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David A. Wilson

Journalist and media executive David A. Wilson was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1977 to Vernon and Beverly Wilson. One of ten children, he was raised in the Georgia King Village housing projects in Newark. Wilson went on to attend Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. In 1997, during his sophomore year in college, he was hired as an intern at WABC-TV in New York City, where he worked on the show Like It Is and was mentored by Gil Noble. Wilson received his B.S. degree in communications from Rowan University in 1999.

Upon graduation, Wilson worked at the assignment desk for local news outlets. In 2000, he was hired at Network News Service (NNS), where he served as lead producer and oversaw newsroom operations. Wilson went on to research and develop content for the award-winning CBS News program 48 Hours. In 2005, he left his job at CBS, co-founded the film production company Three Part Media LLC, and began work on the film Meeting David Wilson, a documentary that chronicles Wilson’s personal journey to find answers to today's racial disparities in America, where he served as director and writer. Meeting David Wilson premiered on MSNBC in 2008, and won the Radio-Television News Directors Association/UNITY: Journalists of Color Award.

In 2009, following the success of Meeting David Wilson, Wilson and Three Part Media founded NBC News’ TheGrio.com, the first video-centric news community site devoted to providing African Americans with stories and perspectives that are underrepresented in existing national news outlets. Wilson first served as managing editor of TheGrio, and was named executive editor in 2011. In 2013, TheGrio became a division of the MSNBC cable channel.

Wilson has been honored as one of The Network Journal‘s 40 Under 40.

David Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on February 19, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.063

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/19/2014

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Middle Name

Andre

Organizations
Schools

Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School

Milton Hershey School

Arts High School

Rowan University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Newark

HM ID

WIL71

Favorite Season

May, September

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Bahia, Brazil

Favorite Quote

You Are The Best You That Anyone Can Be. Don’t Forfeit That One Advantage In Life By Trying To Be Someone That You’re Not.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

4/15/1977

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Thai Chicken Red Curry

Short Description

Journalist and media executive David Wilson (1977 - ) wrote and directed the film Meeting David Wilson and cofounded TheGrio.com.

Employment

Network News Service

CBS News

Three Part Media LLC

TheGrio.com

WABC-TV

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Wilson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Wilson lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Wilson describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Wilson talks about his father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Wilson describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Wilson lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Wilson describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Wilson remembers the hardships of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David Wilson remembers the Georgia King Village housing project in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David Wilson describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - David Wilson describes his home in the Georgia King Village projects

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - David Wilson describes his family life

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - David Wilson talks about his father's abuse

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Wilson reflects upon his relationship with his father

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Wilson remembers growing up with ten siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Wilson talks about the 13th Avenue/Dr. MLK, Jr. School in Newark, New Jersey, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Wilson describes the quality of the education system in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Wilson talks about the 13th Avenue/Dr. MLK, Jr. School in Newark, New Jersey, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Wilson describes his decision to enroll at the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Wilson recalls his family's response to his enrollment at the Milton Hershey School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David Wilson describes his decision to leave the Milton Hershey School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David Wilson remembers returning to Newark, New Jersey to attend Newark Arts High School

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - David Wilson describes his early interest in art

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Wilson talks about the alumni of Newark Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Wilson remembers his interests during high school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Wilson remembers his friends at Newark Arts High School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Wilson recalls his decision to attend Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Wilson remembers developing an interest in documentary film

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Wilson remembers the influence of Gil Noble

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Wilson talks about his experiences at Rowan University

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - David Wilson recalls the influence of Professor Ned Eckhardt

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - David Wilson talks about his internship with Gil Noble

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - David Wilson remembers covering the assault of Abner Louima

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - David Wilson recalls covering the death of Betty Shabazz

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Wilson describes his short film 'Hidden Heroes: African American Women in WWII'

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Wilson remembers his first job as a production secretary for '48 Hours'

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Wilson describes his experiences of racial discrimination at CBS

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Wilson talks about 'The Ananda Lewis Show'

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Wilson remembers the production tactics on 'The Ananda Lewis Show'

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David Wilson describes the beginnings of the 'Meeting David Wilson' project

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David Wilson remembers the production of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David Wilson talks about the release of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Wilson talks about the creation of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Wilson reflects upon the documentary filmmaking process

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Wilson remembers the premiere of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Wilson recalls lessons from the making of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Wilson talks about the reception of 'Meeting David Wilson'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Wilson remembers launching TheGrio

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David Wilson describes the process of creating TheGrio

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - David Wilson talks about TheGrio's early competitors

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - David Wilson describes the challenges of building an online news source

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - David Wilson talks about his plans for TheGrio

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David Wilson talks about the racial gap in digital entrepreneurship

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David Wilson describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David Wilson describes his hopes for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David Wilson talks about the legacy of TheGrio

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David Wilson reflects upon his generation's legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David Wilson reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

6$6

DATitle
David Wilson remembers the influence of Gil Noble
David Wilson describes the beginnings of the 'Meeting David Wilson' project
Transcript
And, you know, are you familiar with Gil Noble?$$Yes.$$A legend--TV legend.$$We had wanted to do his interview and didn't get a chance.$$Oh. He, he changed my life. He changed my life. I was a bumbling, super stuttering, under confident kid. And the ritual with Gil was that, I would get there at WABC [WABC-TV, New York, New York] around eight o'clock in the morning. He would have me read the newspapers, and he would then have me come into his office and have me talk about what are the top stories and to explain and to articulate my views on those stories. And that did more for me than anything else. And he said, "Well," and he would give me exercises, you know, because at that time, I thought--I flirted with the idea of actually being on air. So he said, "Okay. Take a newspaper and you read the newspaper and you do it as if you're reading the news--the teleprompter." And I'll go home, read, you know, as I practiced. And it--you know, what it really got me comfortable with doing is being able to talk in public, and being able to be opinionated and share my thoughts in public. And he would have me sit down and watch interviews of--with, you know, Adam Clayton Powell [Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.]; interviews with Betty Shabazz. Every morning I would get a call, and, you know, I would answer his phone and I'll hear this voice, like, "Hello, David [HistoryMaker David Wilson]. Is Gil there?" I was like, "Who is this?" "It's Charlie Rangel [HistoryMaker Charles B. Rangel]," every, every morning. And, you know, calls from Charlie Rangel, Nipsey Russell, Percy Sutton; you know, giants. And, you know, they'd come by. Dr. ben-Jochannan [HistoryMaker Yosef ben-Jochannan], you know, the Egyptologist. These were his friends. And it was just really good. And that summer was really important because it's also--two big stories broke that summer. The Abner Louima case? And then also the, the death of Betty Shabazz. And so that was important that summer. I learned a lot that summer. And he taught me one thing that was really important, because, before I was not one who wanted to--you know, I come from Newark [New Jersey], and I didn't want to--I always wanted to distance myself from being the (gesture) black guy. The guy who did the black things. And I had an opportunity at NYABJ [New York Association of Black Journalists] when they were honoring Gil Noble, and his daughters were there, and I was so happy they were there, 'cause I got the opportunity--I was being--we received--TheGrio [thegrio.com] received an award, and I got to say something to his daughters, which was, "Look, you know, Gil taught me that it was no less of a virtue to cover news that impacted my community." You know, I had always wanted to be--do mainstream stuff and just stay mainstream, and he taught me that there was no shame and it was just as virtuous to cover black topics and to be a black journalist. And that--I can tell you right now with 100 percent certainty that if I had not encountered Gil Noble in my life, we wouldn't be here right now, because I certainly wouldn't be doing TheGrio [thegrio.com]--I don't know where I would be. And then, you know, my first student documentary project, when I got back to school [Rowan College of New Jersey; Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey], was a documentary called 'Hidden Heroes: African American Women in WWII.' And I that doc--it was about a ten minute doc--and I got Gil Noble to voiceover, do the voiceover on it. And we won several awards. The documentary was inducted into the women's memorial [Women in Military Service for America Memorial] in Arlington, Virginia.$$So let me ask you, did he ever tell you what he saw in you? Because he died when?$$Just maybe two years ago (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Two years ago.$$Um-hm.$$'Cause--his collection, you know. What happened to his collection?$$Oh, he had all of, you know, tons of foota- he has the largest--$$I know but what happened to it?$$I don't know. I mean it's (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) That was the thing, I think, people were questioning.$$Oh. He owned that, and he, he, he--$$He owned that--$$--and that was the pride of his life, his collection.$$Right. I just don't know what had happened to it. But 'cause he had gotten ill, right?$$Yeah.$And so, as, you know, I left and, and I--just so happened that, November, I'd done a little gig to help make ends meet for Victoria's Secret Fashion Show shoot, and I ended up meeting my, still business partner today, at that shoot. And had I never left that, you know, 'The Ananda Lewis Show,' I would have never met my current business partner. And we started doing some things. We had a business that we had started doing TV pilots. That didn't go anywhere. And then we launched another business doing sort of CD business cards. We had these business--CD business--CD business card CDs--business sized CDs that we would then go out and produce content for different corporations for, and put them on these cards. Somebody forgot to tell us that the Internet existed, and the business failed. But we did have some good clients. We had Penguin Books, was one of our clients. We had some other folks. And we got a lot of press coverage. We were in Newsweek, Black Enterprise, you know. We got some good coverage. And then it--$$Now did you ever come across [HistoryMaker] Clayton Banks and Ember Media in the--and that--'cause he had been doing that too? But he's older than you.$$No. Not that I--$$Okay. Okay.$$No.$$All right.$$No. No. I don't recall ever meeting him or that name.$$So your business partner, say his name again.$$Dan Woolsey.$$Dan Woolsey.$$Um-hm.$$Okay. And can you tell us about Dan?$$Dan is from Chevy Chase, Maryland. Sort of, you know, just a very white bread sort of guy, all-American white guy. We come from sort of completely different backgrounds, you know. He grew in middle of, you know, Chevy Chase, Maryland. His father is R. James Woolsey [R. James Woolsey, Jr.], former head of the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency]. And we still to this day have a very contentious relationship, but it's always good, you know. I always say that we're always on the same page, but never on the same paragraph or we're least, we're always on the same page, but not reading the same line. And--but we work well together because we're always making each other better. And so, at this particular time, doing the business, I just started to get interested in my family history. I always had an interest in my family history, because I always was curious about how did, you know, how did we end up in Newark [New Jersey], and you know, all of this. I always had this awareness of, well, how did I end of here? And so I started doing research, and I, obviously, worked at '48 Hours,' and so now I knew how to actually do research and find people and dig up information. And so I used that sort of skillset and knowledge from doing investigative reporting to start looking into my family's history. And I would tell Dan some of the things that I found out about my family. I told him that I found out about this white guy in North Carolina who was a direct descendant of my family's former slave owners, and, you know, his name is the same of mine, David Wilson, and that he owns this plantation--the--still the plantation--the plantation that used to be the plantation where my family was enslaved on, the land. So Dan was like, "Oh, you have to do a documentary. You got to do something with that." And I'm like, eh, I wasn't motivated by it. I never wanted to be on camera. And, you know, I had had my time where with the idea of being an on camera reporting, and I just knew that it wasn't something for me, and I didn't want to do it. And he kept on convincing me, and so eventually I relented. And at this particular time, I had gotten a--I had started working at CBS again. They had called me back to be--for a job at CBS in--Network News Service [Network News Service, LLC], which is an ABC, CBS, and Fox News conglomerate. And I eventually rose up the ranks and became lead producer there. It was never anything I was interested in. It was just a job. But Dan convinced me, he said, "Okay. Let's do this documentary." And I called my other buddy, Barion [Barion Grant], who went to high school with me [at Arts High School, Newark, New Jersey], and I said, "Well, Da- Barion, we're about to do this documentary ['Meeting David Wilson']. You should come." Barion had worked on 'Tupac Resurrection' documentary for MTV [Music Television; MTV]. And we, we started working on it.

