The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Clayton Banks

Media executive Clayton Banks attended California State University at Fullerton from 1980 to 1985, and graduated with his B.A. degree in speech communications and business administration. In 2000, with a scholarship from the National Cable & Telecommunication Association (NCTA) & the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity In Communications (NAMIC), Banks completed the Executive Management Program at Harvard Business School.

From 1994 to 1997, Banks served as the senior vice president of sales and marketing for Sega Channel. In 1997, he joined Comedy Central as the vice president of affiliate relations. While at Comedy Central, he was part of the launch of “South Park,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” and “The Upright Citizens Brigade.” In 1998, Banks became the regional director at Showtime Networks, and later in that year he founded Ember Media Corporation, where he has produced multimedia and broadband content for Discovery Networks, HBO, Pepsi Corp., Bloomberg TV and Showtime Networks. Between 2011 and 2013, Banks developed the “More Than A Mapp” mobile application and website that features over three-hundred African American landmarks and points of interests. He has implemented multi-platform strategies for the Essence Music Festival, MTV, ESPN, New York Institute of Technology and other top brands.

Banks was elected president of NAMIC from 1996 to 1998, where he championed programs such as the Patrick Mellon Mentoring Program and the NAMIC Chapter Leadership Forum. Banks served as a member of the board of directors for the Armory Track and Field Foundation, a board member for the Academy of Innovative Technology High School and is an active participant in the “Principal for a Day” program in New York City.

Clayton Banks was interviewed by The HistortyMakers on January 14, 2013.

Accession Number

A2014.005

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/14/2014

Last Name

Banks

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

A.

Occupation
Schools

California State University, Fullerton

Harvard Business School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Clayton

Birth City, State, Country

San Diego

HM ID

BAN05

Favorite Season

Summer

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Dominican Republic

Favorite Quote

Education Is The Key To Open The Golden Doors Of Freedom.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

8/5/1960

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Spaghetti

Short Description

Media executive Clayton Banks (1960 - ) founded Ember Media Corp. in 1998 and served as president of NAMIC from 1996 to 1998, where he lobbied for minority-owned business incentives and increasing the number of minorities in the cable television business.

Employment

Ember Media

Comedy Central

Sega Channel

Showtime Networks

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
0,0:23316,455:23726,461:26596,517:27088,524:35288,670:35780,682:49142,866:50451,885:64813,1066:67684,1108:78670,1216:79270,1223:87070,1343:88970,1370:89370,1376:89770,1381:102096,1492:102624,1503:104032,1527:104472,1533:106320,1560:108520,1594:118364,1788:118938,1796:122876,1834:123172,1839:123912,1850:124578,1867:124874,1872:130868,2034:142530,2201:143090,2211:143440,2217:146240,2289:146590,2295:148200,2329:148550,2335:155180,2389$0,0:4549,209:5935,234:7398,264:10093,308:14328,365:15483,374:16330,386:20150,400:20924,409:21268,414:21956,423:22730,434:23074,439:26858,494:32362,578:40575,647:59320,903:60032,921:60744,931:65100,945:65485,973:69874,1033:70413,1054:72184,1090:72646,1097:73647,1116:74109,1124:76804,1190:77574,1201:83225,1220:84028,1238:85196,1262:85707,1270:86948,1294:87459,1302:88262,1315:90233,1366:91328,1385:93299,1428:93664,1434:94248,1443:94905,1454:97825,1517:99650,1548:100599,1568:111450,1691:113940,1754:114438,1762:114853,1768:116845,1820:117343,1827:149530,2288:150322,2300:155866,2373:156218,2378:156922,2392:157274,2404:158154,2416:158682,2430:170278,2577:175532,2701:176864,2725:177160,2730:177456,2735:179158,2768:179528,2773:181304,2822:181674,2828:187150,2949:197452,3078:197848,3086:198706,3103:199102,3110:200554,3146:200818,3151:201544,3168:202138,3178:208210,3328:208738,3398:219746,3527:221190,3559:221798,3569:222330,3582:222862,3591:226660,3607:227986,3639:234382,3780:236644,3814:237424,3838:242182,3914:243976,3950:244366,3961:253360,4033
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Clayton Banks narrates his photographs

