All Articles Tagged "soledad o’brien"

Never Say ‘I Can’t!’ Soledad O’Brien Jumps On Board CoverGirl’s ‘I Can’ Campaign

March 2nd, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Ivan Nikolov/

Ivan Nikolov/

The easy, breezy, beautiful Soledad O’Brien, along with her production company Starfish Media, is teaming up with CoverGirl’s “Girls Can” campaign to release a new web series that will seek to uplift, empower, and boost underserved women pursuing a higher education.

The webseries, according to O’Brien, will follow “…the lives of several young women who have been helped through O’Brien’s foundation, the Soledad O’Brien and Brad Raymond Starfish Foundation,” according to Women’s Wear Daily. [h/t The Gloss]

The award-winning journalist said that she decided to jump on board CoverGirl’s “Girls Can” movement because it mirrors her passion to elevate women who feel weighed down by the “Girls Can’t” societal prejudice.

“There are thousands of inspirational stories waiting to be told about young women who yearn for a great education. They are stories of struggle and stories of success, and they will inspire others to take action and work to change lives,” O’Brien told Women’s Wear Daily.

The video series will explore the obstacles that young women encounter while pursuing their career goals.  The main purpose is to show women that achieving your dreams may be an uphill battle, but “can’t” should always be turned into a “can.” This content will be launched within the next couple of months.

O’Brien isn’t the only spokeswoman for CoverGirl’s campaign. Katy Perry, Pink, Queen Latifah, Ellen DeGeneres, Sophia Vergara, Becky G, and Janelle Monae have all appeared on CoverGirl’s first “Girl’s Can” ad which premiered during the Olympics Closing Ceremony.

“I heard that girls couldn’t rap. I rap!” Queen Latifah said, “[I heard] girl’s couldn’t own businesses. I own my own business!” Oh snap. Clip below. Can’t wait to see what Soledad has in mind.

Soledad O’Brien Partners With Google For Speaking Tour

February 14th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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 Ivan Nikolov/

Ivan Nikolov/

Call her Ms. Dealmaker. Since leaving Soledad O’Brien has been busy inking deal after deal. Her latest: Her production company, Starfish Media Group, will partner with Google for her first speaking tour,  O’Brien told the Huffington Post.

By using Google+ Hangouts, Google Apps for Business and her YouTube channel, Google Starfish will try to reach the broadest audience possible. And Google will also sponsor the “Soledad O’Brien Presents Black in America” speaking tour beginning February 17th. On the tour, O’Brien will speak at college campuses and art centers in five cities to encourage conversations about social change.

According to O’Brien, the partnership is “non-exclusive” and is part of her push to make Starfish Media a “multi-platform” firm.

O’Brien also said the speaking tour will bring her to a new audience.

“The speaking tour is very different than doing a show where you can have momentary jitters about nailing a break, getting to commercial on time, or finishing the interview in four minutes,” she said. “I’m not nervous about anything…. I’m looking forward to things getting challenging.”

She also has several television commitments. O’Brien, who still has ties to her old network, is continuing her In America series for CNN. She is also a contributor to Al Jazeera America.

“Growing an audience takes time– I think what they’re doing has been to put high quality pieces on, and that’s the best strategy,” O’Brien said of the recently launched Al Jazeera America. “Some networks talk about a commitment to good journalism and just do entertainment. But the quality of their reporting has been tremendous.”

O’Brien also told HuffPost Media she working on various documentaries to air on CNN and Al Jazeera America as well as a piece for HBO’s Real Sports. The next segment of the Black in America documentary series will air on CNN during summer.

Live From Black Girls Rock! “If Your Life Was A Love Song, What Would It Be…”

November 4th, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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Two weeks ago, the biggest and brightest names in Black Hollywood gathered together for a celebration we love: Black Girls Rock! The 2013 awards show was once again hosted by our favorite funny gals, Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina King, and honored everyone from Misty Copeland to the Patti LaBelle.