Esther "E.T." Franklin

Media and advertising executive Esther “E.T.” Franklin was born on July 21, 1957 in Chicago, Illinois. Her mother, Dolores Johnson, was a teacher; her father, Leon Johnson, a teacher and minister. Raised in Wilberforce, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois, Franklin graduated from Evanston Township High School in 1975. She received her B.S. degree in business administration from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1979 and her M.M. degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Business School in 1993. Franklin has also completed certificate programs at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.

In 1980, Franklin was hired as a field project director at Market Facts, Inc. in Chicago. From 1982 to 1993, she worked for Burrell Communications, first as a market research analyst, and later as vice president and associate research director. In 1984, Franklin took a brief hiatus from Burrell Communications to work as a research manager for the Johnson Publishing Company. She was hired by Leo Burnett Advertising in 1993 and worked on various Philip Morris brands as vice president and planning director for Marlboro USA until 2001. At Leo Burnett, Franklin was instrumental in launching several corporate trend initiatives, including LeoShe, Foresight Matters and 20Twenty Vision, focused on the female consumer and twenty-something audience. She also appeared on Oprah, where she discussed LeoShe's research on beauty myths.

In 2002, Franklin was named senior vice president, director of consumer context planning for Starcom USA, a Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) company. She was appointed as executive vice president, director of cultural identities of Starcom MediaVest Group in 2006, and was later promoted to executive vice president, head of SMG Americas Experience Strategy in 2011. During her time at SMG, Franklin pioneered Cultural Communication Anthropology and worked on Beyond Demographics, a research study exploring the vital role of culture and identity in reaching consumers.

Franklin has received numerous honors for her work. She was named an AdAge “Women to Watch” and received the “Changing the Game” honor from Advertising Women of New York (AWNY). Franklin was honored with the prestigious “Legend Award” at the 2011 AdColor Ceremony, and was identified as one of the Top Women Executives in Advertising & Marketing by Black Enterprise in both 2012 and 2013. In addition, she has published several multicultural and subculture targeting pieces, and is sought out as a speaker and panelist on all topics related to the evolving consumer landscape.

Franklin has chaired The HistoryMakers National Advisory Board's Advertising/Marketing Committee and sat on the global advisory committee of the World Future Society. She has also served as a board member of the Family Institute at Northwestern University and the Chicago Urban League.

Esther Franklin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on October 21, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.257

Sex

Female

Interview Date

10/21/2014

Last Name

Franklin

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Northwestern University

University of Chicago

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Evanston Township High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Esther

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

FRA12

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

I'll Be Waiting For You.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

7/21/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Frozen Custard, Jelly Belly's, Popcorn

Short Description

Media executive and advertising executive Esther "E.T." Franklin (1957 - ) was the executive vice president and director of Starcom MediaVest Group Americas Experience Strategy. She also served as a vice president at Burrell Communications and Leo Burnett Advertising.

Employment

Starcom MediaVest Group

Starcom

Leo Burnett

Burrell Advertising

Johnson Publishing Company

Market Facts, Inc.

Favorite Color

Green

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Esther "E.T." Franklin's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Esther "E.T." Franklin lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Esther "E.T." Franklin remembers her family's trips to the segregated South

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her parents' education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Esther "E.T." Franklin recalls her early social interactions in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her early personality

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Esther "E.T." Franklin lists her siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her neighborhood in Wilberforce, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Esther "E.T." Franklin remembers her childhood in Wilberforce, Ohio, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Esther "E.T." Franklin remembers her childhood in Wilberforce, Ohio, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Esther "E.T." Franklin recalls her early experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Esther "E.T." Franklin remembers the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Esther "E.T." Franklin remembers the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Esther "E.T." Franklin recalls her commute to school in Xenia, Ohio

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Esther "E.T." Franklin remembers her early aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Esther "E.T." Franklin remembers Evanston Township High School in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her father's illness

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Esther "E.T." Franklin remembers joining the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes the development of her spirituality

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Esther "E.T." Franklin remembers her employment after college

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Esther "E.T." Franklin remembers joining the Burrell Advertising Agency in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes the culture of the Burrell Advertising Agency

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Esther "E.T." Franklin recalls working for John H. Johnson at Johnson Publishing Company

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Esther "E.T." Franklin remembers her first marriage

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her second husband

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Esther "E.T." Franklin remembers working for Philip Morris Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Esther "E.T." Franklin recalls the changing perception of tobacco products

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes the LeoShe initiative

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Esther "E.T." Franklin recalls her work at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her decision to join Starcom Worldwide

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Esther "E.T." Franklin recalls her early career at Starcom Worldwide, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Esther "E.T." Franklin recalls her early career at Starcom Worldwide, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her position at Starcom Worldwide

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her work on The History Channel's 'Band of Brothers'

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Esther "E.T." Franklin recalls her recognition as an Ad Age Woman to Watch

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Esther "E.T." Franklin talks about female advertising executives

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Esther "E.T." Franklin recalls becoming the director of cultural identities at Starcom Mediavest Group, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her role as the director of cultural identities

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes the female leadership at Starcom Worldwide

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Esther "E.T." Franklin talks about the Beyond Demographics project

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her relationship with her second husband

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her current position at Starcom Mediavest Group, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Esther "E.T." Franklin talks about the impact of digital media

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Esther "E.T." Franklin talks about the discrimination against African American consumers

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Esther "E.T." Franklin talks about the future of advertising

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Esther "E.T." Franklin reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Esther "E.T." Franklin shares a message to aspiring marketing professionals

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Esther "E.T." Franklin reflects upon her life and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Esther "E.T." Franklin narrates her photographs

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Esther "E.T." Franklin describes her work on The History Channel's 'Band of Brothers'
Esther "E.T." Franklin describes the culture of the Burrell Advertising Agency
Transcript
Now while you're in this role I believe was when you worked on the project with The History Channel [History]?$$The HistoryMakers?$$History Channel's 'Band of Brothers.'$$Yes. Yes.$$Can you describe that project and what your role was?$$History Channel 'Band of Brothers.' That was--at that time we were trying to think about how we're going to innovate in the media space and how is that going to--how we are going to be bringing it closer to consumer experience. The industry had been growing driven by technology and we felt if we can bring the consumer perspective into the mix that it would distinguish us from our competition. So there was an opportunity by the-'Band of Brothers' was being developed and there was an opportunity to place that--I'm sorry that was being placed on The History Channel. The History Channel came to our media organization [at Starcom Worldwide] with a traditional package. For X amount of money you can have thirty second spots here, you can have integration in this way you know the traditional media package. What we said is we want to do it a little bit different, we don't want to just place advertising in the, in the programming. We want to create lead in and lead out interstitials if you will. So if the 'Band of Brothers' is a series of episodes people might not necessarily be able to be see every, every segment of the series. What if instead of taking the traditional media package we use that time and create summary vignettes of the previous episode. So that if a person missed the previous episode when they sit down to watch instead of seeing a commercial leading in they'll see the summary from the previous episode and at the end of the program they'll see a lead in into the next one. So we used our media dollars to create those interstitials and place them in that manner and that was new and innovative at the time. It was a way to think about placing and using media and programming in a way that was--reflected consumer behavior versus placing advertising in programming.$$And what year is this?$$That had to have been around 2003.$$So HBO [Home Box Office] at this point is huge. Right? HBO is one of the main players in creating new content and now you're using interstitials in a different way because interstitials are not new but this use of interstitial is new--$$Yes.$$--and how effective was it?$$That was very effective. People were writing in about--we were able to increase people's engagement, in other words, time spent. They were talking about these interstitials as a new way of seeing how media was being used. So the [U.S.] Army was very happy and The History Channel was happy so that was very effective for us.$$So was the Army the advertising end of this?$$No, not necessarily. I can't remember exactly the clients that were involved in advertising. I don't, I don't remember.$$Um-hm.$And Tom Burrell [HistoryMaker Thomas J. Burrell], who's the leader of this organization that is in Chicago [Illinois]--most of advertising is in New York [New York] but Burrell is here in Chicago and he's quite a force. So you're a young woman working at this agency. Did you interface with them and what was your relationship like working with this powerhouse?$$It was great. I mean again my background--I come from a black family that was--I had a lot of exposure to black people that had a lot of power whether they were ministers or whatever. So it was--I was accustomed to that but Tom was great, he knew everyone and everyone knew him. At that time I think when I started at the agency maybe there were fifty people so I wasn't in the beginning but I was close to the beginning. There were some unique things that happened in those days. One of the things that happened was there was such a sense of camaraderie. And we had these talent shows. So I was there the year that the talent show started and I told you that I sew and I made my own--at that point I was making my own clothes. So I entered the talent show just like everyone else. It wasn't, it wasn't a big deal it was just fun you know do what you can do. We had it at [HistoryMaker] Howard Simmons' studio on Chicago Avenue. So my talent was the fact that I made my clothes so I found other women in the agency that were about my size and I put on a fashion show. So we're in the back, you know, drinking and eating and they're announcing the winner and somebody said well, "You've won," and I was like--I just kept eating and drinking, and they said, "No you won." So I won the first Burrell [Burrell Advertising Agency; Burrell Communications Group, Chicago, Illinois] talent show with my fashion show clothes that I had made. So that was something that--so Tom of course was giving the award so that happened. But again it was such a small environment and he was present all the time so I knew him just like other people.

Charles M. Blow

Journalist Charles M. Blow was born on August 11, 1970 in Gibsland, Louisiana. As a young boy, Blow was inspired by his mother, a teacher and school administrator. He went on to graduate magna cum laude from Grambling State University in Louisiana, where he received his B.A. degree in mass communications. As a student, Blow interned at The New York Times and was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Gramblinite. He also founded a now-defunct student magazine called Razz.

Upon graduation from Grambling State University in 1991, Blow was hired as a graphic artist for The Detroit News. He then joined The New York Times in 1994 as a graphics editor and subsequently became the paper’s graphics director, a position he held for nine years. Blow was later appointed as The New York Times’ design director for news before leaving in 2006 to become the Art Director for National Geographic magazine. In 2008, Blow returned to The New York Times, where he was named the paper’s first visual op-ed columnist. His column appeared twice-a-week, and he wrote a blog entitled "By The Numbers" for the newspaper's website. Blow also served as a CNN commentator, and appeared on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and HBO.

While at The New York Times, Blow led the paper to a best of show award from the Society of News Design for its information graphics coverage of 9/11, the first time the award had been given for graphics coverage. He also led the newspaper to its first two best in show awards from the Malofiej International Infographics Summit for work that included coverage of the Iraq war. Since 2011, Blow has been ranked on The Roots’ Top 100 most influential people list. In addition to these honors, he was one of the leading voices on the Trayvon Martin case in the first half of 2012.

His memoir, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, was published in 2014.

Blow lives in Brooklyn with his three children.

