All Articles Tagged "Entertainment"
Jasmine Sanders Of The D.L. Hughley Show On Being A Woman In Radio: They Look At Us Like We’re Disposable
What does it take to be a woman of color and dominate in the radio space? We sat down with Jasmine Sanders, co-host of The D.L Hughley Show, one of the the top-ranked nationally syndicated radio shows, reaching over 2.5 million in 60 markets daily to find out. Jasmine’s repertoire spans to other media platforms as well with Special Correspondent on HLN’s The Daily also on her resume.
Jasmine talked with us about what inspired her early in career, skills she’s had to build over the years, challenges she’s faced as a Black woman in radio, and what you have to do to be successful in the media industry. Check out our chat below.
MadameNoire (MN): How did you fall in love with radio?
Jasmine Sanders (JS): I fell in love with radio when I was kid. There was something about listening to someone who was speaking to me who was also speaking to thousands, if not millions, of other people at the same time. With [radio], you have to use your imagination. You don’t get to filter it through what you see. All you have to go on is a voice. A person’s voice could move you so much.I used to want to sing but unfortunately I was not gifted with the voice of song. I had aspirations to do television because I was always a big fan of Barbara Walters and Oprah and what they were able to do as women in a male-dominated industry. I felt that I had a particular fire and thought I could do that. When I got to college and had several conversations with my academic adviser, he kept saying you talk so much. You have this certain tonality to your voice. I really think you should do radio. At that point, I decided to see how radio would work for me.
As fate would have it for me, my first job out of college was working in Nashville at the same station where Oprah Winfrey worked. It was interesting for me for looking at how the universe works. When you will things to you, they begin to unfold if you put the work in. I’ve been doing radio ever since and I absolutely love it.
MN: What kind of skills did you have to master in order to succeed?
JS: When I showed up, I was ill-prepared. I thought I was prepared. You go to school and learn all these things but they don’t teach you real-life experiences. It’s a whole different animal when you step into that studio and there is no professor or other student. It was you, a microphone, and some music. You hope to make some magic happen. The very first thing I had to learn was how to master the use of my voice. I had no idea that there is truly an art to how to use your voice. You don’t want to scream. You have to be careful of emotions that are in your voice [and] how to properly use emotions in your voice. You have to learn how to harness your voice and use it appropriately so that people feel engaged instead of outside watching this take place. People forget that it’s more than just talking on the microphone. My production director came in and said slow down. He taught me how to harness the power of my voice… the lows and the highs… how to provide emotions and bring life to words. That was the greatest lesson.
MN: How did you realize what your gift was?
JS: I had no idea that my words and my voice would affect people outside the way I wanted to with song when I was a kid. I had no idea that I could affect people in that way. I had no clue until I started doing appearances and meeting people face to face and they would say, “Just listening to you everyday does this for me” or “It inspired me in this way” or “I could be having a bad day and hear the smile in your voice. The words that you say make me feel like I can make it through the day and I can’t wait to hear you again.” When you’ve asked for something you need to be very well aware of what comes with that. So often, we forget that. We get excited about what we’ve got that we forget the tandem part which is – What now do you give? I began to realize that I had to be more than just fluff. I had to say more. I had to be responsible for the words now that I unleashed on the world. I was floored. I’d meet people and they’d want to touch me and hug me. To them, it was if we had been friends for years. For me, it would be the first time. They meet me every day at the same time on the same station every day. For them, it was like we had forged this relationship. It made me very well aware of the responsibility that I had for the words that I spoke. Now, I am careful. I won’t say it if I don’t absolutely know it or haven’t done the research or I feel like it would be a bit much for someone to handle. I might make sure to temper it a little. I don’t want to say I censor my words. I’m careful with what I say because I’m responsible.
MN: Has being a Black woman affected your approach to your career?