We were on site on the red carpet to chat with a few of this year’s honorees and attendees, and to switch things up a bit we asked the ladies one interesting question: “If your life was a love song, what would it be?” Check out what Sanya Richards Ross, Soledad O’Brien, Ledisi, and more said in the video above. Do you like their choices?

Melissa Harris-Perry Seems To Be The Only Sunday Morning News Host Who Can Bring A Diverse Panel

October 16th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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MHP looking fabulous for her 40th birthday. via Twitter

MHP looking fabulous for her 40th birthday. via Twitter

Media Matters has conducted a survey on diversity on the Sunday morning talk shows and, once again, the results show that for the most part, the panels that are brought together to discuss the pressing issues of the day are overwhelmingly white males.

“Six of the seven shows analyzed – This WeekFace the NationFox News SundayMeet the PressState of the Union, and Up – have hosted white men at a significantly higher rate than their 31 percent portion of the population,” the site writes. In fact, “75 percent of Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday solo interview subjects were white men,” the article continues. Gender diversity is also an issue.

On both fronts — gender and ethnic diversity — the networks are improving, with MSNBC the clear front runner in these areas. In fact, it’s one MSNBC show in particular, The Melissa Harris-Perry Show, that tops all others.

“Melissa Harris-Perry provided the greatest diversity among guests, providing a much higher rate of white women and African-American guests than the other programs,” the results find.

When we talk about this topic, it’s not just about diversity for diversity’s sake. If the point of these shows, and of media in general, is to present the news and then provide context and analysis, varying perspectives bring the texture necessary to achieve that.

“The dearth of diverse perspectives in media discussions is very telling of how America continues to deal with, or not, issues of race and ethnicity,” Tia T. Gordon, founder and CEO of TTG+Partners told us in an email. “…It’s a thoughtless (and lazy) approach to having real conversations about real issues that affect real Americans.  If the bookers of these Sunday talk shows would look beyond their ‘usual suspects’ of guests—and work with PR folks like me who often pitch without success a long roster of qualified, well articulate African-American experts who could speak on a myriad of issues—they will begin to understand that broader discussions could happen.”

In other words, finding even a few more guests with diverse backgrounds to speak on the topics of the day shouldn’t be so difficult for the media. Soledad O’Brien, speaking to FishbowlNY at a recent media event, says it’s “disheartening” that she’s been talking about this topic for the past 26 years.

“It’s actually not that hard. All you need to do is tell the stories of diverse people and hire diverse people. You can make sure that you’re promoting and supporting your diverse candidates who you want to be in leadership positions, because that’s really how the tone in an organization is set,” the site says.

To keep this conversation going , MadameNoire Business will be talking with TTG+Partners and Colorlines publisher Rinku Sen will be participating in a Twitter chat tomorrow at noon ET, “Covering Race in the Media.” Join us on Twitter (#ttgpchat) and bring your questions and thoughts on this topic. Check out the details here.


CNN Needs A Splash of Color! Journalist Appointed To Lead Network’s Diversity Group

October 3rd, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Anderson Cooper image via Joseph Marzullo/ Jake Tapper (top) and Wolf Blitzer (bottom) via Twitter

Anderson Cooper image via Joseph Marzullo/ Jake Tapper (top) and Wolf Blitzer (bottom) via Twitter

Since Soledad O’Brien was dismissed, CNN has been in the hot seat for its homogeneous, “invariably white” staff. Swooping in to dissipate criticism, Geraldine Moriba, the new Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion for CNN Worldwide, will work to bring a splash of color to the news network.

Ever since Jeff Zucker was appointed president of CNN last year, the network has developed a poor track record on diversity. Along with O’Brien, Roland Martin and Donna Brazile were removed from their analyst positions on the network. “Do you think that the vision Zucker has for CNN may be a ‘White-out?’” an Ebony contributor once asked. Martin, describing CNN executives as “largely white males,” believed they refused to renew his contract despite his good ratings because they were threatened by “having strong, confident minorities” on board.