Charles M. Blow was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 11, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.208

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/11/2014

Last Name

Blow

Maker Category
Middle Name

Mcray

Occupation
Schools

Grambling State University

Gibsland Elementary School

Gibsland-Coleman High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Shreveport

HM ID

BLO03

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

8/11/1970

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fried Green Tomatoes

Short Description

Journalist Charles M. Blow (1970 - ) served as The New York Times’ graphics department head, as well as the paper’s first visual op-ed columnist. His memoir, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, was published in 2014.

Employment

The Detroit News

The New York Times

National Geographic Magazine

CNN

Shreveport Times

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Charles M. Blow's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Charles M. Blow lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Charles M. Blow describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Charles M. Blow describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Charles M. Blow describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Charles M. Blow lists his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Charles M. Blow describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Charles M. Blow describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Charles M. Blow talks about rural farm life in Gibsland, Louisiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Charles M. Blow describes his household

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Charles M. Blow describes his personality

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Charles M. Blow remembers telling his mother about his experiences of childhood sexual abuse, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Charles M. Blow remembers telling his mother about his experiences of childhood sexual abuse, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Charles M. Blow recalls his experiences of childhood sexual abuse

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Charles M. Blow describes his experiences during elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Charles M. Blow remembers the holidays

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Charles M. Blow talks about his early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Charles M. Blow recalls his favorite subjects in school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Charles M. Blow reflects upon his experiences of growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Charles M. Blow talks about the impact of his childhood trauma

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Charles M. Blow remembers his first romantic relationship, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Charles M. Blow remembers his first relationship, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Charles M. Blow describes his decision to attend Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Charles M. Blow remembers meeting Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Charles M. Blow describes his experiences at Gibsland-Coleman High School in Gibsland, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Charles M. Blow describes his experiences at Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Charles M. Blow talks about losing his southern accent

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Charles M. Blow describes his experiences with hazing at Grambling State University

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Charles M. Blow talks about his leadership roles at Grambling State University

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Charles M. Blow recalls changing his major to journalism

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Charles M. Blow talks about his student magazine, The Razz

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Charles M. Blow remembers the popular culture of his generation

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Charles M. Blow recalls his summer internship at the Shreveport Times

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Charles M. Blow recalls how he came to intern at The New York Times

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Charles M. Blow remembers arriving in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Charles M. Blow talks about his early experiences in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Charles M. Blow describes his experiences at The Detroit News

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Charles M. Blow talks about his experiences in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Charles M. Blow recalls joining the staff of The New York Times

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Charles M. Blow talks about raising his children in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Charles M. Blow recalls becoming the youngest department head at The New York Times

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Charles M. Blow describes his experiences as graphics director at The New York Times, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Charles M. Blow describes his experiences as graphics director at The New York Times, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Charles M. Blow talks about the theory of visual journalism

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Charles M. Blow remembers his staff at The New York Times

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Charles M. Blow describes his transition to National Geographic

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Charles M. Blow talks about his return to The New York Times

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Charles M. Blow describes his early career as an op-ed columnist, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Charles M. Blow describes his early career as an op-ed columnist, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Charles M. Blow describes his process for writing a column

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Charles M. Blow reflects upon his position as a columnist at The New York Times

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Charles M. Blow talks about his writing process and style

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Charles M. Blow talks about Hurricane Katrina

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Charles M. Blow remembers covering the shooting of Trayvon Martin, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Charles M. Blow remembers covering the shooting of Trayvon Martin, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Charles M. Blow reflects upon the state of the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Charles M. Blow describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Charles M. Blow talks about balancing his family and his career

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Charles M. Blow talks about his experiences as a celebrity

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Charles M. Blow describes the process of writing 'Fire Shut Up in My Bones'

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Charles M. Blow remembers telling his ex-wife about his bisexuality

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Charles M. Blow talks about the issue of bisexual invisibility

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Charles M. Blow talks about the perception of bisexuality in the LGBTQ community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Charles M. Blow reflects upon his legacy

DASession

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Charles M. Blow recalls how he came to intern at The New York Times
Charles M. Blow describes his experiences as graphics director at The New York Times, pt. 1
Transcript
So you were part of the--you had an internship here at the Times though (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) Yes, I did.$$Okay. And that was your--that's what--$$That was--so I first interned at the, at the Shreveport Times, and I--they liked what I did there and they offered me a part time job, so it was two or three days a week, I forget, forget what it was. And it was a full shift, though, so from one 'til nine [o'clock]. So I would have to do my classwork 'til noon, drive sixty minutes from Grambling [Louisiana] to Shreveport [Louisiana], and then do a full day's work, so I was exhausted. But I did that and one of the, the, the business editor kind of thought of himself as a mentor and he says, "You know, The New York Times is having this shop conference in Atlanta [Georgia] this weekend, you have to go." And I said, "There's no way I can go. I come over here, I'm working all these hours, I can barely get my homework done as it is and study for tests. I can't go away." He says, "No, you're going away because you have to go." So I begged one of my friends whose girlfriend has graduated and moved to Atlanta, I was like, "Can you--can we just drive there together? I have no money to get a hotel. Can we drive there together, and I'll sleep on the sofa and then I can go to this job conference?" And he says, "Yes, let's do it." And we drive and he drops me off at the job conference, and I walk in and there's a guard at the door, I don't know if it's an actual security guard, but he was watching the door, and says, "Well, you can't come in 'cause--because you had to preregister for the conference and you're not preregistered." And I said, "Well, what is preregister? What does that mean?" And he says, "Well, you had to pay a fee," you know, and I don't know what it was at the time, and you had to write an essay, you had to fill out this form. I said, "Give me the form. Give me a pencil." Got the form, I got a pencil and I sat down and I wrote an essay on the spot, I gave him whatever money he asked for, I said, "Now, I'm going into this job conference." And he said, "You know what? You go ahead." And I went in, and I had my little thing. I remember how I had it set up because we had those hard discs at the time. So I had a piece of--I, I, I thought I was so creative. And I had this piece of corrugated cardboard, and I cut out just enough space that the thing would stay in, and so it was pressed into the corrugated cardboard and that--and I made a book of my clips of my resumes, so it was like I had bindings and the corrugated cardboard, it looked very slick. They were heavy because I had a lot of them, but I'm dragging these things around and I'm giving them out. And everybody's very impressed that this kid has come and he has these discs and he has all this--these clips and he does this--he combines these two things that we've never seen combined before and he's just a kid. And I get to The New York Times booth and they say, "We can't interview you because you had to sign up ahead of time and our list is full." And I said, "That's fine. I, I understand. I'm just gonna sit here until someone doesn't show up." And this is early in the day, probably like eleven, twelve. I sit there until they break down, and this is like six or seven o'clock at night. I'm reading a newspaper over and over. I was reading the same story, but I'm pretending just to be engaged. I'm remembering all the etiquette cues that I've read in these books, and I'm sitting up straight, and I'm, you know, trying to communicate without having to say anything. And every time someone comes for an interview, I say hi to them and when they leave, I said, you know, "Good luck." And, and when they leave, I'm--they, they talk about who they just interviewed so I'm getting all this kind of opposition research 'cause I now know exactly what they want and what they don't like because they're saying it right in front of me, as if I'm not there. And when they're breaking down they eventually say, "Okay, we'll interview you. Fine. 'Cause you sat here all day." And I said, "Thank you." And I just launch into my thing, and using everything that I've learned all day from hearing them talk about other people. And when I'm finished they said, "You know, this is really impressive, but we don't have a graphics internship at The New York Times." And I said, "Okay, that's fine." And I leave the--you know, they had said this is very impressive so I'm walking on clouds, at that point, because The New York Times said I was very impressive. And I go home to my friend's house and come back the next day, 'cause the thing's, thing's over two days, and everywhere I go they said, "You know The New York Times is looking for you," the other newspapers keep saying this, "The New York Times is looking for you." Now, all I can think is that maybe I picked up a pen or something, or something I, you know, while I'm grabbing my things, I grabbed something that belonged to them and now they're like, "Get it back." And so I make my way back to their--to the desk and they say, you know, "We're really impressed with you and we did--but we did not have an internship, but last night we called back to New York [New York] and they made an internship just for you." And I became the first graphics intern at The New York Times.$$That's really pretty impressive.$$Thank you.$Okay, you become head. Then what ha- what do you put in place then? And who are you supervising?$$So there are, I don't know, there's probably thirty, thirty-five maybe people who do maps and graphics. And so what we start to do is to lean very heavily on this concept of combining journalism and design. And so a lot of, pretty much, well not pretty much, but most of what we're doing is independent research by the people on the graphics' desk. They're not--you're not looking at the list of stories and saying, waiting for someone to bring you things and, "Make a chart of it," or, "Make a map of it," or, "Make a diagram of it." You're looking at the list and saying what of these things could make really interesting visual explanations, and can we sell that to the desk? And so you look at--you have each--one person kind of coordinating for each desk, and you say, "Can you sell the science department a diagram of how the eye works to go with this eye story?" And they would--and if it worked, they'd say yes. And then you would get on the phones and talk to researchers and get them the facts, all sorts of diagrams and then you'd figure out how to make this display. And you'd explain it and write all the text that went into that diagram. So we really kind of, this, this idea that I really love, I think, you know, was something that came naturally--that already had existed at The Times [The New York Times] and we just leaned on it even further and really welded together these two kind of disciplines. And it really worked. It really worked and I think it changed, to some degree, the way people think about information. And, you know, now we hear terms like big data and information architects. Well, that was kind of what we were doing.$$So what was your usual turnaround when working with the desk? You know--the lead, sometimes these story leads are pretty short and sometimes they're not.$$Well, sometimes, I mean--we love breaking news 'cause we thought we could do it better than anyone. So a lot of this was breaking news. If the shuttle blows up, we're going to figure out how the shuttle's put together bolt by bolt by the time this thing goes to bed. And we will have that explanation of how it blew up and which panel came loose and why that is a problem. And what the g-force is in--how hot does it get on reentry. We, we had this phrase, we would say we became afternoon experts. By the afternoon, you had to be an expert on the subject 'cause it happened that day and you have to get up to speed. So sometimes that means buying books. And you read this, you read this part, and you read that part. We're going to meet at three o'clock and we're going to figure out what's happening. If that is, you know, Clinton [President William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton] gets impeached we have to come up to speed on constitutional law by this afternoon so we that we can--I got to this meeting at 4:30, we'll know exactly what we're doing and we will be smart enough to pull it off. And that's how we did it.$$So where did--is there any conflict at all with the rest of the news and editorial team with--was there ever a feeling that you would be overreaching into their areas, or--I'm just--$$No, I don't think so because it really was a visual explanation, so if it, if it, if it didn't work as diagrammatically or charting wise, that's not for us to do. We really were looking for the things that leaned, that only we could do. And if it was something only we could do, and the desk already agreed to deal with it--or to accept it ahead of time, no need to work on it, you're blind and then deliver something they don't have space for. That doesn't work. If they agree to it, then we all have buy-in, we all know what we're working on. We all know where the space is coming from and we can do it.$$Charles [HistoryMaker Charles M. Blow], this may seem a little naive question, but was there ever a situation where you, you know, that they had felt that you had misin- you know like, the writer itself thought that the image, or the diagram was not appropriate. Was there any (unclear) (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I think that that, I think that that, I think it happens but not--slightly differently--$$Okay.$$--in the sense that they think that, you know, sometimes it's just the limited amount of space and they may have to cut in order to accommodate and then the writer may think, well the value that's being offered here may not be the value of what's being cut and you may have that sort of conflict. But very often, they--you would learn things. I mean when we were, when we did the diagram of the Central Park Five, right. Doing the diagram of Central Park [New York, New York] topographically, so you could see all the hills and valleys, and what have you. And then putting everybody's testimony on the map, so that you can see physically there is no way for these people to be in both these places at the same time. It actually is incredibly helpful because then you can, then you can almost write from that, because you say there's no way it can--on the ground when you see it, there's no way it can happen.

