It may come as no surprise that while we go throughout our day looking for stories on relationships, ratchet entertainment, and crazy news to entertain you with, we find inspiration from morning talk shows like The View and the Today show. This morning, while watching Kathie Lee & Hoda and wondering (yet again) about how these two manage to drink merlot at 10am, one of the editors inquired about Hoda Kotb’s ethnicity. When I noted that she was Egyptian, my co-worker asked “how come Hoda doesn’t identify as a Black woman?”
Well, I didn’t realize that she didn’t identify as a Black woman. Does she really need to publicly exclaim herself to be a Black woman continuously in order to show pride?
Black folks are definitely representing in morning media: we have Robin Roberts, Al Roker, Whoopi Goldberg, Sherri Shepherd, and Michael Strahan to name just a few. Although Hoda doesn’t necessarily come to mind when we think of Blacks in the media, do we need her to make a big to-do about being an African-American woman?
Personally, I don’t feel any type of way about it mainly because Hoda doesn’t seem like she’s trying not to be Black. She’s just herself. To be fair, when does she have the chance to speak out on Black issues on The Today Show? Between segments on makeovers, budget fashion and fluff celebrity interviews, I don’t know when she’d have the chance to really make references to her “Blackness” although I faintly recall her referencing her African roots when she discussed her personal hair care. The only thing I know about her that makes me question her self-identity is the title of her book: “Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee.” The fact that she refers to her hair as “bad hair” may or may not shed some light on how she interprets her ethnicity. But since I haven’t read the book, I’ll withhold a lot of my comments on that subject.
Who knows if she is embracing the “ambiguity” zone she’s occupying, alongside celebs like Rashida Jones and Maya Rudolph, and playing it to her advantage? Who knows if she simply doesn’t think about her ethnicity? Although I’m a strong proponent of Black celebrities leveraging their star power to advance Black causes, I can understand when certain celebs choose to keep a low profile on issues of race and rather lead by example.
What do you think? Does Hoda need to be more outspoken when it comes to her identity and speaking out on Black issues? Sound off in the comments section.