Just last week, rumors were circulating that Zucker was pulling the plug on CNN’s Diversity Council, but CNN announced the contrary: African-American journalist Geraldine Moriba will be spearheading a revamped Council to address multicultural issues facing the news network.

I had the pleasure of working with her prior to my time at CNN, and always found her to have a terrific sensibility and understanding of some of the complex issues we face when it comes to diversity and inclusion,” said Jeff Zucker, chief of CNN.

For the first time, the VP of Diversity and Inclusion will be required to report directly to the President on matters concerning diversification.

Moriba, also an Emmy-winning executive producer for CNN’s Program Development, has demonstrated her credentials for her new position through her work on CNN’s In America. The program featured 11 groundbreaking documentaries in two years which “focused on communities which had previously been underserved,” a press release stated. Moriba also created the “In America Blog” which surpassed 15 million readers within the first six months.

Aware of the scrutiny CNN has received for hiring few anchors of color, Moriba explained, “Some of the smartest journalists in the business work at CNN and I know that the prevailing sentiment in our newsrooms is that it is crucial for our content and workforce to reflect the audience we serve. These are goals accomplished by working as a team. This isn’t only about pursuing a noble purpose, it’s about continuing to share news from across our increasingly diverse and interconnected world, in even more effective ways.” The anchors in the image up top are some of the network’s more famous faces. But Jane Velez-Mitchell (host of Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell), Van Jones (one of the hosts of the revamped Crossfire), and Don Lemon (host of CNN Newsroom on the weekends) are some of the other anchors on the network.

The award-winning CNN Diversity Council was created back in 2003. Its basic initiative is to enforce CNN’s diversity mission of “growing its business by reflecting diverse audiences and perspectives in its programming and supporting an inclusive culture for its employees,” a press statement said.

Fresh From The AdColor Awards And Twerking With Arsenio, Nick Cannon Launches Tie Collection At Macy’s

September 25th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Nick Cannon, Soldedad O’Brien & Don Lemon. Credit: Mike Windle /WireImage

Nick Cannon, Soldedad O’Brien & Don Lemon. Credit: Mike Windle /WireImage

The 2013 ADCOLOR awards, a ceremony that champions diversity in the media, were held at the swanky Beverly Hilton hotel on Saturday with Nick Cannon taking home the “All Star” award for his successful multifarious career. CNN anchor Don Lemon hosted the event.

Cannon, known as an industry chameleon with work covering a variety of media, was lauded for his achievements in television, film, and radio broadcasting, executive producing and philanthropy. We can add twerking to the mix. Cannon showed off his rump-shaking abilities on The Arsenio Hall Show this week with Arsenio labeling Cannon’s performance as “genius.” Check out the performance in the clip below.

via Business Wire

via Business Wire

And Cannon just can’t stop. Just this week, Macy’s announced they will be launching Cannon’s new brand of striped, dotted, plaid, and bold-colored ties. “Retailing for $65 and made of silk, each tie will express a distinct style sensibility,” Daily Finance said. The exclusive line of 25 ties will be available online and in select Macy’s retailers.

Other AdColor honorees included Ryan Tarplay, a Creative Artists Agency executive, Janet Mock, a writer and founder of the #GirlsLikeUs Project, and Torrence Boone, a managing director and business developer for Google.

Additional presenters and attendees included  Randy Jackson, Garcelle Beauvais, Soledad O’ Brien, Wilson Cruz, Laz Alonso, and MC Hammer with performances by Elijah Blake and DJ Eric Cubeechee.

AdColor strives to bring the next generation of underrepresented professionals into the media fold by celebrating the accomplishments of  African-Americans, American Indian/Native Americans, Asian Pacific-Americans, and Hispanics.

Congratulations to all the honorees!

The Next “Black In America” Documentary Will Debut On August 30

August 21st, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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The next installment of Soledad O’Brien’s Black In America documentary series will debut on CNN on August 30 at 10 pm ET/PT. Titled “Great Expectations,” it will explore education inequality, specifically as it affects African-American boys in a low-income area of Minneapolis. The pros and cons of charter schools will also be explored.