JS: For women of color, when you’re speaking of the space of urban radio, it’s been unfair for a long time. Look at the landscape. You tell me how many female anchor morning shows there are. You can’t say that there isn’t enough Black girl magic around that some of us cannot be tasked to head our own show. Sometimes it can be a little discouraging. You always know in this business as a female you are going to have to work twice as hard. There are certain things that are placed on you that are not placed on guys. In my interview with Her Agenda, I said, “Keep an open mind and keep your legs closed.” I know it sounds harsh and elementary but a lot of women don’t know that. You forget that whoever you have relationships with…. A lot of times those relationships will be called into question because it’s a female and a male. It can be completely innocent. We are under a microscope that men are not. I’ve seen women who have had to dim their light a little bit because the male host of the show is a little intimidated by that #blackgirlmagic. We have it. I think it’s unfortunate that at times we have to dim it down. I don’t think I should have to take out some of the base out of my voice to have a conversation with you so that you don’t think I’m being defensive or that I’m an angry Black woman. If I get a little loud, it sounds a little aggressive, but I’m not. It’s me being passionate. When you do it, it’s not seen as passion, it’s seen as that guy is aggressive. It’s great. When I do it, all of a sudden, I am an angry Black woman. It’s unfortunate that our value is overlooked. Sometimes men think they can treat us any kind of way and that we are replaceable. I think it’s unfortunate. Just like men in this space, there are countless of us who are so talented but we get overlooked.They tend to look at us like we are disposable. That’s one of the battles I’ve had to fight in this business.
I speak for a lot of women in this business who sit across the table in these meetings and here you are battling and trying to get people to see past your femininity and see that you are a woman and super talented and you can do just as much as any man. It’s a difficult thing. You are fighting to be paid what you’re worth. You’re fighting for people to recognize your talent. I say don’t give up the fight. Always know your value and never let anybody tell you what it is. Ever.
MN: What do you think needs to happen so that there are more opportunities for women of color in radio to thrive?
JS: Right now, we are fighting for equal pay on the national level for women. It’s pervasive even outside of radio. I really don’t know what the answer is. I know what it’s not. That is, I don’t think we should give up. We should keep fighting. Even when people are saying take the base out of your voice or you should be quiet and let us talk… I think you should fight against all of that. It’s going to hurt, but you have to fight. I know there are tons of mentorship programs out there. I would imagine there are all kinds of networks where Black women come together and do this and that. I wish they were a little more readily accessible to everyone and not make it that you have to be a certain level before you get here. It should be open to everyone. At the end of the day, we are all fighting for the same.
MN: How do you handle working with male hosts such as D.L. Hughley who is often known for his misogynistic commentary?
JS: My first thing is I am always going to speak my truth. I am only a sum of my experiences. I see things through my prism. I’ve always been the person to say, “Listen, before we jump to any judgments, we have to hear both sides and hear from both people, especially if we are not there.” It’s really difficult to speak for all women. I don’t think it’s possible. Part of the problem that men and women have in general is that we both want to be heard. I try to be as straight forward as I can. Listen, I’m wrong in a lot of things. He’s wrong in a lot of things, just like in the real world. Where he and I excel is that I am still able to hear him and can hear his view. He is willing and can hear my view and my perception of it. That’s what makes a great mix between him and I. He respects me tremendously and I have the same amount of respect for him. Just like he checks me when I am wrong, I will check him when he is wrong. We will have a conversation about it. We have to give everyone a little bit of grace, including myself. A lot of times when we see something, we really only see it from our experience.
When he (D.L. Hughley) and I were having that conversation [about Columbus Short’s domestic violence allegations], I knew D.L.’s experiences dealing with women. He was speaking from that. Whereas me and my circle of women, I don’t know any women like that. I had to step back and say, “Let me hear him out.” We can agree that there are groupies out there. There’s none in my circle of friends so it’s difficult for me to understand how a woman can be a groupie. I don’t get it. Get a job and work. Get your own stuff. Nobody can ever take it from you if you do that. He was speaking from that perspective of “I’m a comedian. I see this stuff on the road all the time.” As far as domestic abuse, he’s never been on the side of that. He’s always made that very clear. Our conversation got into the background and the back story I wasn’t really privy to. For me, it was really about let’s hear both sides of the story before we jump to any kind of conclusion. It got a little distorted because for whatever reason people were under the impression that he is okay with domestic violence. He was never okay with that, ever.