Tonya Lewis Lee

Producer, author and lawyer Tonya Lewis Lee was born on March 30, 1966 to Lillian Glenn Lewis and George Lewis, a corporate executive at Philip Morris. Lee received her B.A. degree from Sarah Lawrence College in 1988, and her J.D. degree from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1991.

Upon graduation, Lee worked at the law firm of Nixon, Hargrave, Devans & Doyle (now Nixon Peabody LLP) in Washington, D.C., where she primarily serviced Gannett Co., Inc. on corporate and First Amendment issues. In 1992, during the Congressional Black Caucus Weekend in Washington, D.C., Lee met her future husband, Spike Lee. A year later, they were married in New York City in a private ceremony.

In 1998, Lee founded the media production company, Madstone Company, Inc., where she worked with Disney Television Animation and Nickelodeon. Lee produced the 2004 documentary, I Sit Where I Want: The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education, which won the Beacon and Parents’ Choice awards. In 2005, she executively produced the TV miniseries, Miracle’s Boys. Then, in 2006, Lee worked with TV Land to produce the talk show, That’s What I’m Talking About, which was hosted by Wayne Brady. The following year, Lee became the spokesperson for the Office of Minority Health’s campaign, “A Healthy Baby Begins With You,” which addressed the high infant mortality rate in the United States; and she then produced a documentary about the campaign, Crisis in the Crib: Saving Our Nation’s Babies. In 2012, she co-founded the film and television production company, ToniK Productions, which produced Lee’s co-written screenplay, The Watsons Go to Birmingham.

Outspoken on the issues of women and race, Lee has had a speaking tour schedule and has appeared on national and local television and radio stations across the United States. She has written for magazines such as Avenue, Gotham, O at Home and Glamour. She has also been featured in The New York Times, Avenue, Town and Country, New York Magazine, O, Essence, Ebony, NV Magazine, Redbook, Child and New York Family Magazine. Lee is co-author, with Crystal McCrary, of the 2004 novel Gotham Diaries, and has co-authored three books with Spike Lee: Please, Baby, Please (2002); Please, Puppy, Please (2004); and Giant Steps to Change the World (2011).

Lee resides in New York City with her husband and their two children, Satchel and Jackson.

Tonya Lewis Lee was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 6, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.104

Sex

Female

Interview Date

5/6/2014

Last Name

Lee

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Lewis

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Sarah Lawrence College

University of Virginia School of Law

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Tonya

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

LEE09

State

New York

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/30/1966

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Short Description

Producer, author, and lawyer Tonya Lewis Lee (1966 - ) was the founder of Madstone Company, Inc. and co-founder of ToniK Productions. She co-authored the 2004 novel Gotham Diaries, and has authored three books with her husband, Spike Lee: Please, Baby, Please; Please, Puppy, Please; and Giant Steps to Change the World.

Employment

Nixon Peabody LLP

Madstone Company, Inc.

ToniK Productions

Baratunde Thurston

Comedian and writer Baratunde Rafiq Thurston was born on September 11, 1977 in Washington, D.C. Thurston graduated from the prestigious Sidwell Friends School in 1995, and received his A.B. degree in philosophy from Harvard University in 1999.

From 1999 to 2003, Thurston worked as an associate for Cambridge Strategic Management Group and the Management Network Group. He then worked as a contract senior consultant for Altman Vilandrie & Company, and as a contract producer and advisor for Untravel Media. In 2006, Thurston co-founded the black political blog Jack & Jill Politics. From 2007 to 2012, he served as digital director for the satirical news outlet, The Onion. In the summer of 2012, Thurston co-founded the comedy/technology startup, Cultivated Wit, where he serves as CEO. He also writes the monthly back page column for Fast Company, and has contributed to the Huffington Post and the Weekly Dig. In addition, he is a semi-regular panelist on the podcast This Week in Tech, and hosted the Discovery Science show Popular Science's Future Of in 2009 and 2010. He performs standup comedy in New York City and across the United States, as well as delivers keynotes at South by Southwest, Personal Democracy Forum, and the Guardian Changing Media Summit. In May 2011, Thurston spoke at the presidential palace in Tbilisi, Georgia on the role of satire in a healthy democracy, and he has advised The White House on digital strategy and public engagement. In January of 2012, Thurston joined the MIT Media Lab as a director's fellow. He has been featured on CNN, NPR, BBC, and C-SPAN, as well as in the New York Times and Boston Globe.

Thurston has authored four books: Better than Crying: Poking Fun at Politics, the Press & Pop Culture (2004); Keep Jerry Falwell Away from My Oreo Cookies (2005); Thank You Congressional Pages (For Being So Damn Sexy!) (2006); and the New York Times best-seller, How To Be Black (2012).

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan honored Thurston “for changing the political and social landscape one laugh at a time.” He was also nominated for the Bill Hicks Award for Thought Provoking Comedy. The Root added him to its list of 100 most influential African Americans, and Fast Company listed him as one of the 100 Most Creative People In Business.

Thurston lives in New York, New York.

Baratunde Thurston was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 7, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.100

Sex

Male

Interview Date

4/7/2014 |and| 8/31/2016

Last Name

Thurston

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Rafiq

Occupation
Schools

Bancroft Elementary

Sidwell Friends School

Harvard University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Baratunde

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

THU02

Favorite Season

Summer Into Fall

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Goa, India

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/11/1977

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Bacon

Short Description

Comedian and author Baratunde Thurston (1977 - ) served as director of digital for 'The Onion' and co-founded Cultivated Wit in 2012. He is the author of Better than Crying: Poking Fun at Politics, the Press & Pop Culture (2004); Keep Jerry Falwell Away from My Oreo Cookies (2005); Thank You Congressional Pages (For Being So Damn Sexy!) (2006); and the New York Times best-seller, How To Be Black (2012).

Employment

Cultivated Wit

Jack and Jill Politics

The Onion

Kingly Companion Media, LLC

Discovery Communications

Huffington Post

The Weekly Dig

Altman Vilandrie & Company

Untravel Media

The Management Network Group

Cambridge Strategic Management Group

Favorite Color

Orange

Timing Pairs
0,0:778,77:3242,103:5882,162:6410,169:16618,325:21874,480:30768,612:31804,632:32100,637:36318,743:40092,824:40980,842:41424,849:45198,933:52620,1000:54020,1037:60015,1139:64760,1241:67753,1298:68118,1304:74220,1358:78750,1398:79115,1404:79699,1415:80064,1421:89189,1600:98174,1733:100690,1792:103070,1828:106850,1866:107305,1874:107630,1880:118560,2104:130180,2299:130500,2304:138926,2417:139291,2423:139583,2428:144998,2449:152629,2536:155432,2552:157652,2604:157948,2609:158392,2616:158984,2630:160908,2683:163276,2739:164238,2760:166236,2803:174314,2899:183360,3090:186240,3141:190808,3199:195410,3272:200867,3317:201175,3322:203100,3361:220200,3581$0,0:8854,149:25590,386:91803,1415:116756,1755:118384,1791:131177,2000:131572,2006:138381,2082:145551,2148:146706,2224:147938,2254:152173,2367:152943,2379:166616,2558:167526,2678:174440,2731:175170,2787:191110,2977:197590,3074:203862,3298:233127,3665:233379,3670:233820,3679:234450,3695:252201,4055:253742,4084:261230,4190:266121,4303:291800,4706:294044,4738:298220,4778
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Baratunde Thurston's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Baratunde Thurston lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his maternal grandmother and his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Baratunde Thurston describes the different complexions in his family

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his mother's political activism

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his childhood personality

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Baratunde Thurston describes the change in his mother between his sister's childhood and his own, pt.1

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Baratunde Thurston describes the change in his mother between his sister's childhood and his own, pt.2

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his sister

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Baratunde Thurston talks about playing music as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Baratunde Thurston describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Baratunde Thurtson describes his childhood neighborhood in Washington, D.C.'s Columbia Heights neighborhood

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Baratunde Thurtson talks about moving to Takoma Park, Maryland due to the crack epidemic in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Baratunde Thurtson talks about his grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Baratunde Thurtson talks about Marion Barry, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Baratunde Thurtson talks about Marion Barry, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Baratunde Thurtson remembers his favorite teachers from Bancroft Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Baratunde Thurtson talks about his childhood activities

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Baratunde Thurston talks about Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Baratunde Thurston describes his experience at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his involvement in Ankobia while a student at Sidwell Friends School

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his extracurricular development at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Baratunde Thurston describes writing a school paper about U.S. propaganda

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Baratunde Thurston talks about racial politics at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Baratunde Thurston talks about the self-segregation of youth

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Baratunde Thurston remembers going to Senegal as a student at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Baratunde Thurston talks about attending the Million Man March in 1995

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Baratunde Thurston talks about his favorite teachers at Sidwell Friends School

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Baratunde Thurston talks about HistoryMaker Rickey Payton, Sr.

