Veteran News Anchor/Journalist Carol Jenkins to Host New "Black America" Series
Premieres Wednesday, Feb. 3
Photo: Carol Jenkins and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker
Emmy® Award-winning TV anchor and journalist Carol Jenkins returns to New York television as host of a new CUNY TV series designed to “put every idea on the table” about what it means to be Black in America in 2016. Ms. Jenkins has a long broadcast history with Black public affairs shows, beginning as pioneering co-host of WNBC-TV’s Positively Black, one of the earliest New York City programs dedicated to the Black experience.
Ms. Jenkins hosts BLACK AMERICA, a new series of weekly half-hour in-depth conversations premiering Wednesday, February 3 at 7:30 AM, 1:30 PM, and 8 PM on CUNY TV with Ford Foundation President Darren Walker as her first guest. Repeats will air Saturdays at 10:30 AM and Sundays at 11:30 PM.
The series also is available for online viewing anytime on & after its premiere at www.cuny.tv . It will be available as a podcast and also will have a significant presence on Facebook, Twitter (@BlackAmerica_TV) and Instagram.]
“Darren Walker, as President of the Ford Foundation, distributes over a half-billion dollars a year in support of initiatives,” said Ms. Jenkins. “That makes him one of the most powerful people in America. Now that he’s narrowed the focus of the foundation’s work to uprooting inequality, this is a great place for the BLACK AMERICA conversation to begin.”
The new series will draw from a pool of activists, academics, business leaders, sports figures, elected officials, artists and writers to evaluate the Black experience now.
Guests confirmed for upcoming weeks are spoken-word poet, performing artist, and LGBT rights activist Staceyann Chin; actor Courtney B. Vance, portraying defense attorney Johnnie Cochran in the upcoming FX miniseries, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story; Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Director of New York’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; actress Tonya Pinkins; and a special two-guest show with Tuskegee Airman Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr. and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.
“There is a new Black America,” said Jenkins. “Activists and young people are increasingly disconnected from the old way of doing things. We see a new civil rights movement organized loosely under the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag. There’s little confidence in the electoral process. The streets are the mechanism of action, and this is bringing results – police commissioners and college presidents resigning; names of racist presidents removed from buildings; police officers indicted for murder.
“An ever-widening chasm between haves and have-nots – in education, policing, prison reform, wages, health, religion, and the rights of girls and women – proves that we need to get to work, and BLACK AMERICA will be a part of that. I’m thrilled at the prospect of the conversations ahead, and what we’ll find on the minds of people in the year 2016.”
“I've wanted to do a show like BLACK AMERICA for a long time,” says Carol Jenkins. “We've all witnessed the extraordinary distance lives can traverse in this country, but there's a sense that opportunities are a thing of our past. It’s time to talk with those on the front lines of change and determine what’s to be done.”
An Emmy® Award-winning journalist, a writer, producer and media analyst, Jenkins is a sought-after speaker about the participation of women and people of color in the media and the political and economic structures in the U.S. – and about women’s health in developing countries, particularly on the African continent.
As a pioneering African American television reporter, Jenkins was an anchor and correspondent for WNBC-TV in New York for nearly 25 years. She reported from the floor of national presidential conventions from the 1970s to the 1990s. From South Africa, she reported the release of Nelson Mandela from prison and co-produced an Emmy-nominated primetime special on apartheid. She hosted Carol Jenkins Live, her own daily talk show, on WNYW-TV. Early in her career she co-hosted Straight Talk on WOR-TV, one of the first daily public affairs programs in New York City, and was co-host of Positively Black on WNBC-TV, one of the earliest television programs dedicated to Black issues in the United States.
Jenkins was Founding President of The Women’s Media Center, a nonprofit created in 2004 by Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan, and Jane Fonda to increase coverage and participation of women in media. As president, she conceived the Progressive Women’s Voices program to provide media training for women and girls, and she expanded SheSource, the largest portfolio of women experts in the country. At FCC hearings in 2007, she testified on the crisis in representation in mainstream media. During her tenure, Jenkins gave many speeches, wrote op-eds, and appeared as a guest expert on television and radio. Every year WMC presents its “Carol Jenkins Visible and Powerful in Media” Award to women in leadership positions. The honoree in 2014 was Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox.
With her daughter, Elizabeth Gardner Hines, Ms. Jenkins is co-author of Black Titan: A. G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire (2004). A biography of her uncle, a successful Alabama businessman and civil rights activist, the book won the Best Non-Fiction award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. She is presently writing a book on her family’s long experience in journalism as a window on gender and racial bias in media. In film, she was an executive producer of Eve Ensler’s PBS documentary What I Want My Words to Do to You, which won the Sundance Film Festival Freedom of Expression Award.
As past chair and current board member of AMREF Health Africa USA, an arm of the largest health NGO in Africa, Jenkins leads fundraising efforts to support health programs for African women and girls. AMREF received the Bill and Melinda Gates Award for Global Health. Jenkins is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her other board work includes the ERA Coalition, the Veteran Feminists of America and the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance. Carol Jenkins has served in the past on the boards of the Ms. Foundation and the Feminist Press.
Jenkins earned a B.A. from Boston University and an M.A. from New York University, where she was honored as a Distinguished Alumna. She holds honorary doctorates from the College of New Rochelle and Marymount Manhattan College. Honors include Lifetime Achievement and International Reporting Awards from The Association of Black Journalists/NY; the 2008 Women’s Equality Award from The National Council of Women’s Organizations; the 2009 North Star News Prize; and a 2012 United Nations Foundation press fellowship in global health issues. In 2012, Women’s eNews recognized Jenkins as a “multi-media agitator against bias” and presented her with its Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism; and in 2014 she was honored for her life in journalism by Mercy College.
# # #
BLACK AMERICA is co-produced by Audra D. West and Duane Ferguson. Robert Isaacson, CUNY TV’s Executive Director, serves as Executive Producer with Susan Iger and Gail R. Yancosek, CUNY TV Co-Executives in Charge of Production.
CUNY TV – the Emmy® Award-winning television station of the City University of New York, with an audience reach of 7.3 million households – is broadcast in the New York metropolitan area on digital Ch. 25.3, and is cablecast in the five boroughs of New York City on Ch. 75 (Time Warner and Cablevision), Ch. 77 (RCN) and Ch. 30 (Verizon FiOS).