O’Brien has been very involved in education of late. She will be an instructor in the Sundance Channel’s documentary Dream School, which will give 15 troubled students another chance at a high school education. And O’Brien is a fellow at the Harvard School of Education. O’Brien is also a special correspondent to the new Al Jazeera America network and has signed on for HBO’s program Real Sports. The documentary has been produced through O’Brien’s new company Starfish Media Group.

Will you be tuning in?

Who’s In & Who’s Out On Daytime TV

July 22nd, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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TV talk shows have become a game of musical chairs. There are shows that have been canceled, hosts who are changing channels, and personalities coming back.  But will anyone top the success Oprah Winfrey had when she reigned as the Queen of Daytime and the model talk show host? The new slew of TV hosts are going to give it a try. Here’s a look at who’s doing what and where this coming season.

Soledad O’Brien Goes Off On Twitter Over ‘Washington Post’ Column About Trayvon Martin

July 19th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Andres Otero/

Andres Otero/

Soledad O’Brien lost it on Twitter after reading a controversial column in The Washington Post that justifies George Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin because of “urban crime.”

“I don’t like what George Zimmerman did, and I hate that Trayvon Martin is dead. But I also can understand why Zimmerman was suspicious and why he thought Martin was wearing a uniform we all recognize,” Richard Cohen opens. “…I’m tired of politicians and others who have donned hoodies in solidarity with Martin and who essentially suggest that, for recognizing the reality of urban crime in the United States, I am a racist. The hoodie blinds them as much as it did Zimmerman.”

O’Brien tweeted:

soledad tweet


Cohen further defended the piece in an interview with Politico. Addressing hoodie as a “uniform” comment, Cohen says:

“It’s what’s worn by a whole lot of thugs. Look in the newspapers, online or on television: you see a lot of guys in the mugshots wearing hoodies.”

I [Politico reporter Dylan Beyers] pointed out that Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder, is also known to wear a hoodie.

“Right, so it’s the uniform of billionaires and thugs,” Cohen said with a chuckle.

What a troll.

Others in the media also took issue with the column. From The Huffington Post:

“I totally recognize the hoodie uniform,” tweeted The Washington Post’s own Ezra Klein. “I wore it at UC Santa Cruz. Weirdly, no one thought I was dangerous.”

“Washington Post is scared of young black men,” tweeted Circa editor-in-chief Anthony De Rosa.

The column is still available on The Washington Post website. Should it be taken down?

Soledad O’Brien’s Next “Black In America” May Cover Trayvon Martin Murder

July 18th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Soledad O’Brien seems to be relishing her new role as CEO of her own production company, Starfish Media Group. Since leaving CNN, she has made a number of deals through Starfish, including the continuance of the Black In America series for CNN Docs. Her next Black in America special will air later this year and focus on the  education of African-American boys. It will most probably touch on the Trayvon Martin case.

“We have to examine what’s going on in American justice,” O’Brien said on The Tom Joyner Morning Show (via Black America Web). “It’s interesting because it was a story we all know, whether it was the Trayvon Martin case or you and I could tick off five other cases in the last five years where it seems that justice is out of reach if you’re African American.”

The Martin case has inspired possibly another project for O’Brien. “I think it would be interesting examining where justice is applied and sometimes where it’s not. Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic has a really interesting piece about [the Trayvon Martin] trial. He sort of kicks off through history these times when justice has been differently applied. I think that would be a fascinating documentary,” said O’Brien. She also has projects with Al Jazeera America, HBO, National Geographic and other channels in the works or already in place.

“I run a production company now and I’m the CEO. I do pieces for HBO and I do pieces for Al Jazeera and work for National Geographic and produce documentaries for CNN and we’re talking to another bunch of partners as well,” O’Brien told the radio show. “So I’m in the producing of the kinds of things that I like business. That’s what I do now.”

O’Brien will join  HBO’s Real Sports on  July 23.

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