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

2$3

DATitle
Baratunde Thurston describes his experience at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C.
Baratunde Thurston talks about his involvement in Ankobia while a student at Sidwell Friends School
Transcript
Yeah, okay. How does that affect your sense of self when you're a kid, when you're around people that have much more money than you?$$Well--so the idea of bein' around money and the effect on my sense of self--subconsciously, it might have had an effect on me not really inviting kids to, to my home; it was a real point of contention. My mother [Arnita Thurston] was always annoyed I'd invite people over, especially after we moved to Takoma Park [Maryland]--had this nice big house, this big yard; and I don't think of it as shame as what kept me from doing it, I think it was just like awkwardness. I just wasn't developed in that area enough to be like, "Yeah, everybody come over." Now, I actually love hostin' things; I throw dinner parties and events at bars, and I'm all over the globe hostin' things. But as a teenager, I was a little more shy in that regard. I'm fine being on stage, but bringin' people into my home just didn't quite cross my mind, so the early effect of goin' to a school like Sidwell, coming out of a school like Bancroft [Elementary School], was shock; there was definitely a cultural adjustment. You know, there was a bit of an Ebonics tone that I had to my style of speech, which I remember these two white kids, these twins, makin' fun of--there were these blond hair, blue eyed, thin dudes--twins--they were just so classically out of some kinda book, and their names were quite similar. It was like Ricky and Richard--somethin' like that; just one letter off kinda between them, and they were makin' fun of the way I spoke and we actually came to a little physical violence; I just went over and kicked one of 'em 'cause I was just tired of hearin' 'em talk, you know, all this nonsense. That wouldn't end up bein' my preferred method of conflict resolution over time but, you know, there was--it was, it was weird, that seventh grade year. My name was strange to people, and just seeing the houses--I remember visiting a friend who lived in Georgetown [Washington, D.C. neighborhood], and I never been to anybody's house in Georgetown, you know. Anybody's house I'd been in was in the neighborhood, or maybe a friend of my mother's, and this was a--like stupendous house; he had these speakers that were super-thin, I'm like--how do you have speakers like that? Big old TV, cable--we were watchin' like MTV or somethin'--some kinda cable or music video thing--this is early high school. But I don't think it affected me in the sense that it made me want all that, or feel bad about the stuff I had. I also got exposed--I had a preconceived notion about rich people problems, and that they didn't have 'em, and white people problems that they didn't have 'em, and I discovered by goin' to school with them and socializing and doing plays and, you know, just having human relationships--like everybody's got problems, and there's some kids who can't come outta the closet 'cause their parents would be ashamed. And there's some kids who can't make their own choices 'cause their parents have had their lives all mapped out for them. And I remember feelin' very lucky as well, being at that school, of the household that I came from, and that I was encouraged to try this and play that and go here and be that, and didn't have any career expectation that I'd have to take over the family business or live up to some name. That was a real eye-opening experience for me with that side. My previous experience is like the Jetsons, Benson (laughter), like I don't know who my references were, but they were through television mostly.$Okay. Now you had like two streams, and you discuss 'em in your book--$$Emm hmm.$$--'How To Be Black.' Two streams of Ankobia--$$Yeah.$$--Rites of Passage project, and Sidwell Friends [School, Washington, D.C.]. So you had these two cultural paths--divergent paths--$$Yeah.$$--with one (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--One person (laughter) straddling the line.$$Right.$$That was a part of my mother's [Arnita Thurston] genius in how she sent me Sidwell where she also enrolled me in a pan-African Rites of Passage program called Ankobia.$$And that's spelled--$$A-N-K-O-B-I-A; it is born out of a pan-African group not unlike the one she was a part of in the '60s [1960s] and '70s [1970s] that stayed together, and we created an Afrocentric school called Nation House Watoto [ph.], and had extra programming to assure their youth into adulthood. Men--boys' program, girls' program, meeting every Saturday for enrichment of the mind and the body. And so we read a ton of books that were never on the Sidwell Friends reading list or the public school reading list, we learned to drum, we learned African dance, went out to the country, and we were schooled then in a different way of being and a different level of pride, so--oh, and the way we found that program was through the principal at the Sidwell Friends School, which still blows my mind. Like, there's a black dude running the Sidwell Friends Middle School at the time, who's also an elder in this pan-African program; that's in the same person.$$Okay, what was his name?$$Bob Williams; Robert Williams--yeah. Yeah, he was, he was known to us as Baba Jawanza [ph.].$$Okay.$$Yeah.$$All right, all right.$$So this is, this is a brother livin' two lives too, you know, dealin' with boards of trustees and all these parents, and college, you know. Well, in middle school, you're not really dealing with college people too much, but then dealing with this program, you know, and the curriculum and what--what is it that you should have a young black mind know? And what experiences should it have to prepare us for the world?$$Now this is an interesting idea. Well, for years, Jewish people--$$Yep.$$--have like a Friday (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--They have Hebrew School.$$--Hebrew School--$$Yeah.$$--for the children, where they learn everything it is about being Jewish--$$Emm hmm.$$--and the history and culture and all that--$$Yeah.$$--and it's not religious study (unclear), you know, under the political position (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous)--Yeah.$$--of Jewish people in the world of what's important, what isn't, you know, and the stories, the folklore, or all that other--you know, the dance, arts, and so this is--I don't know if the worlds are quite as different as (laughter) the ones Ankobia would have in a (unclear).$$I think what it--you know, it was--I joke that it's the Hebrew school for blackness. I mean what it did for me in the Sidwell environment is it just gave me somethin' else; it gave me some depth, it gave me some conflict, it gave me another perspective to see the world, it gave me some weird traditions to carry. You know, there's a--sort of an initiation component to the program; we had to wear this African medallion every day, like you're not supposed to take it off--ever. And so that means I had to explain this to my classmates. "What is--why--what is this thing around your neck?" "Well, I'm a part of this program and I have to wear it." And so it forced a level of publicity around pride in self, and around your history that might have been different from what was being taught. Not that--I mean Sidwell is a very progressive school, so it's also the school where at high school I took an elective in Islam and an elective in African history, taught by a black person. That's not typical in a public school system (laughter), or of a lot of the private school systems, certainly at the time, so I feel like, you know, there's a lotta tension in goin' to a school like that, there's a lotta race issues and class issues, but I also was very fortunate that that was the version of that experience that I got because of the principal I had that led us to Ankobia, because of the nature of the Quaker traditions that were viewed in some of the processes in a place like Sidwell that might not have been in a Catholic version or in a purely money version that has no spiritual or religious grounding--yeah.$$Okay, all right. So this--$$Those are the hippie version, you know. I mean there's, there's looser versions, you know. There's--I think Georgetown Day [School] was hippy-er [ph.] than Sidwell Friends, but Saint Albans [School], which is attached to the cathedral and the church, is much more strict and narrow, in certain ways, than a Sidwell.

Ricki Fairley

Marketing executive Ricki Fairley was born on June 17, 1956 in Washington, D.C. to Wilma Holmes and Richard Fairley. She graduated from Dartmouth College in 1978 with her B.A. degree in English. She went on to receive her M.B.A. degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in 1981.

Upon graduation, Fairley was hired as an associate brand manager for McNeil Consumer Products Company in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. She then worked as an associate brand manager at Nabisco from 1984 to 1988, and as senior brand manager at Reckitt & Colman from 1989 until 1995. In 1995, Fairley was named vice president of marketing for the SEGA Channel, and from 1996 to 2000, she served as marketing director for The Coca-Cola Company. She then worked as vice president of marketing for Chupa Chups USA from 2000 to 2003, and as partner and strategist for PowerPact, LLC from 2003 to 2005. In 2005, Fairley was hired as partner and senior vice president of strategy and planning for IMAGES USA, and promoted to chief marketing officer and partner in 2009. In February of 2012, Fairley established DOVE Marketing Inc., where she serves as president.

Fairley is the president emeritus of the Black Alumni of Dartmouth Association, is a member of the Dartmouth Committee on Trustees, and serves as board chair of Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company. Fairley has also served on the boards of the Latin American Association, Ne-Yo’s Compound Foundation, and Move This World. She manages the relationship between the Links, Inc. and the White House Office of Public Engagement as a member of the National Women’s Issues and Economic Empowerment Committee, and is a member of the Silver Spring, Maryland Chapter of the Links, Inc.

Fairley holds the Leadership Award from the Creative Thinking Association of America, was named a Top 100 Marketer by Black Enterprise magazine in February 2011, and is a member of the 2011 Class of Leadership Atlanta. She received the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) 2013 Multicultural Excellence Award for the African American radio advertising for the Obama for America campaign.

Fairley has two daughters, Amanda and Hayley; both are graduates of Dartmouth College.

Ricki Fairley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 31, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.069

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/31/2014

Last Name

Fairley-Brown

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Occupation
Schools

Dartmouth College

Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Business

Academy Of The Holy Cross

Keene Elementary School

St. Anthony Catholic School

St. Michael the Archangel School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Ricki

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

FAI04

Favorite Season

Summer

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Negril, Jamaica

Favorite Quote

No Is Never The Answer, It's Always How.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Maryland

Birth Date

6/17/1956

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Baltimore

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Hot Fudge Sundaes

Short Description

Marketing executive Ricki Fairley (1956 - ) was the founder of DOVE Marketing Inc., and worked as a brand manager and senior marketing executive at top corporations for over thirty years.

Employment

McNeil Consumer Products Company

Nabisco

Reckitt & Colman

Sega Channel

The Coca-Cola Company

Chupa Chups USA

PowerPact, LLC

IMAGES USA

DOVE Marketing, Inc.

Favorite Color

Purple

Timing Pairs
0,0:11882,242:12426,252:16564,271:19250,289:20340,302:20885,308:39646,610:40192,619:51335,754:51595,759:51855,768:55090,817:56440,849:59890,898:60640,910:61840,929:78120,1159:79256,1177:80818,1206:88645,1295:89425,1307:89880,1317:90985,1337:97485,1510:104110,1582:104630,1597:114965,1906:115355,1913:120262,1930:121419,1951:121864,1978:123288,1999:125890,2007:126640,2071:127240,2101:132190,2181:132790,2190:149710,2414:152990,2504:165619,2800:166222,2823:171220,2878:171780,2887:173220,2916:173540,2921:173860,2926:188239,3136:188634,3142:193216,3234:198904,3361:204325,3417:206788,3455:222235,3792:226180,3835:226600,3842:231710,3979:232690,4001:235420,4142:235700,4167:242015,4222:242477,4230:242939,4238:246480,4307$0,0:6972,201:14800,246:20456,323:20900,330:22824,379:25340,443:25636,448:32296,597:38303,638:38730,689:43254,760:48014,887:49578,919:72919,1349:81969,1423:117945,1998:118189,2003:122830,2096:127236,2151:127780,2161:128256,2171:128664,2178:128936,2183:130840,2219:131520,2230:134784,2314:149095,2537:156976,2718:157260,2744:171148,2891:172534,2927:175932,2940:176415,2949:177105,2960:179796,3013:187115,3193:187790,3203:195440,3373:204314,3549:241264,4050:241568,4154:250242,4267:253266,4338:253914,4350:262652,4457:265130,4556:271756,4623:280630,4734:288610,4872:289218,4882:306098,5067:307580,5102:318180,5311:318740,5370:333140,5498
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ricki Fairley's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ricki Fairley lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ricki Fairley describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ricki Fairley remembers her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ricki Fairley describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ricki Fairley talks about her paternal great-grandmother's memories of Frederick Douglass

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ricki Fairley talks about her paternal family's emphasis on education

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ricki Fairley describes her father's educational experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ricki Fairley talks about her parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ricki Fairley describes her parents' personalities and her likeness to them

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ricki Fairley talks about her sister and immediate family

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ricki Fairley describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ricki Fairley describes her upbringing in Silver Spring, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ricki Fairley describes her schooling

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ricki Fairley remembers her father's emphasis on Ivy League education

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ricki Fairley talks about her early interests and activities

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ricki Fairley remembers her first exposure to black advertising

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ricki Fairley talks about her father's involvement in her career

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ricki Fairley remembers her experiences at the Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington, Maryland

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ricki Fairley talks about her early literary interests

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ricki Fairley remembers traveling with her family

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ricki Fairley recalls her arrival at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ricki Fairley talks about the black community at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ricki Fairley remembers adjusting to college life

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ricki Fairley recalls her influences at Dartmouth College

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ricki Fairley remembers the all-black cheerleading team at Dartmouth College

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ricki Fairley recalls her decision to attend the Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ricki Fairley reflects upon her father

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ricki Fairley recalls her experiences at the Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Ricki Fairley remembers her internship at the McNeil Consumer Products Company

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Ricki Fairley talks about her first marketing position at the McNeil Consumer Products Company

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ricki Fairley describes Johnson and Johnson Products' response to the Chicago Tylenol murders

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ricki Fairley remembers marketing Children's Tylenol and CoTylenol

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ricki Fairley remembers working for RJR Nabisco, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ricki Fairley remembers her experiences at Reckitt and Colman plc

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ricki Fairley describes the collapse of the Sega Channel

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ricki Fairley recalls the discrimination against mothers in Corporate America

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ricki Fairley describes her role at The Coca-Cola Company

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ricki Fairley recalls establishing the Idea Works think tank at The Coca-Cola Company

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ricki Fairley remembers creating the Dasani bottled water brand

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ricki Fairley recalls developing the Coke Cards promotion

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ricki Fairley remembers initiating The Coca-Cola Foundation's sponsorship of the Essence Music Festival

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ricki Fairley remembers The Coca-Cola Company's advertising deal with the 'Tom Joyner Morning Show'

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ricki Fairley describes her work at Chupa Chups U.S.A.

