Rouge, that would be around Saint Gabriel or on the Clayton (ph) side of is the most vulnerable areas. And we need to continue to watch those areas.
LEMON: All right. General, thank you, and thank you to Mark Davis. And our hearts and our thoughts and our prayers are with all the people down in Louisiana. You guys have a great evening.
DAVIS: We appreciate that.
LEMON: Musicians with a message.
They're called Mary, Mary and this is the 21st century face of gospel music. That's not just singing about God but doing work in his name. That story is coming up.
LEMON: All right. That is the gospel you probably know.
But this is a gospel selling album in hundreds of thousands. It's hip, it's urban and it's brought many blessings to the gospel group Mary, Mary singing the song "Walking" in this music video.
And in tonight "What Matters", the singers are putting their word of God lyrics to action asking their fans to pay it forward.
LEMON: People think like - and when they say Mary, Mary and you're not Mary, Mary, right?
ERICA CAMPBELL, SINGER, MARY, MARY: No.
TINA CAMPBELL, SINGER, MARY, MARY: No.
LEMON: It's Tina and Erica.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's who we are. It's Mary and Erica Mary. It's Mary (INAUDIBLE).
LEMON: Yes. And it's because it's from the bible, right?
E. CAMPBELL: Yes. T. CAMPBELL: Yes.
LEMON: Just so the audience knows. But people say, oh, it's not. They don't do gospel. It's secular.
E. CAMPBELL: Everybody has their own interpretation and we said for the past few years it's the gospel according to Mary, Mary.
T. CAMPBELL: Yes.
E. CAMPBELL: In the type of church that we grew up even though it was very traditional we're very progressive. We were aware of what was on the radio even though our mother didn't really let us listen to it.
T. CAMPBELL: No.
E. CAMPBELL: We - we wanted to be, you know, I wanted to dance and have a good time and the music had to be funky and had to be banging.
But for us it had to reach the un-churched. And if you're using the most religious terms and the most religious music and you're trying to share the love of God, you know, how you can live better and love better and be better, why do you want to come with this boring, down trodden, worrisome type of music.
T. CAMPBELL: I can't do it. And whatever format it's played on, it is played on Sunday morning, Friday night at the clubs, the intention and the motivation behind the music is still the same -
E. CAMPBELL: Yes.
T. CAMPBELL: -- is to share God's love. And so I believe no matter where it's played, no matter where it fits -
E. CAMPBELL: Right.
T. CAMPBELL: It's going to be effective wherever it goes.
Sometimes that perspective that people have it's just about preference. You don't prefer us. That does not mean that it's wrong.
LEMON: You know why I want to talk to you. I know you have a lot of things going on. You have a new album and we're going to talk about it. But I want to talk about your initiative that's called something big especially which just happened in Alabama and the South with the tornadoes and now with the flooding. Tell me about something big.
T. CAMPBELL: Something big. The push behind the CD was live big, love big, give big, do something big.
E. CAMPBELL: Yes.
T. CAMPBELL: It wasn't just about make a great record - E. CAMPBELL: Right.
T. CAMPBELL: -- and have people think you're fantastic. We wanted to put the music into action, and so -
E. CAMPBELL: And we want a platform for something other than just the songs.
T. CAMPBELL: Exactly. So we've been encouraging our people to do just that. We had a six or seven week campaign encouraging our fans, followers, friends to do something big for the elderly -
E. CAMPBELL: Yes.
T. CAMPBELL: -- for the homeless, for schools -
E. CAMPBELL: Schools.
LEMON: Schools, yes.
T. CAMPBELL: If you got something big that they're doing in their life, you know, starting school again, pursuing something they thought they couldn't before, overcoming in some way and now we're going to take that initiative to helping the people who are dealing with that crisis in Alabama.
LEMON: Obviously you want to sell records because you want your message - it's part of who you are. It's part of what you do, you're putting on earth to do that. But there can also be a way to help people in what you do and that's what - that's what something big is?
E. CAMPBELL: It always has to be more. It always has to be more. And, you know, this is 11 years for us, so we're still singing and still selling records. And, you know, getting to talk to fantastic people but I feel like we should charge people to do something. And especially the way our world is today, we need help. We can't do it alone. And a lot of people are, you know, assuming that's all going to happen from the White House. But it happens on our streets, in our neighborhood. And if we change our street, just the block, maybe you change the city. And if you change the city, maybe you change the county and it grows and grows.
And so that's why we're trying to get people think beyond just buying the record. Now you do something.
LEMON: Are they responding to something big?
