Y’all! I’m a co-host on A Seat At the Table, a revolutionary new weekly talk show on which my co-hosts Christine White, a prominent Atlanta attorney, and Monica Pearson, the legendary Atlanta news anchor, and I are raising our unapologetic, outspoken, intelligent voices on issues specific to Black women, shining a light on the diverse experiences, perspectives and challenges we face in our unique space—the things that matter to us.
Get! This! Work!A Seat at the Table TV is smart. Irreverent. High-five dopalicious. And unapologetically Black. Click To Tweet
Here’s the thing: I really didn’t “A Seat At the Table” coming. Truly, I didn’t. I’ve had my head down, working on a gang of projects, including freelance stories for dynamic sites like NPR’s Code Switch, a new celebrity memoir coming out next year, and, of course, my new children’s book imprint, Denene Millner Books, which is launching two more picture books over the next few months, There’s a Dragon in My Closet and Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut. On the personal front, I was also helping to get Mari, the First Girlpie of MyBrownBaby, through the college application process and on her way to a good school. She’s going to Yale, y’all! YES!
This is all to say that my plate has been mad full—much too full to make any real run at my lifelong dream of doing television. Frankly, seeing as I’m a woman of age—just a few months shy of 49—I didn’t think doing TV outside of a few appearances as a parenting expert on the Today show was even an option for me anymore. You know how it goes: media—particularly television—stays hating on women as we age, putting many of those who are already in the game out to pasture the moment they’re no longer 30, perky and blonde, or shutting the doors outright for those of us who want to enter the game after, like, age 20.
But not Georgia Public Broadcasting.
A few months ago, I got a phone call out of the blue from a dear friend of mine who knew that GPB was in the process of creating A Seat At the Table and looking for a third host. Monica and Christine had already been chosen to drive the show and they wanted to round out the cast with a third Black woman who was outspoken, opinionated, intelligent, passionate about subjects specific to Black women and in her 40s, to round out the multi-generational viewpoint they wanted for the show. My friend told the producers about me, and boom—I got the gig.
Understand how big this is for me: I’ve wanted to work in television since age 14. No lie. I was in the ninth grade when I decided I wanted to be Sue Simmons, the legendary NBC New York newscaster. Granted, it was a second career choice: it had been made painfully clear to me, after all, that my dreams of being an architect would never work out, seeing as I couldn’t get a hang of physics—at least that’s what my Daddy told me. So he made me choose another career path, and the moment he exacted my decision, Sue just happened to be on the TV, interviewing New Edition. Specifically, Ralph Tresvant, who, in my 14-year-old head, absolutely was going to be my husband. “I want to be Sue Simmons” I said out loud. In my head, I was all, “So I can meet Ralph and we can get married and have lots of babies…”
From that moment on, I focused on what it would take to become Sue. I got a radio show at my high school; I joined a media class that gave me valuable experience working behind the scenes of our high school TV station. And I worked hard to get writing clips to show how serious I was about a career in media. My efforts won me a full-tuition scholarship from my local newspaper, Long Island Newsday, and three summer internships at the paper that opened the door to my becoming a writer.
I have a B.A. in Mass Communications from Hofstra University, but my focus over the past 30 years has been writing. My work as a political reporter, entertainment journalist, parenting editor and expert on Black children opened doors for me on various news and TV shows, but never was I invited to a seat at the table.
But here I am, good and grown, ready to make my debut as a TV host, doing what I absolutely love: talking about the condition of Black women.
Here’s what you need to know about A Seat at the Table: it is smart. Irreverent. Fun. Funny. Thoughtful. High-five dopalicious. We are talking about the things that matter to us—topics like colorism, body image, microagressions, what it means to be “woke,” our health, black men, and so much more—and we’re talking about it authentically. From the heart. Unapologetically.
A Seat at the Table holds up a mirror to what we as Black women talk about amongst our friends in our most intimate spaces, and gives a window to others who may not be privy to those conversations. And I couldn’t be more grateful to help bring this perspective to the masses.
A Seat at the Table debuts this Sunday, June 18, at 6:30 p.m. on Georgia Public Broadcasting, which stretches on stations across Georgia and parts of Tennessee and South Carolina. It will also stream online at http://www.gpb.org/television/shows/a-seat-at-the-table.
Watch the pilot episode of A Seat at the Table here.
Want to hear more about the show and talk to the hosts and producers of A Seat at the Table? Join me, Monica, Christine and the producers, Tiffany Brown Riddeaux and Keocia Howard, for a Twitter chat tonight, Tuesday, June 13, at 8 p.m. Follow @asatt_tv and the hashtag #asatt to join the discussion.
Y’all! I have a TV show! OHMIGOD!
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.