While I did grow up with one or two local black news personalities (plus Oprah) in the 80s, the ratio of colored folks reading about crime stories to the colored folks participating in those same stories was always a little skewed. And it’s always a relief to see a brown face on a news show without hearing “bad boys, bad boys…whatcha gonna do?” in your head. Living overseas, I get my occasional news fix from CNN International, which often diverges from its US counterpart in style and content (they broadcast The Daily Show, admittedly as satire, but solidly left-leaning programming). Also, with the BBC as its main competitor, the vast majority of CNN International’s anchors have haute-couture British accents. And while 99% of the males on air are older white guys (reflecting the largest business-traveling demographic, I presume), the casting department seems to have a talent for selecting attractive women of color to present wars, famines, political intrigue, plane crashes, etc. to the viewing public. Yes, we know inquisitive drive and spot-on wit are (or should be) requirements for international journalism; we also know that a pretty face always captures an audience. Here are a few of my favorites:
Isha Sesay, of British birth and Sierra Leonean descent, toggles between serious, impactful news stories and light, fun interviews as an anchor on several of CNN’s main news programs, as well as host of the weekly regional round-up, Inside Africa. She shows great versatility as a journalist and she just as cute as she wanna be.
CNN recently stole Manisha Tank from the BBC, and I’m glad they did. To me, the square Sophia Loren-like jawline and full features make for a striking assemblage on-screen. I’d be mesmerized watching her read a Wendy’s Super Value Menu. Right now, she sub-anchors the CNN Today news program, but I say give the lady her own show.
One of the few black Americans on CNN International, Sara Sidner represents for the sisters as the network’s correspondent in New Delhi. Not only does she handle tough situations with style and aplomb, like this testy mob following the Mumbai bombings, she also scores points for having a little size on her and still being gorgeous.
Hong Kong-born Anjali Rao, World News Asia anchor and host of the Talk Asia interview show, is always enjoyable to watch. Her interest in the people she interviews is palpable and she mixes in-depth knowledge of the interviewee with humor and warm laughs, as seen in this one-on-one with Kobe Bryant during last year’s Beijing Olympics.
On the weather front, meteorologist Jennifer Delgado (above right, obviously) keeps the folks informed about sun and rain from Caracas to Karachi. I’m interested to know what her cultural background is, considering she’s a member of both the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (like Soledad). Either way, she’s got a lil twang that be slippin out sometimes. I hear ya, gul.
Unfortunately for the overseas ladies, they only give you Errol Barnett, a young, good-looking English brother who got his start on the Channel One high school news network and hosts I-Report for CNN. I guess he’s being groomed to be the next TJ Holmes, but cain’t nobody do TJ’s down-home drawl. Hell, I wanna know how Errol kept his British accent while studying in LA.
In other news, two interesting faces that I’ve seen on foreign networks are Mabel Lara of Caracol Noticias, the only black news anchor in Colombia (in a country with at least 40% of its people having some African ancestry and where too many black women still have to sell fruit for a living):
And this brother, whose name I don’t know and who used to be the sports anchor on the English-speaking version of this Chinese network (that I first saw in Brazil):
You guys know of any other TV anchors of color out there on the global scene?