T. CAMPBELL: They are blowing us away.
E. CAMPBELL: Yes.
T. CAMPBELL: These people are going out taking you don't need everything to do something.
E. CAMPBELL: Yes.
T. CAMPBELL: You just need a willingness to do it. And we are seeing that with our fans.
E. CAMPBELL: There's a girl here in Atlanta that her and a friend took two suitcases and got on a city bus and went to pass out food and clothes to homeless people. And then it started raining so they got those little hats that you put on and they kept going. And they videoed themselves and sent it to us.
There was a mother, I don't remember where she lives but she had two small children and the father is not in the home. And this is what we were talking about doing something for seniors, they went to a senior citizens homes to they pass out Chocolate Kisses and hugs and kisses.
E. CAMPBELL: And I thought that was so wonderful. It's small -
LEMON: And it's wonderful.
E. CAMPBELL: -- but it's impactful.
T. CAMPBELL: Yes.
E. CAMPBELL: And so they really are doing something.
LEMON: My interview with Mary, Mary. Thank you so much, ladies.
The King of Pop in the days before he went under the knife. These are the kinds of photos that Michael Jackson did not want to you see, the CNN exclusive, moments away.
LEMON: That's one of Michael Jackson's last performances there. His talent brought him fame and fortune, but his face brought him jeers and jokes. Michael Jackson reportedly had dozens of plastic surgeries.
Now, in a CNN exclusive never before seen photos remind us of who the King of Pop truly was, what he originally looked like.
CNN's Wire Editor Alan Duke joins me now from Los Angeles. So, Alan, what do these photos show and why have we not seen them before?
ALAN DUKE, CNN WIRE ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR (via telephone): Well, these photos are from March 1978, a photo shoot at the Gower Studios here in Hollywood by a freelance photographer, who is a college student at the time. He is Reginald Garcia and I met him this week. He showed me these remarkable photos that have been in a closet in a box in his home for the last three decades plus.
And he just recently pulled them out because he needed something to fund an - an electrical invention that he's got, an energy- efficient electrical motor that he says he think could make a big difference in the world and selling these photos he thinks will finance that.
LEMON: So listen, how much will these photos go for?
DUKE: Well, I've heard estimates of $40,000, $50,000 perhaps. But keep in mind, you got two things. You've got the actual photos, the - the slides, the contact sheets, the prints that exists, the originals, if you will, and then you've got the copyrights.
I'm understanding the copyrights have just been bought today Keya Morgan. Don, you know Keya?
DUKE: You had him on the air before talking about his remarkable photo collection. He's also helping - the Keya Gallery is helping to sell the actual originals here.
But quite a story in how Reggie or Reginald Garcia came about these.
LEMON: Oh, very interesting. Alan Duke, great pictures to look at. We appreciate you getting this story for us, a CNN exclusive.
And if you want to see them, talking to you viewers now, all the photos of Jackson before he went under the knife, make sure you check out our blog. We're going to put them up there for you at CNN.com/Don.
A sticky situation is happening at some proms across the nation. Students are donning dresses and tuxes made from duct tape. Did you know it can be made into a fabric? We'll check out the duct tape sensation. We're going to show them to you after the break.
But first, in Vietnam, an estimated 23,000 children are living and working on the streets. Many come from rural areas to the city seeking opportunity. Instead, they end up facing a detail struggle just to survive.
That's where this week's CNN hero comes in, an Australian who moved to Vietnam just to help.
MICHAEL BROSOWSKI, CNN HERO (voice-over): Here in Hanoi, kids come to the streets hoping that it will be better than living in poverty in the country side, but often they find things are much worse for them here. You can actually identify kids who are living and working on the streets. They may get detained by the authorities, they may get beaten up. There are gangs selling heroin. We're finding kids being tricked and then sold into prostitution. It was just a case of I can help so I should help.
BROSOWSKI (on camera): My name is Michael Brosowski. I work in Vietnam with street kids trying to get them off the streets and back into school and into safe homes.
(INAUDIBLE). How are you?
When we started out, our goal was just to get them back to school. And to do that we realized we would have to take that place of providing an income, food, providing the shelter.
Our center is where the kids know to come. This is where they feel safe. They can join in our activities. They can talk to the staff. And then we've got to make sure they are working towards education or getting a job or improving their health.
We've also got to be careful that if the child has a family, the family is as involved as possible. It's an amazing feeling getting to watch these kids go from being malnourished and just completely lacking confidence to wanting to make a change.
