Monthly Archives: July 2009

Spotlight On: Christina Norman


Christina Norman

Christina Norman

“I can figure anything out.”

Christina Norman in Crain’s Top 40 Under 40

It must be tough being CEO of one of the most anticipated networks yet to launch, especially when the network is called “OWN” and named after one of the most powerful women in the world. If anyone is up to the task it is Christina Norman, CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). With a track record of achieving strong results, this media veteran is bound to help OWN become powerful from the start.

Born in New York, NY, Christina grew up in the boroughs of Queens and the Bronx. Interest in the arts and entertainment was in her genes as her parents were strong music enthusiasts. In college, she chose film as her major and received a film degree from Boston University. After college she entered into a position in advertising, working behind the camera for commercials. 1991 marked the beginning of her “big break” when she was hired into MTV Networks. Through her extensive career with MTV networks she launched and re-launched some of the most successful ventures in the network’s history. It was during her time there that her boss asked around to see if anyone knew animation as he was recruiting staff for a new show (Beavis and Butthead). She promptly replied, “I do,” even though she did not.  She told Crain’s that though she did not have any experience, she seized the opportunity and figured she could “figure anything out” which is exactly what she did. Some of her other significant achievements included launching MTV, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Tr3s, and MTV.com as well as re-launching VH1 to the “celebreality” format that it is today.

Ms. Norman left MTV Networks as president to join OWN, a venture between Oprah and Discovery Communications, which is speculated to launch sometime in early 2010. Norman told The Hollywood Reporter, “…we’ve got to expand the notion of what it means to live a life with purpose, which includes humor, which includes talk shows, which includes all sorts of non-scripted things.” Between her and the rest of the OWN team which includes other veterans like Jamila Hunter and Robert Tercek, amazing programming and features are certainly in the works.

Christina Norman’s industry accolades include being named in The Hollywood Reporter’s “Power 100 Women in Entertainment,” Multichannel News’ “Wonder Women,” Crain’s New York’s Top 40 Under 40 , and featured in Advertising Age’s “Media Mavens” issue.  As if running a groundbreaking network is not enough, she still has found time to serve on the boards of Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center and the BRIC Arts Media Brooklyn. In one of the most complementary farewell announcements ever, Van Toffler of MTV said, “Christina’s mark on our company is indelible and it’s worth noting that she reinvented herself and our businesses along the way.” We are waiting anxiously for what she has in store for us at OWN.

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Angela Logan: Mortgage Apple Cake to the Rescue!


Logan's Mortgage Apple Cake

Logan's Mortgage Apple Cake

We may not be in a full blown depression but times are definitely hard for most Americans these days. Articles with advice from experts on how to financially tighten our belts are springing up everywhere. The stock market has yet to really stabilize and images of “tent cities” and abandoned homes are hard to ignore. So to give you some encouragement we thought we’d share this inspiring story about Angela Logan who found a silver lining amidst her stormy financial cloud.

Angela is a 55 year old mother to three sons and has been a resident of Teaneck, NJ in her home for 20 years. Recently, she and her family were hit with two unexpected expenses. The first was the result of a botched home repair project to mend damage sustained during a storm and the second was the closing of an agency where Angela previously worked that owed her money. Despite these set-backs, the mortgage was due and Angela needed to find a way to raise the money for a payment of $2500 before she could take advantage of the mortgage assistance programs offered through the Obama administration. Her salary as a substitute teacher was not going to be enough. Like so many Americans, Angela was in danger of loosing her home. That is, until she came up with the idea to bake apple cake using a recipe her grandmother taught her as a child in Atlanta. She began socializing to friends, family and classmates at Bergen Community College that she was baking and selling apple cake to raise money for a mortgage payment. That’s when the orders started rolling in. So much so that she had too many orders to handle in her home kitchen. Thanks to the Hilton Hotel in Hasbrouck Heights, N.J. and Josh Kaye, founder and president of Bake Me A Wish, a not-for-profit bakery that sells scrumptious goodies for charitable causes, Angela was allowed to use their approved kitchens and facilities to bake and ship her cakes nationwide. Needless to say, her mortgage payment has been taken care of and now Angela and Bake Me A Wish are paying it forward by giving a portion of the proceeds to others in need.  Check out Angela on MSNBC.

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The Arrest of Dr. Gates: A Teachable Moment?


DrHenryLouisGates

DrHenryLouisGatesJr.