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Slating of Clayton Banks' interview

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clayton Banks lists his favorites

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clayton Banks talks about his father's childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clayton Banks talks about his mother's family background and her personality

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clayton Banks describes how his parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clayton Banks lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clayton Banks describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Clayton Banks describes the sights, sounds, and smells of Camp Pendleton in San Diego County, California

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Clayton Banks describes his personality as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Clayton Banks talks about his family's cross-country road trip in 1972

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Clayton Banks talks about a family road trip to the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Clayton Banks talks about his brother's career as a triple jumper

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Clayton Banks talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Clayton Banks talks about playing sports with his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Clayton Banks describes his childhood home

Tape: 2 Story: 16 - Clayton Banks describes his childhood neighborhood in Oceanside, California

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clayton Banks talks about his schooling and the student body demographic at Oceanside High School in Oceanside, California

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clayton Banks talks about his high school activities

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clayton Banks talks about his disinterest in the U.S. Military

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clayton Banks talks about his decision to attend California State University-Fullerton in Fullerton, California and race relations on the campus

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clayton Banks talks about majoring in communications at California State University-Fullerton in Fullerton, California

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clayton Banks describes his experience as an undergraduate student at California State University-Fullerton

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clayton Banks talks about his first job after college

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Clayton Banks describes working as a sales associate for Xerox

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Clayton Banks describes working at Showtime Networks

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Clayton Banks talks about mergers in the cable industry

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Clayton Banks talks about the campaign to launch The Movie Channel

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Clayton Banks talks about the revenue and pricing models for cable during the early 1990s

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Clayton Banks talks about the competition between HBO and Showtime

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Clayton Banks talks about Showtime executive Dennis Johnson and how a NAMIC connection led him to work at Sega Channel

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Clayton Banks describes the history of NAMIC

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Clayton Banks talks about his relationship with NAMIC members Don Anderson and HistoryMaker Douglas Holloway

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Clayton Banks talks about his tenure as president of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Cable

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Clayton Banks talks about the value NAMIC provides for its members and corporations

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Clayton Banks talks about NAMIC's funding

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Clayton Banks talks about the significance of the Sega Channel

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Clayton Banks talks about the cost and pricing model for Sega Channel

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Clayton Banks describes the Sega Channel's target audience and subscription base

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Clayton Banks talks briefly about his relationship with cable industry veteran Jamie Howard

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Clayton Banks talks about joining Comedy Central in 1997

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Clayton Banks talks about the impact of 'South Park' on Comedy Central

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Clayton Banks describes meeting HistoryMaker Isaac Hayes, the voice of "Chef" on 'South Park'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Clayton Banks talks about leaving Comedy Central and starting Ember Media

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Clayton Banks describes working with DigiCard technology

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Clayton Banks talks about potential in digital media development

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Clayton Banks talks about the evolution of Ember Media into a full-service digital strategy firm

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Clayton Banks predicts changes cable companies will have to make to remain competitors in the future

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Clayton Banks talks about data-driven television programming

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Clayton Banks talks about the current state of African Americans in the telecommunications industry

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Clayton Banks reflects over his twenty-five year career

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Clayton Banks talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Clayton Banks considers what he would do differently in his career

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Clayton Banks talks about his personal and professional role models and mentors

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Clayton Banks reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