MN: What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?
JS: When I look at my life and how it started, for me it was a very deep thing that my mother didn’t want me. It created a deficit in my soul to think that the person who is supposed to love you no matter what until you leave this earth or until they do…they are the only person who no matter what will have your back [doesn’t want you]. Everyone can say that about their mother or father. To know that that person tossed me to the side like I was useless and had no value stuck with me. I spent the majority of my life feeling like I was unworthy. When you grow up, everything is so monumental. Unfortunately for me, I had already started in my mind, in a deficit, in the red. When you start adding all of the things that you naturally go through in life and some of the things that I had to go through as well, I had to fight my way out of that hole. I was determined that I had to prove to the family that gave me away and the family that now had me, “Please don’t give me away. Please don’t let me go because I have value and I have worth. I knew somebody else threw me away like I was trash, but I’m worthy.” Every day I got up thinking like that. I wouldn’t let anything stop me.
Anyone that you talk to that knows me can tell you, I am a force to be reckoned with. When I put my mind to something, I am not stopping. Before I leave this earth, I will have proven to someone that I am worth more than just being tossed away like I was nothing. Regardless of the circumstances and the why…Even when people say “I think that’s great, I think that’s amazing.” To me, there is something in me that says it’s not good enough.
You got to keep pushing. Even when I get this or that, I’m still empty. The biggest obstacle is getting out of my own way and standing on my shoulder. Those are the people around me who love me. Even though I was a bit crazy and off by myself, they still loved and supported. I know, if for nothing else, it is emblazoned on my heart that the family that took me in, the friends who supported me for as long as I remember, I never want to let them down. I always want them to look and say, “I knew it. I’m so proud.” That’s what I always wanted to hear. That’s what motivates me. When I feel like my world is spinning out of control or I feel like all is lost. I think about how far I’ve come. I don’t keep inventory of my losses but every now and then I like to peak in that closet and say I’m still here. That’s important.
MN: What’s the best business tip you think aspiring media professionals need to know?
JS: Know your worth. Do not be afraid to put a price tag on it. Stick with it. Know the whys and don’t just think about right now. Think about five years from now. The one thing that I know for sure about this business is that it’s no different than TV. Women, as we get older, we age out. Men become more distinguished and classy. George Clooney gets classier the older he gets. They expect women to maintain a certain amount of youth and you have to botox this and stretch that. You have to dig in and get a lot of mileage out of it. Know the business side so that you can make a path for you so that you’re okay five to ten years from now.
I’ve seen so many women in this business who have been in it for a long time To me, they are the smartest and so good. Listening to their voices, I’m like this sounds like butter. How can they not be on the radio? They’re out of work! How is that possible? If this is all you know and do, what do you do when it’s done? You have to diversify and make sure that you are good at other things. Maybe you can write, produce, or do TV. You have to be good at everything so that just in case something goes down you have somewhere else to turn.
Leap year babies have it rough. Because February 29th only rolls around once every four years, they only get to celebrate a quarter of their birthdays. And since some of these celebrities are technically young enough to still be in middle school, some of our ’90’s crushes feel a little bit awkward.
What’s with leap year anyway? Technically there are 365.24219 days in a year. To compensate for those extra hours, Julius Caesar tacked on an extra day in the calendar year way back in 46 BCE. Unfortunately for these stars, he apparently didn’t do too much thinking about all of the missed birthday celebrations he’d become responsible for.
But despite the fact that they only get to do it a couple of times a decade, we hope these celebrities are celebrating their leap year birthdays in style. If you’ve got a leap year birthday, let us know in the comments section so we can wish you a happy birthday too!