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ricki Fairley remembers marketing pasta during the low carb diet trend

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ricki Fairley recalls marketing Hillshire Farm to the black community

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ricki Fairley describes Hillshire Farm's relationship with Steve Harvey

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ricki Fairley remembers the impact of her breast cancer diagnosis

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ricki Fairley remembers her work on President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ricki Fairley remembers her work on President Barack Obama's reelection campaign, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ricki Fairley talks about founding DOVE Marketing, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ricki Fairley talks about the future of black advertising firms

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ricki Fairley describes her company, DOVE Marketing, Inc.

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ricki Fairley talks about her breast cancer advocacy

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Ricki Fairley reflects upon her life

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Ricki Fairley talks about her father's perspective on her career

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Ricki Fairley describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Ricki Fairley talks about the support for black entrepreneurs

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Ricki Fairley reflects upon her legacy and how she would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

1$4

DAStory

6$6

DATitle
Ricki Fairley talks about her paternal great-grandmother's memories of Frederick Douglass
Ricki Fairley recalls the discrimination against mothers in Corporate America
Transcript
They're from your [paternal] great-grandmother, I guess right?$$Yes.$$Okay. What was her name?$$Her name was Cora Wilkinson.$$Um-hm.$$And--$$So you've got her letters, that's really--$$Yeah they are very, very cool, handwritten letters. She tells the story of moving to Washington [D.C.] when she was about twelve and her dad was actually run out of Charleston [South Carolina] by the Klan [Ku Klux Klan, KKK]. He was very kind of rebellious and kind of a (background noise)--you know, and they owned--the family owned a oak farm in Charleston and he was kind of run out of town and fled to D.C. and built a house in Anacostia [Washington, D.C.] using the oak from the farm and they were sitting on the porch one day and Frederick Douglass happened to walk down the street and walked up and knocked on the door and said, you know, "Who built your house? I just bought the land next door and I'm looking for someone to build a house." And her dad, I guess my great-great-grandfather said, "I built the house from my farm in Charleston." He's like, "Well build me a house." So he actually built Frederick Douglass a house next door. And her letters talk about how she was afraid of Frederick Douglass because her--him and her dad used to argue at night sitting on the porch. Her dad would always talk about him because he had--was like I think somewhat of a womanizer and always had white--had several white wives. They would have these arguments over politics or whatever and they always would kind of wake her up from sleep arguing about stuff. It was probably--you know, that was their relationship, I don't think it was mean, I think it was sort of how they talked to each other, it was fun. But it distur- it disturbed her as a kid and she told these stories like I don't know they woke me up again and I don't know what they are fighting about, I wish they would shut up and the letters are pretty funny. But, but that was sort of the story there and then later there is actually an area in Annapolis [Maryland] called Highland Beach [Maryland], you know Highland Beach? It's a black beach, so Frederick Douglass actually bought this peninsula in Annapolis called Highland Beach and sold the land to black families to have--to let them have a beach house. So, my--so, I think Highland Beach was established in 1896 [sic. 1893] and so somewhere in there our family did buy land there. So we have some land in Highland Beach.$$Yeah I think it was all--it was purchased in Douglass' name from what I recall on the tour, you know Douglass died in 1895--$$Yes.$$--but his son [Charles Douglass] actually managed the development (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Managed the development, and actually his daughter [Rosetta Douglass]--he never lived in the, in the house there. There is a house there that's his house but his daughter did--lived in the house and the house is like a museum. It's a very, very cool place to go to, and--$$Right, I think Mary Church Terrell's descendants operate the museum.$$Yes and she lives next door, Jean [Jean Langston], yes.$$Exactly.$$So they all grew up with my parents.$$So Douglass would argue about his--his girlfriends.$$His girlfriends, his politics, whatever and the way Cora described it, it was like gosh they are arguing again, now what are they talking about. I think she was probably like a young teenager.$$What--what was your--now this would be--Cora would be your great-grandmother so it would be your great-great-grandfather (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Yes, yes, yes.$$--who was arguing with Frederick Douglass. Do you know his name?$$No but I can tell you later, I can look it up.$$He was the one who was chased out of North Carolina [sic.] by the Klan (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) Out of North Carolina, yes I do have his name I just--forgive me, I have a really great memory but I just don't have same day service (laughter).$$No this is good because it gives people a clue. That's why I asked the question just to give people a clue because if you don't know his exact name that's all right (unclear) (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) I have it though, yeah, we have--$$Yeah, okay.$$--a great recording and actually--actually what we've been able to find is that they--they all went to Oberlin [Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio].$Do you have kids yourself at this point?$$So, in--my daughters were born in '85 [1985] and '92 [1992]. So I had Amanda [Amanda Brown] when I was at Nabisco [RJR Nabisco, Inc.] and I was the--I should have told this story back then but I was the only woman in the office that had kids--had a kid. I hid it until I was six months pregnant. I just kept putting safety pins in my skirt. And, you know, I was pretty thin so I could sort of get away with it for a while until one day I threw up in my plate at the lunch table (laughter) and I had to finally tell them that I was pregnant. It was a major deal, I was, I was a month away of getting promoted; they promised me that I would be promoted to brand manager and the VP of marketing took me out to lunch that day and said, "Ricki [HistoryMaker Ricki Fairley] you have done a disservice to this company. We were banking on you, we were going to invest in you, we were going to promote you but now you got pregnant and I have no guarantee that you're going to come back. So and if you tell this conversation to anyone, it's between me and you, I am not going to be able to promote you now and if you reveal this conversation, I will deny it." So I went back after lunch--I'm, whatever, twenty-nine years old go back after lunch. My boss was a woman. The women in the company all wore suits with ties. A couple of them were married, most of them were not married, never had kids, weren't even thinking about it. The women before me were hard core.$$They wore men's suits and ties?$$They wore like (gesture)--they were hard core. They were not about to even think about having a baby. And my--so I had a woman boss, and she had a woman boss, and then we had a male boss on top of her who had five kids, whose wife stayed home. And so, so I went to my boss and I told her what happened and she was like horrified so she went to her boss and her name was Valerie Friedman--she went to her boss and he went to bat for me, the guy with the five kids and he reported to the VP at the time and he went to bat for me and I got promoted like three days later, eight months pregnant. But it was a fight and even then when I came back from maternity leave, they did everything possible to challenge me and they gave me an assignment where I had to travel every week to see if I would--if I could stick it out. And literally my mom [Wilma King Holmes] at the time was--I would literally get on a plane in Newark [New Jersey], fly to D.C. [Washington, D.C.], throw the baby at my mom, check the baby's luggage--Amanda's luggage on the plane and then I'd run and get on another plane going where I was going and my mom would take the kid and the--get the luggage and take the kid. And we did that for about six months until I proved myself that I was going to be able to work with a baby. And, for the first six months of her life we did that and then I had a live in nanny after that. They did everything possible to challenge whether I could have a kid and work too. So, and I was determined so, then I had Hayley [Hayley Brown] at Reckitt and Colman [Reckitt and Colman plc; Reckitt Benckiser Group plc] right when I started the trade marketing department and it was a new day and I said, "You know what, the kid is attached to the boob, the boob has to go on the road, the kid goes with the boob." I forced it on them and literally I would have the people working for me pushing this stroller and we would go on a business trip and one guy his name was Tim [ph.] and he's like, "I got the stroller today," because someone would carry my briefcase, somebody would take the baby but I took her everywhere. I travelled with her until she was off the boob for a year and I travelled with Amanda when she was out of school, we would all go, everywhere. So, you know, I was like--it was a different, you know, corporate environment and, and I tried to open the doors for other women to have babies because it was not heard of.$$So it's possible to do that, it's just the culture of the company that makes it difficult to--$$Yes, yes and in those days they didn't know it, their wives stayed home. They went home and dinner was cooked and the babies were in bed and they were happy campers. They didn't have a concept for a woman, "You know I've got to go get--my kid is sick, the school just called and I've got to go get my kid." That was not a concept for them and I think the women around me we just okay, we're going to deal, and teach them how to deal.$$So they were out of touch.$$Yeah they just didn't know. They were men--white men who never had to think about it, right.$$And their reaction--initial reaction was to stress you out.$$Yeah and so but I mean I had to have a live in nanny because I travelled and I had to make choices. I had--I had a live in nanny that lived with me from when Amanda was about six months until she was five and then we had a nanny until we moved to Atlanta [Georgia] until I'd say she was about eleven and then I had a nanny--and when they, when they--Amanda turned sixteen and could drive because at that point it becomes a driving thing. Amanda said, "Okay mom I'm done with nannies, I can drive now." So I said okay and we gave up the nanny. It was like a family decision, "All right well the nanny does these five jobs. Which one are you going to do, 'cause the jobs aren't going to go away." So, but, my kids are still very close to our one nanny that we had the longest, Holly Ann [ph.].

Donna Byrd

Publisher Donna Byrd was born on April 26, 1970 in Fort Lee, Virginia. She was raised in a military family, grew up in North Carolina and Virginia, and graduated high school in Germany. Byrd received her B.A. degree in American government from the University of Virginia in 1992, and her M.B.A. degree from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in 1996. She also studied business at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

In 1992, Byrd was hired as an assistant sales manager for Procter & Gamble, where she worked until 1994. From 1996 to 1999, she served as a brand manager for the Coca-Cola Company, where she developed marketing and sales strategies. In 1999, Boyd was named vice president of marketing for EzGov.com. Then, in 2001, she helped Tom Joyner launch BlackAmericaWeb.com, one of the top three African American news and lifestyle websites. Boyd served as chief executive officer of BlackAmericaWeb.com until 2003, when she co-founded Kickoff Marketing, a strategic planning and brand firm, where she was managing partner for five years.

In 2008, Boyd was hired by The Washington Post and named publisher of TheRoot.com. She has received The Lucile Harris Bluford Spotlight Award, as well as an award from The Diva Lounge for her work as publisher of TheRoot.com. Byrd was also honored at the Diversity Affluence Brunch & Awards in 2012.

Donna Byrd was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 31, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.048

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/31/2014

Last Name

Byrd

Maker Category
Middle Name

Lynn

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

University of Virginia

Duke University Fuqua School of Business

University of Cape Town

James K. Polk Elementary School

Warrenton Middle School

Heidelberg American High School

Fauquier High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Donna

Birth City, State, Country

Norfolk

HM ID

BYR02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Town, South Africa

Favorite Quote

Woo Hoo

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

4/26/1970

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

United States

Favorite Food

French Fries

Short Description

Publisher Donna Byrd (1970 - ) assisted in launching BlackAmericaWeb.com, co-founded Kickoff Marketing, and was named publisher of TheRoot.com.