1$2

DATitle
Clayton Banks talks about Showtime executive Dennis Johnson and how a NAMIC connection led him to work at Sega Channel
Clayton Banks describes the history of NAMIC
Transcript
--He [Dennis Johnson] ultimately became president of NAMIC [National Association of Minorities in Cable, later National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications] in '94 [1994], and then I became president of NAMIC in '96 [1996].$$Okay.$$(Simultaneous)--(Inaudible response).$$So you were talking about Dennis Johnson, okay.$$Okay. So NAMIC has played a tremendous role in my career. When I joined Showtime in '88 [1988], '89 [1989], one of the first people I met at Showtime was a gentleman by the name of Dennis Johnson, and Dennis Johnson was essentially the highest-ranking African American at Showtime at that time, and was head of programming, you know, part of the programming team. He had a long, distinguished career even before he joined Showtime, and he had worked on the 'Tonight Show' and all types of other activities. So he was a, a, a, a smart, capable guy that took me under his wing, and he was one of the people that introduced me to NAMIC, National Association of Multi-Ethnicity In Cable. And he encouraged me in my career, and was vital to me moving from California to New York; he was a well-respected man. Unfortunately, he just passed December 23rdrd in 2013, and--but, but he became president of NAMIC National in the mid-'90s [1990s], and I ultimately joined his board. Once I, you know, moved to New York and got involved, you know, even deeper, I joined his board and then I became the national president in 1996. So NAMIC has played an essential role in my career because I've met great people in, in my tenure as president. I was speaking at Penn State [Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania] to a group around a NAMIC event, and I met a gentleman on the panel named Bob Gerrard [Robert J. Gerrard, Jr.] and Bob Gerard, general counsel of HBO [Home Box Office], had been partnering with a guy named Stan Thomas [Stanley B. Thomas, Jr.], who was starting a network called Sega Channel, and Bob and I hit it off at Penn State and he said, "You oughta talk to us about joining us for Sega Channel." And at that time, I thought I'd never leave Showtime, but the opportunity to work for an African American chairperson, and I saw--I was already a video game nut, so the idea of bein' able to merge all that together was, was quite attractive, and I actually left a great career at Showtime for a start-up called Sega Channel.$Now I wanna, I wanna take you back a little bit just to talk about NAMIC [National Association of Minorities in Cable, later National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications] and what it is, and the history of it, you know, which you would have a lot of information and, you know, the founders and that type of thing.$$Well NAMIC was founded in 1980 by a group of young cable professionals that saw this industry becoming a very large industry, and the opportunities were limited for minorities, so it--typically in that case, you wanna formulate, you know, sort of a trade association, which NAMIC became, to encourage diversity in the industry. And a lotta great--one of the great founders is a guy named [L.] Patrick Mellon, who passed away, but he was an executive at TeleCable, and he became a mentor for many of us that, that came behind him, but he saw a vision, along with, you know, some of the other founders, that we could make a difference, and that difference is diversity, and we're seeing, you know, people like [Robert L.] Bob Johnson and, and [HM] Debra Lee and others that are, are, are able to succeed as a result of some of the efforts that NAMIC has put in, everything from doing studies around, you know, minority penetration in various places to being able to provide training for executives on, on, on how to, you know, how to run organizations, and things of that nature. We have--NAMIC has great programs across the board from all types of people. Now one of the things that we find is that a majority of the people of color are working in lower-end jobs, so we have to--we have to train those people to become mid-managers, and those people to become managers, and those people to become presidents. And so NAMIC plays a vital role in all of that.$$So who were some of the early people that you met, you know, in the industry, you know--you mentioned, and where are they located?$$Well, I first joined NAMIC in California, and so again, Dennis Johnson was a key person. We had a sort of an executive director that worked out of California, and her name was Reesa Booker [ph.]; she's still around, but Reesa Booker took me under her wing as well, and saw me as a, you know, an up-and-comer, and so she really helped me to, to see the potential in myself, but also in, in my leadership at NAMIC. Joe Lawson was another sort of good role model; he had been in the industry as well, and was working on the MSO [multiple-systems operator] side, and so when we put the Southern California Chapter together, we were all part of that. Kathy Johnson, who ended up running--bein' the president of NAMIC as well, all of us did--become president of NAMIC (laughter) at some point, but she was also very influential. She was working at Time Warner and I was her rep [representative], so we would always talk about NAMIC. And so in Southern California, these people were the--were shaping me, you know, helping me to understand how important it was to be involved in NAMIC and how important NAMIC, you know, what role that NAMIC would play in my career, which it did. I always tell the story that NAMIC made me a vice president before corporate America did. NAMIC made me a president before corporate America did, and yet I had the same sort of duties, as a vice president or a president, as I would in corporate America, so I always tell people, you know, "Don't underestimate what you can do in an organization." So these people were important in shaping who I was, and when I moved to New York [New York], then I met the whole New York sort of style of leadership, and people like Eric Lilly, who had become the president of NAMIC, New York, and this is when the, the great, you know, Nate Garner and [HM Douglas] Doug Holloway took me under their wing; they were both at USA networks and, you know, veterans of NAMIC, founders of NAMIC, so they were key in my development as well, and encouraged me to join the board, and ultimately I was one of the youngest presidents in the history of NAMIC.