I grew up in poverty and I often used to think if I could do something in my life, if only someone would come and give me that chance. Now, I'm the guy that can help these kids and give them a chance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Hey, show us how you two would have danced if you had been able to attend the prom. Well, no wonder -
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Comedian Jimmy Kimmel rooting for the Connecticut kid who could not go to his prom. But today the ban was lifted for James Tate. Our affiliate WFSB reports that head master changed her mind and the 18-year-old honor student can go now.
Tate got into trouble for this prom proposal taping block letters to the side of his school. So - so the Connecticut High School banned him. Then came the TV appearances and "A let James Tate Go to the Prom" Facebook page with nearly 200,000 followers.
This afternoon, the head master announced that she had changed her mind and some say she bowed to the pressure from online.
OK. No doubt we are in the midst of prom season and there are hundreds of kids around the nation stuck on prom like you'd probably never seen before. They created dresses and tuxes of duct tape just for the event.
In Swainsboro, Georgia, the high school had an entire duct tape prom. Some of the students and their teachers came to visit me just to give me an up close look at their sticky situations and sensations.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DABNEY EDENFIELD, SWAINSBORO, GA. HIGH TEACHER: This is about the community. We've had the best time doing this. We have a fashion show around the fountain at the square. We have - we have - people have written songs about us. We have, you know, our own little website where you can google us. We have a wonderful time.
And it all started because it was a scholarship sponsored by Duck Brand duct tape. They will enter as a couple and -
LEMON (on camera): Show it for us (INAUDIBLE). Go ahead.
EDENFIELD: -- the winners will win $5,000 each. And the school has an opportunity to win 5,000 and second place is the 3,000 apiece. These outfits are wonderful.
LEMON: And everything is duct tape. And I wonder, I mean, is it -
EDENFIELD: Wire. That's wire.
LEMON: That's wire. But it's all duct taped and I wonder is it - it happened to be - I went to pass these guys as I was going to - running to the restroom between shows. And I said how do you guys go the bathroom in this thing?
EDENFIELD: It's quite a challenge. We had people fall trying to put their duct tape clothes on. It is warm but during our prom it was a little bit cool so they were wonderful.
LEMON: All right. So it was March.
EDENFIELD: It was March.
LEMON: And they're going to announce the winner. Who's going to win? Who's going to win?
EDENFIELD: They all want to win.
LEMON: Oh, come on guys don't be shy. Who is going to win?
EDENFIELD: Go raise your hands.
LEMON: These are all really great. Best of luck to you and best - you're going on to -
EDENFIELD: Thank you. I'm going on the East Georgia College to teach there part time and hopefully they'll continue with our high school. We hope so.
LEMON: Yes. You guys are going to miss her?
LEMON: Yes, yes. Hey, it's great and it's for a good cause. I hope - I wish all of you could win and it's Swainsboro High School -
EDENFIELD: Swainsboro High School.
LEMON: -- and Swains. Georgia and it's your duct tape prom.
EDENFIELD: Yes. Yes.
LEMON: And we are certainly proud of them. All right. Everybody give them a twirl. Walk the runway as we leave you here. Just walk, everybody. Show it off. There you go. Strut your safe. The duct tape prom -
LEMON: -- at Swainsboro High School.
LEMON: Before we get out of here I want to update you on our top stories.
The Morganza spillway in Louisiana has just been opened. That hasn't happened in 38 years. Historic flooding along the Mississippi River made the move necessary to prevent the river from overwhelming the levees in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Last time the Morganza spillway was opened was 1973. Thousands of people must now evacuate ahead of the rising water.
The head of one of the world's key financial organizations is being investigated tonight about a sexual assault. Dominique Strauss- Kahn is the leader of the International Monetary Fund. New York Police pulled him off a flight to France to talk to him about an alleged incident at a hotel in Times Square. Investigators say he was naked and tried to force himself on a maid in his room.
Police says Strauss-Kahn has declined to answer questions and has not made a statement. Strauss-Kahn is he's often mentioned as a candidate for president in his native France.
Two Florida imams, a father and son have been arrested on charges of providing support to the Pakistani Taliban and another son has also been arrested in Los Angeles. A federal indictment accuses the three men along with three others inside Pakistan of supporting a conspiracy to kill, injure and kidnap people abroad. We're told the arrests are not linked to the recent killing of Osama Bin Laden.
Republicans Mike Huckabee says he's not going to run for president this time around. The former Arkansas governor and 2008 White House hopeful waited until the final minutes of his weekly show on the FOX News Channel tonight to announce in his words all the factors say go but the heart says no.
So now you're up to date. I'm Don Lemon at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Thank you so much for watching. I'll see you back here tomorrow tonight 6:00, 7:00 and 10:00 P.M. Eastern. Make sure you have a good Saturday night. See you later.