Ladies, If you love MadameNoire and you love food, then this post is for you! We’re looking for MadameNoire’s #1 fan who would like to be featured in our next two-part video series with the hottest celebrity chef in NYC. We’re looking for the ultimate foodie to take on a food adventure to some of the best eateries in Brooklyn.
Here are the Rules:
- Must live in the NYC Tri-State Area
- Must be available on Wednesday 2/24 to film ALL DAY!
- Between the ages of 21-35
- Great personality and is willing to be on camera.
If you meet the above criteria and you’re interested, please e-mail the following to email@example.com with the subject line: Destination BK MadameNoire’s #1 Fan (Insert Name Here)
- Name, Age, Location
- Contact Number & E-mail
- Why do you love MadameNoire?
- Why would you consider yourself a foodie?
We will select the winner no later than Monday, February 22nd.
We all make social media mistakes. But when a politician shares a picture of his peen, and it leaks online, no one is likely to forget it anytime soon. Most of us are lucky enough not to have our statements and pictures saved and shared to make us look bad, but then again, there’s no one screenshotting our every word.
These celebrities tried to delete these regrettable 140-character tweets and pictures. Unfortunately for them, social media has a very long memory — especially when it comes to tweets as shocking as these. These stars shared too much, didn’t cover up enough and let slip some of the most hilarious and cringe-worthy moments on social media.
So let’s all take a moment to remember the social media moments that make following your favorite celebrity feeds worth it. We all slip up sometimes, and now it’s time to take a look at these infamous deleted celebrity Tweets that kept us glued to our screens.
How Do you Turn Social Media Into a Career? “She’s The Boss” Season 2 Episode 1 – Karen Civil, Founder & CEO of Always Civil Enterprises
Meet Karen Civil, Social Media Maven, and Founder of Always Civil Enterprise. After crafting social media campaigns for artists and brands, including Lil’ Wayne and Beats by Dre, this entertainment powerhouse leveraged her connections and name to create a strong lifestyle brand that is slowly becoming a household name. Find out why She’s The Boss.
Do you have any questions for Karen? Let us know in the comment section below. We will be doing a live Twitterchat with Karen on 10/6 @ 1pm PST/4pm EST.
More information on Karen Civil.
Want more She’s The Boss?
A woman of many talents, Eboyne’ Jackson is a mogul in the making with an arsenal of talent as a brand strategist, lifestyle journalist, and creative visionary. As CEO/brand strategist for her boutique PR firm, Divine Influence PR, Eboyne’ found her niche in the beauty/entertainment industry, and has worked with many viable brands such as Echelon Hair, Lyfe Jennings, Jazmine Sullivan, Victoria Monet, Bethany “Queen B.” Bell, and Rodney Jon, scoring credible media placements for her clients in top outlets such as The REAL, Essence Magazine, Lucky Magazine, Fox, Arise TV, Ebony Magazine, and the Source. From producing shows during New York Fashion Week, to rubbing elbows with some of the industry’s elite such as Beyonce’, Rihanna, Kimora Lee Simmons, Vera Wang, Tracey Reese, Beat Face Honey, and Sam Fine, Eboyne’ Jackson is a woman on the move.
Check out her video entry above and for more info on how you can nominate a woman you know to “Be the Boss” and win a makeover courtesy of African Pride, click here.
The new trailer for She’s Got Game has reality show lovers already wondering who The Game is going to pick. And I have a feeling the rapper is going to surprise us. Remember these surprising winners of celebrity dating shows?
With school out soon, there are many ways to keep your little ones engaged while indoors. Consider introducing them to never before seen nostalgic classics from the 1990’s such as Cool Runnings or Good Burger–remember that one? Click continue to browse our selection of classics.
Flashback Friday: 17 Nostalgic 90’s Films to Share with the Kids
Rachel Dolezal may have made headlines, but she’s not the only person to lie about their race. These folks lied about their heritage to get ahead, get a job or get deeper into a major identity crisis.