H. Mitsy Wilson

Entertainment executive H. Mitsy Wilson was born on December 13, 1950 in Georgetown, Guyana. She grew up in New York, where she spent her formative years. Wilson graduated from the College of Mount Saint Vincent with her B.A. degree in sociology and social work.

In 1972, Wilson worked as a commercial coordinator for the New York broadcast station WPIX-TV. In 1973, she was hired as a social worker for the Seamen’s Society for Children and Families. Wilson went on to work for the New York Board of Education as director of counseling and special projects. In 1981, she was hired at New York Airlines, where she worked as both manager of training and consumer relations and manager of consumer affairs and baggage services until 1986. Continental Airlines acquired New York Airlines in 1986 and Wilson was promoted to director of consumer affairs and training.

In 1988, Wilson was hired as manager of management training and diversity at Times-Mirror Cable Television. She was promoted to director of leadership development and diversity at Times-Mirror Company in 1995; and, in 1999, she was named corporate vice president of leadership and organizational development. Then, in 2000, Fox Entertainment Group hired Wilson as senior vice president of diversity development, where she was responsible for development, execution and evaluation of all diversity initiatives. The appointment made her the highest-ranking African American female executive at the company. In 2005, she assumed responsibility for all diversity efforts for News Corporation. In 2011, Wilson became a founding partner of ForAfrica, an international consultancy firm specializing in leadership development solutions.

Wilson has received numerous awards, including the New York Governor’s Award in 1980, the Minorities in Broadcasting’s Phoenix Award in 2003, the 2006 NAACP President’s Award, and the 2010 Corporate Executive of the Year Award from the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. She is the Chairperson of Workplace Hollywood, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing, training and placing a diverse workforce in entertainment, and is a former member of the UCLA Medical Affairs Board, Nielsen Media Research African American Advisory Council, and Howard University School of Communications Board.

Wilson lives with her husband, Greg James, and has two daughters, Meisha and Alia; a stepdaughter, Shermian; and three granddaughters, Sherine, Shermika and Esther.

H. Mitsy Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on December 20, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.355

Sex

Female

Interview Date

12/20/2013

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Common Law

Middle Name

Eloise

Schools

University of California, Los Angeles

Queens College, City University of New York

College of Mount Saint Vincent

St. Nicholas Of Tolentine High School

St. Nicholas of Tolentine Elementary School

P.S. 91- Bronx School

St. Philip's School

First Name

Hazel

Birth City, State, Country

Georgetown

HM ID

WIL70

Favorite Season

Christmas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Costa Rica

Favorite Quote

That's Phenomenal.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

12/13/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

Guyana

Favorite Food

Roti And Curry Chicken

Short Description

Diversity specialist H. Mitsy Wilson (1950 - ) was a founding partner of ForAfrica and worked in diversity management for over twenty-five years. She became the Fox Entertainment Group’s first senior vice president of diversity development in 2000.

