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Soledad O'Brien Fires Back At Roger Ailes: 'I Was Named After The Virgin Mary'

Posted: 04/16/2012 3:09 pm

Last Thursday, Fox News chairman/CEO Roger Ailes made a mean-spirited comment about CNN’s Soledad O’Brien while speaking to journalism students at the University of North Carolina.

During an after-lecture interview with student journalists, Ailes referred to O'Brien -- who anchors the CNN morning news show "Starting Point" -- as "that girl that's named after a prison."

Ailes appeared to be referencing the Soledad Correctional Facility in Monterey County, California.

On Friday morning, Soledad fired back at Ailes, tweeting: “Um. I wasn’t named after a prison. Ailes is mistaken. I was named after the Virgin Mary.”

Soledad O'Brien
um. I wasn't named after a prison. Ailes is mistaken. I was named after the virgin mary

According to, O’Brien’s father chose the name Maria de la Soledad to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary of Solitude—which in Spanish is “Soledad.”


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  • Soledad O'Brien

    Born to an Australian father and Afro-Cuban mother, news reporter Soledad O'Brien has anchored <a href="" target="_hplink">CNN specials</a> <em>Brown in America</em> and <em>Latino in America</em>. In 2005, <a href=" " target="_hplink">she told</a> that when it comes to the 2000 Census racial categories, "I checked all the ones that applied, and I loved it. I thought I was totally messing up the system. An archaic and bizarre system. If the system doesn't keep up with who a lot of us are, that's their problem." She currently anchors the CNN morning program Starting Point.

  • Stacey Dash

    From <a href="" target="_hplink">appearances</a> in <em>The Cosby Show</em> to <em>The Fresh Prince of Bel-air</em>, actress Stacey Dash is most recognized for playing Cher's best friend in <em>Clueless</em>. Dash is <a href="" target="_hplink">half</a> Mexican-American and of Bajan and African descent. Photo Source -- WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 07: Actress Stacey Dash arrives at the 2010 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Graydon Carter held at Sunset Tower on March 7, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images)

  • Laz Alonso

    Most known for his role in films such as <em>Avatar</em> and <em>Fast & Furious</em>, the actor said the following about his Afro-Latino heritage to "I always like to say that whether you're African American, Afro-Jamaican, Afro-Haitian, Afro-British, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Panamanian, whatever -- black is black....I have a Cuban influence from my ethnicity, so I feel 100 percent Cuban and 100 percent Black and nobody can take that away from me." Photo Source: LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 17: Actor Laz Alonzo accepts the award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for 'Jumping the Broom' onstage at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on February 17, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards)

  • Singer-Songwriter: Mariah Carey

    American songstress Mariah Carey was born to an Irish American mother and Afro-Latino father of African-American and Venezuelan descent. The interracial marriage caused a rift in the family. In the book, Mariah Carey Revisited, she says: "My mother's family basically disowned her when she married my father... So later I was like, 'Well, where does this leave me? Am I a bad person?' You know. It's not that common still to be a multiracial person, but I'm happy with the combination of things that I am."

  • Zoe Saldana

    Most known for her starring role in the 2009 film <em>Avatar</em>, American actress Zoe Saldana was born Zoe Yadira Saldaña Nazario to Dominican and Puerto Rican parents. In a 2010 issue of <em>Mujer Magazine</em>, Saldana <a href=" " target="_hplink">shared her thoughts</a> on racial categories: "I'm just Zoe. Not a little bit Dominican, not a little bit Puerto Rican, none of that silliness...I am what you want me to be if that's what it takes for you to overcome your insecurities. As a Latina, I think we should be very proud of our heritage. We tend to look for European roots and reject the indigenous and the African, and that is disgusting. Being Latin is a mix of everything. I want my people to not be as insecure, and to adore what we are because it's beautiful."

  • Tatyana Ali

    Who could forget little Ashley Banks on the NBC sitcom <em>Fresh Prince of Bel Air</em>? Afro-Latina actress and R&B singer Tatyana Marisol Ali is of Caribbean heritage; and according to her <a href="" target="_hplink">Last. FM</a> page she is also fluent in Spanish. Her mother is Afro-Panaminian, and her father is of Indo-Trinidanian descent. Photo Source: LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 17: Actress/singer Tatyana Ali arrives at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on February 17, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards)

  • Alex Rodriguez

    Baseball star Alex Rodriguez was born to <a href="" target="_hplink">parents from the Dominican Republic</a>. Photo Source -- DUNEDIN, FL - MARCH 8: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees bats against the Toronto Blue Jays March 8, 2012 at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

  • The Queen of Salsa: Celia Cruz

    What kind of list would this be without her? Celia Cruz's Afro-Caribbean beats have left an indelible cultural footprint in the U.S and the Americas. The beloved Cuban American singer <a href=" " target="_hplink">won three</a> Grammys and three Latin Grammy Awards over the course of her career; and she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton in 1994. She passed away in 2003 <a href=",,20140689,00.html " target="_hplink">after a yearlong battle</a> with cancer in her home, Fort Lee, NJ. To read more about her remarkable life, please visit the Smithsonian National Museum of American History <a href=" " target="_hplink">website</a>. Photo Source: HOLLYWOOD, UNITED STATES: Cuban-born singer Celia Cruz holds her Latin Grammy for Best Salsa Album for 'La Negra Tiene Tumbao' at the 3rd Annual Latin Grammy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood 18 September 2002. AFP PHOTO Lucy NICHOLSON (Photo credit should read LUCY NICHOLSON/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Victor Cruz

    Victor Cruz dances a little salsa after making a touchdown on the field. The New York Giants wide receiver was born to an African-American father and Puerto Rican mother. The NFL features Cruz in this short video on their <a href="" target="_hplink">website</a>.

  • Heather Hemmens

    The actress from <em>Hellcats</em> tells <a href="" target="_hplink"></a>: <blockquote>[People don't immediately think of me as Latina] because my mother is a black Costa Rican, so I have this skin tone that's kind of unidentifiable. It's great because as an actress, it gives me a versatility to play a black woman or play a Latina woman. I've even played Egyptian and Indian American. With the right hair and makeup. I've actually got a pretty good road going here where I can play a lot of things.</blockquote>

  • Carmelo Anthony

    New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony was on the USA Olympic basketball team that brought home the bronze medal in 2004 and the gold medal in 2008. In 2005, Anthony founded the <a href="" target="_hplink">Carmelo Anthony Foundation</a> and was named among the 100 most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business magazine <a href="" target="_hplink">in 2008</a>. <a href="" target="_hplink">Named</a> after his father, Anthony was born to an African-American mother and a Puerto Rican father. Photo Source -- NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 14: Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks looks on against the Portland Trail Blazers at Madison Square Garden on March 14, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

  • Naya Rivera

    The Glee cheerleader is of African, Puerto Rican and German <a href="" target="_hplink">descent</a>.


Filed by Lee Hernandez  |