Employment

Procter & Gamble

The Coca-Cola Company

Ezgov.com

BlackAmericaWeb.com

Kick-Off Marketing

TheRoot.com

Favorite Color

Fuchsia

Timing Pairs
0,0:1410,31:3760,64:4136,69:13860,192:17432,272:17888,279:21384,433:23740,478:24272,492:24728,499:31130,540:31646,547:32076,553:41406,637:42288,647:42974,655:46398,691:47550,712:52275,752:53130,762:64180,866:64855,877:82406,1156:82990,1165:88936,1227:89860,1248:90454,1260:90718,1265:91048,1271:91378,1277:93292,1347:94810,1383:95338,1392:101370,1484:104024,1513:108206,1591:113593,1666:114067,1675:114383,1680:114857,1687:140390,2027:140715,2033:141820,2105:142405,2123:143640,2147:143900,2152:147020,2234:155372,2306:155677,2312:156043,2319:159314,2350:163270,2417:164505,2439:164895,2446:166520,2488:173995,2658:174255,2663:176400,2731:182482,2769:185578,2829:186438,2843:194940,3027$0,0:1510,61:10390,164:17321,251:17669,256:18278,265:23498,320:26891,382:28022,397:28718,407:35375,457:35700,463:41615,588:42135,594:43175,612:47595,731:51990,753:53030,778:53910,791:55190,810:56470,831:56870,837:57350,844:57670,849:58630,867:59910,884:61510,902:62070,910:68568,973:72866,1020:73622,1031:87390,1286:88974,1320:94830,1424:99800,1568:104735,1616:105670,1639:105945,1645:108055,1664:108363,1669:119560,1874
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Donna Byrd's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Donna Byrd lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Donna Byrd describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Donna Byrd describes her mother's physical traits

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Donna Byrd describes how her parents met, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Donna Byrd talks about her father's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Donna Byrd describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Donna Byrd describes her paternal family's naming practices

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Donna Byrd describes her paternal grandparents' professions

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Donna Byrd describes how her father came to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Donna Byrd describes her father's education at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Donna Byrd talks about her father's early career in the U.S. military

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Donna Byrd describes how her parents met, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Donna Byrd talks about her parents' personalities

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Donna Byrd lists her siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Donna Byrd remembers her family's frequent moves

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Donna Byrd describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Donna Byrd describes her community in Alexandria, Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Donna Byrd describes her early experiences of religion

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Donna Byrd describes her childhood activities

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Donna Byrd describes her earliest experience of racial discrimination

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Donna Byrd remembers James K. Polk Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Donna Byrd describes her early interest in gymnastics

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Donna Byrd recalls moving to Fort Bragg, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Donna Byrd describes her early entrepreneurialism

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Donna Byrd describes her education in Warrenton, Virginia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Donna Byrd recalls moving to Heidelberg, Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Donna Byrd remembers Heidelberg American High School in Heidelberg, Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Donna Byrd describes her experiences as an African American in Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Donna Byrd recalls visiting East Berlin, Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Donna Byrd remembers the music of her teenage years

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Donna Byrd recalls her introduction to oratorical contests

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Donna Byrd recalls her student council position at Heidelberg American High School

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Donna Byrd recalls her decision not to attend the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Donna Byrd recalls her decision to attend the University of Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Donna Byrd recalls her arrival at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Donna Byrd remembers the Honor System at the University of Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Donna Byrd recalls founding the Nights of the Roundtable

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Donna Byrd remembers her mentors at the University of Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Donna Byrd reflects upon her time at the University of Virginia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Donna Byrd recalls receiving the Gray Carrington award

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Donna Byrd recalls working for the Procter and Gamble Company

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Donna Byrd remembers the Fuqua School of Business in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Donna Byrd recalls studying at the University of Cape Town in Cape Town, South Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Donna Byrd talks about the verdict of O.J. Simpson's trial

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Donna Byrd recalls her experiences of racial identity in South Africa

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Donna Byrd describes the optimism in South Africa after the fall of apartheid

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Donna Byrd recalls working for The Coca-Cola Company

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Donna Byrd recalls the development of the Dasani brand

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Donna Byrd recalls being denied a promotion at The Coca-Cola Company, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Donna Byrd recalls being denied a promotion at The Coca-Cola Company, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Donna Byrd remembers leaving The Coca-Cola Company

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Donna Byrd remembers working for EzGov, Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Donna Byrd recalls joining the staff of Black America Web

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

11$8

DATitle
Donna Byrd recalls her introduction to oratorical contests
Donna Byrd remembers leaving The Coca-Cola Company
Transcript
Now were there any significant teachers or mentors you know, in high school [Heidelberg American High School] there in Heidelberg [Germany]?$$I mean the most influential and sort of important teacher in my life actually was in Warrenton, Virginia, Warrenton, Virginia, in middle school [Warrenton Junior High School; Warrenton Middle School, Warrenton, Virginia]. Her name is Mrs. Tomlinson [Carol Tomlinson]. And I used to--I was very, very shy. I was extremely involved in school, but I didn't like to talk very much. And I--and when people would talk to me, I often stuttered a little bit. And so Mrs. Tomlinson was the advanced placement English teacher. And she always, she would always put on a play every year. And she let me try out for different roles and I found out very early on that when I was on stage, I didn't stutter. And I enjoyed having a script and acting. It went back to what my mother [Diane Diggs Byrd] used to do with us in the summers, we had quite a bit of acting that went on at the house anyway. And I enjoyed it. And so she started enter me--enter, entering me into oratorical contests. And so I started doing the American Legion oratorical contests when I was in eighth grade. And I would, I would be in first place just about every single time. I don't say this, this is not bragging; I'm just saying just about every single time on the prepared speech. And the prepared speech had to be on something--it had to be related to the [U.S.] Constitution. And it was an eight to ten minute prepared speech, no notes, no podium. And so you had the entire stage and you had to basically give a speech. And then there was a three to five minute segment on the articles and the--they would give you the--one of the articles five minutes before you spoke. And you had to come out and you had to be prepared to speak on, on one of them. Whichever one they had told you. And I would always do this. I remember my speech, I remember parts of my speech. I was talking--I remember I had Jesse Jackson [HistoryMaker Reverend Jesse L. Jackson] quotes in it and I was talking about the fabric of the u- I mean this country and how we were all woven and held together by the same thread. And this whole thing going on. And then I'd get to the extemporaneous piece and every single time I would freeze up. And I just, I would always--I would just--I would sort of stutter my way through the, the, the second half of the piece, the second half of the competition. So I'd go from first place to third place or second place or whatever. But I was able to pile up enough money over the years--I did it all the way through high school, all the way through twelfth grade in Germany since they had American Legions over there too. And pocketed enough money to really help with my--definitely my first year of college [at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia].$$Okay, okay.$$But Mrs. Tomlinson was the one behind all of that and encouraging me to sort of break out of my shell.$You were with Coke [The Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta, Georgia] from '96 [1996] until--?$$Ninety-nine [1999].$$Okay.$$I was itching to get out into that, the Internet space.$$Now you were introduced to something called ezgov.com? Is that--$$I was. So I went over and worked for--I left Coke and as a brand manager on Coke Classic [Coca-Cola Classic], and I went over as a twenty-nine year old VP of sales and marketing. Everybody had VP in all these kind of great titles when everybody was in their twenties right around the Internet time. It was a great, it was sort of a fun period for young technologists and entrepreneurs that were starting businesses. And I went over and worked for EzGov [EzGov, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia]. I remember leaving Coke because when I put in my resignation, within forty-eight hours I had met with every senior vice president and the president of, of Coke U.S., U.S.A. because they all wanted to know why I was leaving. And they had me in everyone's office, "Why are you going?" And I remember a woman saying to me, one of the top women that was at the company, she said, "Why, why are you doing this?" She said, "Don't you know that one day you're going to--." She said, "Right now you can walk into any room and you can say 'I'm with The Coca-Cola Company,' and everyone's going to respect you." And she said, "And you're going to go off somewhere and you're going to have to walk out somewhere and they're not going to know what it is," and she's like, "Why are you going to do that? You're going to lose all of that, you know that immediate respect." And I said, "You know hopefully one day I'll build something and I'll walk into the room of something that I've helped to build, and maybe, maybe they'll be, they'll respect me for something that I've helped to build in this technology space. And that sounds kind of cool to me."

Andrea L. Taylor

Corporate executive Andrea L. Taylor was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1947, and grew up in Cambridge at a time when her parents, Della Taylor-Hardman and Francis C. Taylor, Sr., attended Boston University’s graduate school. Taylor’s family moved to Charleston, West Virginia in 1956, and she enrolled in the fifth grade at the former Mercer Elementary School. After graduating from Charleston High School in 1964, she moved to Boston, Massachusetts. She went on to receive her B.A. degree in journalism from Boston University in 1968, and later pursued post-graduate studies in international politics at New York University.

Taylor began her career as a journalist working as a reporter, producer and on-air host for The Boston Globe and WGBH-TV in Boston. In 1988, Taylor founded the Ford Foundation Media Fund, where, as executive director, she oversaw the global distribution of $50 million in grants. Taylor then served as president of the Washington, D.C.-based Benton Foundation from 2001 to 2003, before serving concurrently as vice president and director of the Center for Media and Community at the Education Development Center in Newton, Massachusetts. Taylor then founded and served as managing partner at Davis Creek Capital, a media technology firm. From 2005 to 2006, Taylor served as an adjunct professor of journalism at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. While there, she developed and taught a new course, “New Media, Power, and Global Diversity,” which focused on the role of public policy in the age of digital media. In July of 2006, Taylor was named director of U.S. Community Affairs at Microsoft Corporation. While there, she has managed Microsoft’s Unlimited Potential program, the Puget Sound community engagement, and the company’s employee United States community program.

From 1989 to 2012, Taylor served as an associate of the Council of Foundations, where she was also appointed as a member of the board of directors. She was appointed as a trustee of Boston University, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Philanthropy Northwest and WNYC Public Radio. Taylor also served as a member of the board of directors for the Film Forum, Ms. Foundation for Women, and The Cleveland Foundation. In addition, Taylor served as a delegate to four global summits of the United Nations: Tunis, Africa in 2005; Geneva, Switzerland in 2003; Beijing, China in 1995; and Cairo, Egypt in 1994.

Taylor received the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award from Boston University, and the 2013 Creative Spirit Award from the Black Alumni of Pratt Institute. She was also a finisher in the 2009 New York City Marathon.

Andrea L. Taylor was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 13, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.001

Sex

Female

Interview Date

1/13/2014 |and| 1/16/2014

Last Name

Taylor

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

Leigh

Occupation
Schools

Roberts School

Mercer School

Thomas Jefferson Junior High School

Charleston High School

Boston University

New York University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Andrea

Birth City, State, Country

Boston

HM ID

TAY14

Favorite Season

Winter

State

Massachusetts

Favorite Vacation Destination

Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

Get started.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Alabama

Birth Date

1/19/1947

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Birmingham

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peanut Butter

Short Description

Media executive Andrea L. Taylor (1947 - ) founded and directed the Ford Foundation’s Media Fund, as well as Davis Creek Capital, where she was a managing partner.

Employment

Microsoft

Harvard University

Education Development Center

Benton Foundation

A.H. Brown Enterprises

Ford Foundation

Bay State Banner Newspaper

Boston Globe

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Favorite Color

Black

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.

Valerie Norman-Gammon

Media executive and television producer Valerie Norman-Gammon was born on May 14, 1951 in New York City, New York to Irene Robinson and Edmund Greene. Norman-Gammon attended P.S. 166 Elementary School in New York City and graduated from Brandeis High School in 1968. She went on to receive her B.A. degree from Baruch College in New York City in 1979. Norman-Gammon received her M.A. degree in journalism and broadcast management from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 1981. She worked as a legal secretary for Cravath, Swaine & Moore before working in several successful broadcasting positions.