Employment

ForAfrica

News Corp. Fox Entertainment

Times Mirror Company

Continental Airlines

New York Airlines

Board of Education

Society of Seaman's Children

Favorite Color

Bright Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:2932,19:10452,222:20788,357:38020,619:44740,781:45300,790:54972,955:66290,1092:79978,1341:100234,1642:100538,1647:106542,1792:136926,2308:146279,2417:152160,2486$0,0:2236,81:8256,199:13432,274:21712,445:25261,507:25625,512:29902,641:37458,720:42925,857:43387,865:54380,990:55290,1020:56070,1035:57825,1071:61400,1185:61660,1190:64650,1273:80910,1436:83404,1481:99506,1711:99902,1748:100496,1759:103466,1816:103796,1822:105116,1859:106304,1891:114078,1977:116886,2042:119766,2122:137580,2444:143949,2485:145812,2536:150366,2655:152574,2709:153402,2738:164036,2861:179932,3133:181210,3158:181565,3164:184334,3231:184973,3242:185612,3278:187955,3336:195980,3360:197770,3399
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of H. Mitsy Wilson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of H. Mitsy Wilson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about her mother's career

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about her father's role in her upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her father's immigration to the United States

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers her paternal family's legacy in the sciences

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - H. Mitsy Wilson lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers moving with her family to the Bronx, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her early education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers her early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls her athletic achievements during high school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her academic success

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls her favorite television programs

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers her social activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls her college applications

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her experiences at College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers her professors at College of Mount Saint Vincent

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her social activities at College of Mount Saint Vincent

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about her decision not to attend law school

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls her position at WPIX-TV in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers working at the Seamen's Society for Children and Families in Staten Island, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about learning martial arts

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers working at a drug prevention program in Queens, New York, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers working at a drug prevention program in Queens, New York, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her role at New York Air in Queens, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers New York Air's merger with Continental Airlines

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls joining Times Mirror Cable Television, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls the start of her career in diversity development

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her work in management development at the Times Mirror Company

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers her promotion to corporate officer at the Times Mirror Company

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls the Times Mirror Company's hostile takeover by Tribune Media

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers becoming the senior vice president of diversity at Fox Entertainment Group

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls creating the diversity division at Fox Entertainment Group

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about Peter Chernin's support for diversity development

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls developing relationships with the presidents of Fox Entertainment Group

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers creating the diversity advisory board at Fox Entertainment Group

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes the diversity and development staff at Fox Entertainment Group

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her apprenticeship and mentorship programs

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls presenting her accomplishments to Rupert Murdoch

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers receiving the NAACP President's Award

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about her retirement from News Corporation

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls the start of her activism in Africa

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers founding ForAfrica

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - H. Mitsy Wilson recalls meeting with African leaders to develop programs for ForAfrica

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes ForAfrica's early leadership development programs

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - H. Mitsy Wilson remembers traveling to Africa with Ramsey Jay, Jr.

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about ForAfrica's international studies program

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about ForAfrica's potential impact on African Americans

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - H. Mitsy Wilson reflects upon her life, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - H. Mitsy Wilson reflects upon her life, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - H. Mitsy Wilson reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes her relationship with her second husband

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - H. Mitsy Wilson talks about her second husband's relationship with her daughters

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes the challenges faced by African Americans in Corporate America

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - H. Mitsy Wilson describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - H. Mitsy Wilson narrates her photographs, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - H. Mitsy Wilson narrates her photographs, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

