As far as career tracks go, I've had a very fortunate ride. I've been lucky to have a front row seat with a pretty sweet view of pop culture's biggest people and memorable events.
During my years at MTV, I watched artists perform Unplugged, rode the agony and ecstasy of the Video Music Awards, and saw the Osbourne's change the family hour. At VH1, we created Hip Hop Honors and let nostalgia evolve beyond rock and roll, coined "Celebreality" (sorry about that one) and loved then loathed and finally loved again our DIVAS.
In January, I was there for the launch of OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, now being steered to its next phase by OW herself and a talented, dedicated and passionate team.
The secret of my "success" is shameful in its simplicity. There are, of course, countless lessons learned, but they all seem to boil down to three simple traits about me that have driven (and sometimes thrusted) me forward:
- I'm shamelessly devoted
- I'm relentlessly direct
- I'm embarrassingly open
I get that these seem like luxury items at a time when so many people struggle to find something to do in the world that will fulfill their basic needs. But it seems to me that no matter what you choose to do or what you have to do, you need something to help guide you and give you perspective. They're bigger than any single job could be, and are surely what helped me deal with periods of change and transition and embrace whatever was coming next. I know more than ever that I need to do something that I love, be surrounded by people who inspire me and hopefully get a chance to use my superpowers for good, as my friend Judy McGrath would say.
After I was fired from OWN, I knew that I wanted my next chapter to begin in an area that was new for me. That's what made the opportunity to join Huffington Post Black Voices so tempting. As Executive Editor, I'll have the chance to help shape the overall editorial vision for this reenergized site, collaborating with an award-winning team. Selfishly, I love the chance to step into a new kind of role and unleash my inner blogger. And I'm getting another front row seat -- this one as we continue the jerky dance we have with the issues of race, class and equality. This is a new way to get that conversation started, with fresh voices and the promise of a real dialogue.
I've been involved in conversations about race for my whole life. As the daughter of an African-American father and a Puerto Rican mother, it was always there. Growing up in the South Bronx, my neighborhood was a mix of colors and smells and sounds that spoke about race at every turn yet coexisted through an unspoken agreement. At my High School in Flushing Queens, spring brought fierce fights when the white kids from the blocks surrounding the school took out their frustration at the black kids and the recent Asian immigrants with their fists. Thirty years later, we live in a country we want to define as "post racial" but still struggle to give voice to the burns of inequality. The silence is killing us all.
Shamelessly devoted, relentlessly direct, embarrassingly open. That's what I want Huffington Post Black Voices to be. A chance to take the discussion to a new level To lead, shape, cajole and incite. Seems like a good way to get the conversation started.