In 1980 Norman-Gammon worked as a talk show host for WYTV TV in Ohio. From 1981-1988 she worked as senior producer for WBBM TV in Chicago, Illinois. While with WBBM TV, Norman-Gammon produced the weekly talk show The Lee Phillips Show for which she won a Chicago Emmy award in 1983. During this time, she also served as executive producer for various documentary specials, including The Sounds of Soul, the fifth installment of the Time Warner syndicated series, The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll. In 1988, Norman-Gammon became president and CEO of Amethyst Entertainment Inc., a television, music festival production, and media company. She has produced a number of mega music events, most notably, the Essence Music Festival from 1995 to 2002. From 1994 to 2007, Norman-Gammon served as the executive producer for FOX Chicago and My Network TV’s six time Emmy nominated, Christmas Glory.

Norman-Gammon is the recipient of three National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Awards for her work with The Essence Awards on the FOX Network. Norman-Gammon has also served as an adjunct professor in television, film, speech communications, and media relations at Johnson & Wales University. Norman-Gammon’s expertise in media management, television and mega event production make her one of the top executive producers in the entertainment industry. She is a long time member of numerous media related and professional organizations, including the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences. Norman-Gammon lives with her husband, Parker Gammon, in Miami, Florida.

Valerie Norman-Gammon was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 22, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.233

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/22/2012

Last Name

Norman-Gammon

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

P.S. 166

Louis D Brandeis High School

Baruch College

University of Michigan

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Valerie

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

NOR06

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

New York, New York

Favorite Quote

It has to be fabulous.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

5/14/1951

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Miami

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pasta

Short Description

Media executive and television producer Valerie Norman-Gammon (1951 - ) had over thirty years of experience in mass media management, television, and mega event production. She worked with Amethyst Entertainment, Inc.

Employment

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

WYTV TV

WBBM TV

Amethyst Entertainment, Inc.

Favorite Color

None

Timing Pairs
0,0:12890,146:15900,178:16846,191:17362,198:18824,228:22737,251:58830,656:59180,665:69080,837:75966,906:86788,1102:99804,1263:185315,2455:197550,2687:234998,3233:235406,3241:241380,3305$0,0:16454,142:17690,162:22676,210:23036,216:23828,229:24548,241:28724,324:29372,335:30236,349:32180,381:32684,401:33332,412:34052,425:35492,451:35780,456:36356,466:37076,481:37508,488:39596,539:39884,544:40532,554:40964,561:46590,575:47565,594:48165,603:48690,611:50865,646:51165,651:51465,656:56720,694:57040,699:60642,753:61846,775:62448,784:63308,796:64684,812:65114,818:65802,827:68468,883:70016,906:81792,1040:82122,1046:82716,1058:83310,1067:83838,1076:85356,1123:85686,1129:86346,1145:86874,1156:87336,1166:89184,1187:90042,1202:96672,1275:97870,1281:98638,1296:99470,1316:99726,1321:100302,1331:100750,1340:101070,1346:101582,1356:103502,1405:104718,1430:104974,1435:108622,1510:113634,1548:113999,1554:114291,1559:116919,1612:117941,1628:123927,1769:124292,1775:124803,1784:125168,1790:130030,1812:130270,1817:131650,1847:132070,1855:132790,1870:134890,1935:136810,1979:137350,1992:139450,2045:143617,2069:144565,2084:144960,2090:146856,2124:147962,2142:148594,2151:149147,2160:157074,2268:157578,2279:157866,2284:160458,2328:160746,2333:161394,2348:162114,2365:162474,2371:166824,2399:167300,2404
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Valerie Norman-Gammon's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her maternal great grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Valerie Norman-Gammon remembers picking tomatoes with her grandmother in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Valerie Norman-Gammon shares her great grandmother's stories

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes the foods that her grandmother made in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about meeting her father for the first time

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about seeing her father for the last time

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about the brief period in which she knew her father and his occupation

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her mother's occupations and ice skating at Rockefeller Center

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes the building where she grew up in the Upper West Side, New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Valerie Norman-Gammon lists her favorites

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes her earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes her mother's move to New York City at a young age

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her mother's sacrifices for their Manhattan apartment

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about starting grade school, her love of reading, and Christmas as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Valerie Norman-Gammon remembers her high school, Louis D. Brandeis High School, and the teacher that influenced her the most

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Valerie Norman-Gammon compares racism in Manhattan and the south

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes how she understood race as a child in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her church in Harlem and its pastor, Adam Clayton Powell

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes being in a cotillion

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her extracurricular activities in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her first boyfriend

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about working while going to school at Baruch College

Tape: 2 Story: 15 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her scholarship to go to the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her first marriage to Marvin Norman

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about working in the World Trade Center towers

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about TV anchors that she admired and an internship at NBC

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about balancing work and college

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about the skills that she gained working at a law firm, and the individuals who influenced her

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about leaving her job at law firm to attend graduate school at the University of Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Valerie Norman-Gammon reflects upon New York City's black culture in the 1970s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her maternal family's reaction to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about meeting Cindy Walker, who helped launch her television career

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about becoming cohost of Good Morning Youngstown in Youngstown, Ohio

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about moving to Chicago, Illinois and becoming a producer at WBBM-TV

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about producing the show "Common Ground" in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about producing television shows at WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois and her friendship with Lee Phillip Bell

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about Chicago politics and culture, and Harold Washington becoming mayor, in the 1980s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks her struggle to achieve balanced political representation WBBM-TV

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about how she coped with the stress of working in television

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about some close friends from Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about writing a book with Dr. Terry Mason

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about producing the second Essence Awards show in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Valerie Norman-Gammon reflects upon meeting John H. Johnson at the Essence Awards

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about the Chicago entertainment and journalism community

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about producing the Essence Awards for a decade

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about how she became connected with the Essence Awards

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes the process of producing the Essence Awards

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about producing the Cancun Jazz Music Festival

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about producing music festivals throughout Mexico and the Caribbean

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about developing and producing Sinbad's Soul Music Festival

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about Apostolic Church of God and convincing Bishop Brazier to go on television

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about Bishop Brazier and the conception of Christmas Glory

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes the Christmas Glory television event

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her community outreach goals in creating televised church events

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about the awards that she won for Christmas Glory

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about working with Quincy Jones on "The History of Rock n Roll"

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her contributions to the Essence Music Festival

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Valerie Norman-Gammon describes meeting and marrying her husband, Parker Gammon

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her husband's occupation

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about moving to Miami, Florida with her husband, Parker Gammon

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about winning three NAACP Image Awards

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about some of her current projects

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her parents' deaths and her relationships with family members

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her brothers

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her step sons

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her regret of not having children

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Valerie Norman-Gammon comments on her future aspirations

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about how she would like to be remembered and shares some advice for young adults

Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about the women that she has admired over the years

Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Valerie Norman-Gammon reflects upon the importance of paying it forward and helping others

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Valerie Norman-Gammon narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

1$1

DATitle
Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about producing television shows at WBBM-TV in Chicago, Illinois and her friendship with Lee Phillip Bell
Valerie Norman-Gammon talks about her contributions to the Essence Music Festival
Transcript
I came to Chicago in September of 1981 over the Labor Day weekend. I drove my little car through the "S" curve and found my way to the hotel and then realized that CBS WBBM was actually two blocks down and so I would just walk down there to work. I came here during a time when Bill Curtis was here and Walter Jacobsen. WBBM was number one for everything for everything so it was exciting to be here and be a part of that whole collection and group of people; winning awards like crazy and everything. When I--after I worked on 'Common Ground' for so many months and then the 'Lee Phillip Show' became available because Bruce Dumont left. Cindy Walker made the decision to give me the show which then gave me two shows, 'Common Ground' and Lee Phillip. And the Lee Phillip show was really a prize possession. There were many other producers who wanted to have her show but I got it. It was a lot of work but I loved it. I was reading all the time because I had a two hour show in 'Common Ground' where you had to have a lot of material and you had to really delve into what was going on in the city and the community. But then I also had Lee Phillip who had a half hour day time Sunday magazine show with three segments that had all the biggest names in entertainment that came to town. So I was always going to plays, I was always going to big entertainment events, I always going to celebrity parties, I was always going to everything that was very high brow for her show and very community and local for 'Common Ground.' So I met everybody. I was being interviewed, I got numerous awards because I was everywhere doing everything and it was crazy but I loved it, I absolutely loved it. My relationship with Lee Phillip [Bell]--I did not know who she was obviously before I came here. I was unaware of the fact that she was married to Bill Bell and that she actually was Lee Phillip Bell and that they owned 'The Young and Restless' and also 'The Bold and the Beautiful.' So I didn't know that they were a powerhouse couple living over on Lake Shore Drive and that every afternoon Bill was on a conference call with his LA [Los Angeles, California] team executive producing 'The Young and the Restless.' I had no idea until I met her and we started working together and she and I actually shared a huge office. So we would look each other every day. We became very close. I remember she invited me to dinner one night and I went over there. She lived in one of the apartments, I've forgotten the actual address but it looks out on the lake, beautiful entire floor. And her daughter was there and her sons who now are big stars in television and we just had a good family time. Because they were just regular, family oriented people and it was phenomenal, it was just phenomenal.$$Now you mentioned that her sons are now big names in television.$$Her daughter is Lauralee Bell who is on 'The Bold and the Beautiful' and her sons have been working in the business so they are something. The father, Bill Bell has passed on but recently Lee ran into someone, a mutual friend and she called me to say hello. So she is out in LA now doing her thing and they say that--she says that she is over there a couple of times a week.$$On the set?$$On the set that's amazing, that's wonderful.$So Valerie in 1995 to 2002 you were a producer for the main stage of the Essence Music Festival?$$Yes, I am proud to say that I'm part of the team with Ed Lewis, Clarence Smith, Susan Taylor, Karen Taylor, and Terry Williams who created the actual Essence Music Festival. We created the concept; we went around the country working on selecting the right venue. We decided on New Orleans [Louisiana] because we could do two things at once. Have the main stage and then have that second level with the four quadrant rooms. We could have four different things going on. We created that and I actually decided that the main stage should be more than just another concert venue and I loved the fact that Essence, to my knowledge today, with the Essence Music Festival is the only one that has an actual produced stage presence when the performers are not on. And I created that for them and I created the designs for the quadrant rooms. So I asked a set designer that worked with me at CBS to come in and to meet us in New Orleans in the first year and to create a backdrop that was Essence because Essence [Magazine] is first class, it's all about, you know, the significance and the admiration and respect for African American women. And I didn't want us to just have a black curtain in the back. We needed to have something that was first class and lovely. So we did that, I brought her in and we created that and then we went around and created the themes for the different rooms and designed them so that they would like the blues or the disco ball hanging for the seventies or whatever. And so I was responsible for designing and creating all of that. Then I said to Clarence [Smith] and Ed [Lewis] and Susan [Taylor] that I thought there was money on the table that was being left by virtue of the fact that when we normally go to a concert they play some music between acts, right we'll be back, you know, and now we're back, you know, want to the stage so and so like in that little block; we should be something that's going to generate revenue. So I created all of these little moments where a host could come on stage and interact with the audience and they could be sponsor driven and they could sell them. So, since we've done that they now, in fact, have been able to increase the revenue for Essence in ways that we didn't start out in the first year. So I'm very proud of that.