Spotlight On: Soledad O’Brien


15786_Soledad-O_Brien“I define myself as multiracial. Definitions are important to other people. They make no difference to my life. I think my parents were sort of like. You’re a black girl. You’re a light skinned black girl – that’s what you are, and I don’t know if it was ever a really big issue…” – Soledad O’Brien

 She was the investigative force behind CNN’s much talked about series, Black in America and Latino in America. Next to Roland Martin, she is usually the most outspoken journalist on CNN, often not afraid to say the tough things. Award winning journalist, Soledad O’Brien is no shrinking violet.

 She was born Maria de la Soledad Teresa O’Brien in Long Island New York to Edward and Estella O’Brien. Both of her parents are immigrants, her mother a black Cuban and her father, a white Australian. As the fifth of six children, Soledad had the great fortune to be born into a family that valued education. Her mother was a French and English teacher and her father a mechanical engineering professor. Clearly it was the example they set that led to them raising six children, all of whom graduated from Harvard. Soledad’s sibling’s professions range from law professor and corporate attorney to eye surgeon and anesthesiologist. Soledad attended Smithtown High School East in Smithtown, NY and was often faced with the race question. She says of her middle school days:

“…when I was 13 I’d be stopped in the hallway, with a question: “If you’re a n—–, why don’t you have big lips? [or]…“Why is your name so weird?” People would apologize for asking me if I was black. I didn’t know how to take the apology. I just ignored them and pushed forward with a quest to become a typical Long Island teenager. I chopped off the end of my name and had people call me Solie, which I spelled with a heart over the “i” in true Long Island high-school-girl fashion. But my hair would never “wing” like Farrah Fawcett’s.

Despite the challenges, Soledad went on to attend Harvard University in the footsteps of her siblings. She did not immediately graduate, choosing instead to postpone her degree in favor of pursuing her journalism career. She started out as an associate producer and writer for an NBC affiliate in Boston. She went on to join NBC news in New York as a field producer for the Nightly News and Today. It wasn’t long before she became on-air talent for an NBC affiliate in San Francisco, the Discovery Channel and eventually began anchoring the weekend morning show on MSNBC. She continued writing and contributing reports for the Today Show and NBC Nightly News. In 2000, the same year that she was named one of People magazines “50 Most Beautiful People in the World”; Soledad completed her studies at Harvard and received her Bachelor of Arts.

 Soledad’s career trajectory and accolades are beyond impressive. Since joining CNN she has covered some of the most significant stories of our time, from Hurricane Katrina to the 2008 Presidential election. Her most recent success has come from her special investigative reporting series, Black in America  and Latino in America. As a mother and wife with a successful career, Soledad continues to demonstrate for women the world over that the sky is the limit.

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2 Comments

Filed under Phenomenal Women, TV, Uncategorized

2 responses to “Spotlight On: Soledad O’Brien

  1. John

    Soledad O’Brien is such a phony. In April 2008, Reverend Jeremiah Wright gave a speech in Detroit to the NAACP.  One of the things that  he said in this speech was that black and white children learn with different parts of their brain, and then gave an “unflattering imitation of the way white pastors speak.”  Peoples comments were that he gave a racial speech. Soledad  O’Brien, on CNN, was quoted as saying, in a gushing manner, that the speech was a “home run” and “really funny.” When questioned about the things he said in the speech, she would say things like, what he really meant was …..or what he wanted to say was… Once again she’s covering the truth and being racist.  Just as with the Henry Gates incident.  In an appearance on Anderson Cooper, the night or so before CNN’s “The Moment of Truth” she appeared enraged that it was a racial profile against Gates. She said that she got calls from her FRIENDS saying it was all about Gates being black.  She went on that show with the purpose, at all costs, to destroy the credibility of the white police officer and throw him under the bus.  When Cooper was talking she wanted to make the point that Gates said “Thank You” to the police officers.  By mentioning that, she was purposely misrepresenting the truth by playing down Gates’ belligerence and racial remarks, which she didn’t even mention.  Even Gates’ attorney and friend, said to the media that he used very strong language. Colon Powell and President Obama both said he should take blame in the incident.  I have seen this in many occasions with her, where she doesn’t speak the truth and hides the true facts.  Another time on Anderson Cooper, Cooper said to O’Brien that Senator John McCain hasn’t brought race into the campaign, like he said he wouldn’t.  You would think her response would have been something like, that’s great because he shouldn’t.  Instead she strongly insinuated that he would, even in the last week of the campaign. Also, her questioning style, in interviews  is completely different with a white person than it is with a black person.  Like in her interview with Henry Gates in “The Moment of Truth”  She just went along with his lies. I have seen several comments on various websites about her racism.  There are many other examples I could give of her racial bias, dishonesty and hypocrisy. She seems to consider herself to be black. She mentioned in an interview that her parents made it clear to her “you’re black” and that’s all there is to it.
    She’s all about being #1, she wants the world to revolve around her. She comes first, before her family. She wants to be a celebrity figure and a star. In interviews she says she works 6 days a week, mostly out of town, and on some holidays. She goes to gala events, concerts, lots of entertainment events, as a single woman, leaving her husband and kids behind.
    I think Soledad O’Brien is a very poor journalist. What ever happened to the days of CNN with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff? T hey were honorable journalists. You could believe what they said. John Las Vegas

  2. SkW

    I am really proud of such a well accomplished, polished, talented lady such as Mrs. O’Brien. Her work is nothing short of impressive. Also, she represents her communities well, as she’s an excellent role model for Blacks and Latinos as well. Of course, this talent will have future success; and I look forward to seeing her trail blaze through the rest of her long career. Much love to Mrs. O’Brien!

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