Meet Courtney Kemp Agboh, co-creator, Executive Producer and showrunner for the Starz hit crime drama Power. Agboh, a Brown University graduate whose early days started in journalism, built her career in the writing chair with gigs working on shows like The Bernie Mac Show and The Good Wife. Power, which stars Omari Hardwick, Naturi Naughton, Joseph Sikora, and Lela Loren, was recently renewed for a 10-episode third season and airs in more than 175 countries and territories worldwide. (50 Cent is a producer on the show.)
We chatted with Agohb about her experience as a woman of color in the TV industry, advice she has for aspiring writers, why she’s tired of people comparing the show to Empire, and her hopes for the show’s larger impact.
MadameNoire (MN): What has been your experience as a woman of color in the TV industry?
Courtney Kemp Agboh (CKA): Obviously I am Black and female all the time. You can’t really separate the two. I was recently quoted in Entertainment Weekly saying it was harder to be a woman than it was to be Black. They cut off the part where I meant as showrunner for Power. When people watch Power and they find out the showrunner is Black, it’s not surprising. What is surprising is that I am a woman and my background is not particularly urban. We use the word “urban” to mean Black or Latino but that’s not what the word means. It actually means “from the city.” I’m not from the city. I’m from the suburbs of Connecticut. I grew up with mostly all White people.
My experience as a Black woman in the industry is simply that often I was the only one in the room. Often I would be the only woman AND the only person of color. Sometimes I would be one of several women but the only person of color. Sometimes I would be one of several people of color, but the only woman.
I really wanted to do one-hour drama. I did not want to write specifically stories about people of color. I was interested in making a long career that looks (on paper) like anyone else’s career. If you look at my resume, it does not indicate my race at all. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t go the other route (and there will be more opportunities to go the other route now), but I think playing it safe and being around people who are like you is not going to give you the career you want. You have to get comfortable really quickly with being places alone.
MN: How did you hone your ability to create stories and characters that appeal?
CKA: It’s a tough thing. There’s a difference between talent and skill. You might have writing talent, but skill is learned. You have to practice. I remain teachable. I was sure that I didn’t know everything. People who work with me will tell you I don’t think I know everything. I watch people sink around me thinking that they knew everything. Or, that they showed up and thought their talent was enough.
You have to learn skills. I was fortunate and worked for great showrunners like Greg Berlanti, Michelle King, Jeff Melvin, and Yvette Lee Bowser (who created Living SIngle and is one of my mentors.) All of them taught me different skills. Some of those are writing skills. John Eisendrath (who runs The Black List) and I worked together briefly on My Own Worst Enemy. John knows more about story structure and reversals and where you need them in a story. He is so great at that. I really learned. It’s important to be open to different styles and to recognize that the medium and the message are not the same thing. Sometimes someone who may not be like you or may not agree with your point of view has a lot to teach you.
I think people (especially younger people) are vested in the instant gratification culture. If I write something, it’s good and it’s fast. I can just put it up. It’s [the world] of self-publishing. You press “tweet” and it’s there. It takes a long time to get to be good. I still have a long way until I think that I am good. I would also say any comparison between me and Shonda Rhimes is wrathful. Shonda is the Dick Wolfe of our generation. Shonda is an industry. I am one Black woman with one little show. Whenever people bring it up, I feel like I have to say don’t. I’m so irrelevant to her in what I’m doing and what she’s able to accomplish on a grand scale.
MN: Are people quick to compare you with Shonda Rhimes because the industry for Black showrunners is so small?
CKA: Yeah, that’s why people bring it up. I had one person say to me, “Has Shonda Rhimes opened any doors?” I’ve been asked that multiple times. Shonda and I have never met. She never opened the door for me at all, but Greg Berlanti and Robert and Michelle King did. They don’t look like me. They helped me get where I am.
In order to survive, human beings (like any other animal group)… we identify our own and then we go and are safe with them. Sometimes people think because people look like each other, that’s what engenders community. It doesn’t always.