It’s been a little over a week since the news first broke about prestigious Harvard professor, Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr., being arrested at his home in Cambridge for “disorderly conduct”, charges that have since been dropped. However, the incident has again sparked a national discourse in the media regarding race relations. Retired General and former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, weighed in on the issue yesterday during his appearance on Larry King Live. The same is true for Bill Maher earlier this week on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer and even President Obama was asked for his opinionduring a White House briefing on health care. Additionally, a variety of opinions have been circulating throughout the blogosphere and several news media outlets ranging from support of Dr. Gates and disdain for the Police Officer to accusations of racism. In an attempt to put the controversy to rest, President Obama has invited both Dr. Gates and the arresting officer, Sgt. James Crowley to the White House tomorrow to discuss the incident informally over a beer. What’s interesting about this situation is that we will only ever have two sides of the story, Dr. Gates’ side and Sgt. Crowley’s side. There are no witnesses to substantiate the claims or help identify the “truth”. Yet and still, it hasn’t stopped people from “taking sides”. In the absence of “truth”, is it responsible to “take sides” when the deciding factor is our inferences and biases drawn through our own personal “life experience” filters? Moreover, since it is true that racial profiling of African Americans and Latinos exists, is it fair to assume that this was an incident of racism or could it have been a clash of egos? Regardless of the answer, what is clear is that this was an unfortunate and unnecessary situation. President Obama, Dr. Gates and others have suggested that this could be a teachable moment for our country. So Vyne readers…what has this moment taught you?

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White Hot Style


White Hot Style

With only a little over a month away until Labor Day, now’s the time to wear out your white wardrobe! These “white hot” fashions and accessories are sure to inspire.
1. Gucci Santander Wedge Sandal
2. BCBGMAXAZRIA Strapless Rosette Dress
3. Bottega Veneta Hobo
4. Silk Ruffle Top
5. Michael Kors Sheath Dress
6. Shingle Plaque Belt

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Making History: Kimberly Anyadike


In a time when it seems like many teenagers lack motivation, manners and ambition, it is refreshing to see Miss Kimberly Anyadike. At only 15 years old, she has become the youngest African American female to fly solo cross country.

This remarkable young lady learned to fly at 12 years old  through Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum’s after schoolprogram located in Compton, California. She flew their  single-engine Cessna during the 13 day journey which departed from her hometown of Compton and landed in Newport News, Virginia. You can watch a video of her landing here.

As if her trip was not exciting enough, along for the ride was  one of the Tuskeegee Airmen, Levi Thornhill. When talking about the Tuskegee Airmen herself, Miss Anyadike said, “They left such a great legacy…All they wanted to do was to be patriots for this country. They were told no, that they were stupid, that they didn’t have cognitive development to fly planes. They didn’t listen. They just did what they wanted to do.”

Congratulations from The Vyne, Kimberly! You’re a true role model and we look forward to many more amazing accomplishments from you!

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Spotlight On: Suzanne Malveaux


Suzanne MalveauxSpotlight On: Suzanne Malveaux
A journalist who can instantly capture your attention, convey the feeling behind the story and do so in a way that makes you want to hear more from them is both a rare find and a news network’s dream. Suzanne Malveaux, White House correspondent for CNN, is exactly that and more.

Born in the midwest and raised in Maryland, Suzanne is the daughter of a school teacher mother, Myrna Maria Ruiz and renowned doctor, Floyd Malveaux, former dean of the College of Medicine at Howard University and founder of Howard University’s National Human Genome Center. It was perhaps through their example and involvement that Suzanne and her equally accomplished siblings learned the importance of education. Suzanne graduated cum laude from Harvard University, where she met future CNN correspondent, Soledad O’Brien. After graduating with a degree in sociology, Suzanne went on to obtain a Master’s degree in broadcasting from Columbia University School of Journalism. Her twin sister, Suzette, is an associate professor at the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America. In addition to her obvious intelligence and talent, it’s hard not to notice Suzanne’s stunning good looks which can be attributed to her African, Spanish and French heritage (her father is of Louisiana French Creole descent).

Suzanne’s first foray into television was with the New England Cable News as a general assignment reporter in Boston, Massachusetts. This was soon followed by a stint as a local and crime news reporter for NBC affiliate WRC-TV. Her career truly began to take off when she joined NBC Network News which afforded her the opportunity to spend time in Washington as a Pentagon correspondent and cover a variety of national stories including Bill Clinton’s impeachment, the 9/11 attacks, and the 2001 war in Afghanistan. In May 2002, Suzanne joined the CNN team as a White House correspondent based at their Washington, D.C. bureau where she hit the 2008 presidential campaign trail as a member of the network’s political team. She is often called on to moderate panels and has most recently been seen filling in for CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on The Situation Room.

When asked about her role as an African American journalist, Suzanne had this to say: “When I think of my grandparents and I think about the time of segregation, I think what would they think of their grandchild sitting in that seat, that CNN seat in that small little [White House] briefing room? There [are] only about 20 seats and I’m sitting in one of them. It’s so important that I feel like I’m representing people who couldn’t even imagine that we could be in that kind of position.”

Photo courtesy of CNN.

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Black in America 2: What Did You Think?


Black in America 2Tonight CNN premiered Black in America 2 (2nd half airs Thursday, July 23), featuring stories including underprivileged Brooklyn teens’ exposure to and service in South Africa, a young affluent black male’s experience in a predominantly white private university, and the Management Leadership of Tomorrow MBA prep program. After last year’s first installment of the Black in America series, many criticized, with some feeling like CNN did not depict an accurate portrayal of “blacks in America.” Others were excited that CNN spent the time and resources to shed light on the unique experience of being a black person in this country.

Tell us what you think. Do you think Black in America 2 did justice to the Black American experience?

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