7$8

DATitle
H. Mitsy Wilson recalls her position at WPIX-TV in New York City
H. Mitsy Wilson remembers becoming the senior vice president of diversity at Fox Entertainment Group
Transcript
I have a note here that you worked at WPIX-TV [New York, New York]?$$Yes (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) In--okay.$$(Laughter) Channel 11. I know, like, I did- didn't even know anything then. I, you know, graduated from school [College of Mount Saint Vincent, Riverdale, New York] and went in this for interview. And there was a woman who was heading up commercials at the time. And she needed an assistant, and they were only taking college grads. And she interviewed me and said, "Fine." The wonderful thing about it is--and who is the African American woman that was on Channel 11? Alma, oh, Alma Johnson, I think it was. She actually had a program on Channel 11 ['Black Pride'], and I had a wonderful opportunity to meet her. She kind of mentored me along the way in terms of understanding TV. But I, you know, I started out typing, you know, being an assistant to the head of commercial insertion. And then one day, I looked at the folks that were working and said, "Look, I can do more than this." So I became a commercial inserter. And that was interesting at that point because everything was done by typewriter. So you'd get a show, and they'd say the show is twenty-three minutes. And you'd have to fill the rest with commercials and public service announcements. So they tell you, "Okay, the show starts at eight o'clock, and the first break is at 8:01, 8:07." So then I'm typing in 8:07:00:00 to eight--and if it's ten seconds, fifteen seconds, it's got to be exact. So, and you're doing this by--manually. You know, you're not, there's no program there to help you do it. And I would sit back--and they were kind enough to give me the daytime programs because you couldn't screw up the evenings. If you screwed up the evenings with commercials, you were in trouble. So I got the daytime programs. And on Channel 11, I did kid programs, 'Howdy Doody' ['The Howdy Doody Show'] and all of that, Captain Joe Bolton and, so it wasn't that bad if you, you know, you were blank in those areas. But I will tell you, I used to sit there and watch, and my heart used to pound. Because if it went to black, it meant you messed up, and you didn't, you didn't allow enough time, or you may--had too much time in there. And the next day you'd just have your ops meeting, and, "What happened?" So I did that for a while. I enjoyed it, but my heart wasn't into it. And again, I didn't know what opportunities they had at TV. Had I known, I would have stayed.$So I got a phone call. Bonnie Hill [Bonnie Guiton Hill], who was corporate vice president of com- community and public affairs for Times Mirror [Times Mirror Company], a ver- a wonderful woman--she worked in the Reagan [President Ronald Wilson Reagan] White House and then came to us--called me on the phone and said, "Mitsy [HistoryMaker H. Mitsy Wilson], I just got a phone call from a headhunter. You know, Fox [Fox Entertainment Group] is looking for a head of diversity for their company. They have just signed an MOU, a memorandum of understanding with the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People]. And I think you'd be perfect for the job." And I said, "Fox, the Fox," (laughter)? That was the only thing I could say. "Rupert Murdoch's Fox," (laughter)? And I said, "(Makes sound)." She said, and she was so good. This is where it helps to have mentors and people who can help you move through your journey. The first thing she said to me is, "I hear what you're saying. But before you sit back and say, 'I don't think so,' I think what you need to do is hear them out. Find out what the company's about, find out, find out what they want they want you do to. I think you'd be great at it, anyway." So I said, "Okay, I'll do that." I met with the headhunter and went through a series of interviews. I then went to Fox and had about eight interviews at Fox--legal, the president of this company, president here--I mean I was, I was meeting everyone. And then I finally got a phone call saying that my--I'm a finalist and that I will now meet with the president of Fox, who was Peter Chernin at the time, and I might also be meeting with Rupert Murdoch. And at that point, they said to me, "And if you're not interested, please let us know now. Because I don't, we don't want to put you up for this and then have you go into, you know, the president and you know, the chairman, and say no." So I spent quite a bit of time to looking at, you know, what's this organization about, you know? What are some of the things they're doing, you know? And I had to separate--at that point, Fox Entertainment was its own stand alone company, and it was not connected to News Corp [News Corporation; News Corp]. So Peter ran Fox Entertainment as their chairman. And then Rupert ran News Corp. Peter was the CEO of News Corp, but they were stand alone units. So I sat back and I said to myself, "If it's Fox, I can do it." You know, and I looked at what the memorandum of understanding was asking for, and it's everything I've done in my career. So I felt comfortable with that. Now it was just a matter of going in and meeting with Peter Chernin and see do we agree? How is this going to work? I went in, met with him, had a wonderful interview, wonderful meeting with him. I was so impressed with him, and I think part of it is because he was a New Yorker (laughter). So you've got to understand, you know, the New York [New York] mentality. But he sold me on the job. Gail Berman, who I reported to when I got there--a go getter, definitely another New Yorker, who saw things outside of the box. You could tell she was committed to diversity in some of the work she'd done before she came to Fox. But Peter was the one that sold me on that, on, on the position. So I took the position as senior vice president of diversity and development.