I try to go out of my way to help young women, young women of color, and young people of color in general because I feel that is my responsibility. My parents raised me as “each one teach one.” As you go up the ladder, reach behind for those behind you. You can’t expect people to help you because they look like you.
MN: What is a good path to get on if you want to eventually be a showrunner on a hit show like Power?
CKA: My answer is not popular because it’s not about instant gratification. The path to get on is to get somebody’s coffee. You’ve got to go and start at the bottom. Work in the mailroom at an agency. If you really want to be a writer, the best thing to do is get that writer’s PA job where you are going to get everyone’s lunch every day and you are answering the phone. That’s how you get exposed to writers. In the industry, there are two ways to get a television writing job. You either get an agent and the agent sends you out for writing gigs. Or, you meet other writers and they go, “Hey, you know who I know…” and they make a phone call for you. You get the interview that way.
Write constantly. You have to always be writing. There’s no excuse for not having multiple scripts. Not just pilots. You have to have that but you need to have specs for it. I won’t hire you off of your pilot. I’m not interested in whether or not you can write a great piece of material that is about characters you created. That’s not what I’m hiring you for. I’m hiring you to write Power. Most of the job that television writers do is writing someone else’s show. I have eight writers. They are writing my show. When I was on The Good Wife, I was writing Robert and Michelle’s show. You have to go in and have that humility and skill set.
My assistant, the woman who worked for me the last three years… I promoted her to writer’s assistant now. She’s in the writer’s room on Power doing the notes. In time, I’ll promote her to staff writer and she will be a television writer. I promote from within. Some people don’t. Find out who those people are. To me, there’s no way to do it from outside.
I say 15 percent of people are so talented they can cold-send their script to an agent and somehow it will get read. With the other 85 percent (which includes me), you’ve got to work your way up. I didn’t do my coffee getting in the television industry. I was an editorial assistant at Mademoiselle. After that, I was a editorial assistant, then assistant editor at GQ. I worked my way up.
Here’s why this is important: If lightning struck and you were able to write a script that someone wanted to buy and make into a TV show today and you had no television writing experience up until that point, they would give you a showrunner who would run the show. You wouldn’t be the boss of your show. That’s why you have to work your way up. People don’t see that. I had 10 years of television experience before they let me run my own show.
MN: Some people have compared Power to Empire. How has the show Power pushed you as a writer to remain authentic?
CKA: It’s hard. That Empire comparison is frustrating. I find that we (as people of color) are doing this thing to ourselves that we always say we resist, which is the ghettoization. If you continue to compare Power and Empire, what is that conversation about? That conversation is about two shows that are completely different but have Black people in them. Instead of comparing Empire to great long-standing soaps like Dynasty or Grey’s Anatomy… any of these that are so awesome and delicious, people are comparing it to Power, which is not fair to that show because we have sex and violence that they can’t show. Our show is dark.
Instead of talking about our show and talking about The Sopranos and Breaking Bad… now the conversation is about Empire, which is a soap. I am more frustrated when Blacks say it. As long as we are trying to compete against each other, we are never going to get out of the box. It’s like a bunch of rats crawling over each other. Get out of that! Think about it as you’re trying to tell a great story and so are they.
MN: How is Power contributing to the larger conversation regarding diversity in media internationally and overseas?
CKA: When the show was being developed, there was some concern (not from Starz) that there would be no foreign market for the show because the lead of the show was African American. It was this thing that people were sadly, unashamed to say. They said shows with African American leads don’t sell overseas.
When I heard this I said what the hell has Will Smith been doing all this time? I keep seeing him opening movies overseas. Do people really care that much? Hip hop, rap, and R&B sales around the world are huge. Isn’t Beyonce the biggest star in the world? I was so confused about this idea that that people of color were somehow [unappealing] to our foreign neighbors. The show got made anyway. Starz believed in it from the beginning. Then we started to sell the show abroad. The idea that the show would not work overseas has been dispelled to some extent.