Life gets bumpy. Amen. I’m thankful I was raised by my parents to not suffer the negative, but seek the positive. When I’m facing a challenge, feeling sad or questioning a situation I have no control over, I reflect on individuals who inspire me to think and behave positively.
Those close to me know how much I value positive role models. I believe no matter who you are or whether you want to be, you’re a role model. Our behaviors make an impression on others. I work hard to be a positive reflection as one of God’s children. Not perfect by an means, but intent on learning my lessons and avoiding making the same mistake twice.
One person I always looked up to was CBS News correspondent, Ed Bradley. CBS News was the first place I worked after finishing college and Mr. Bradley was such a force in the halls and studios of that network. I’m honored to have known him.
I attended Ed Bradley’s memorial service at Riverside Baptist Church in New York City. A standing room only event packed with the world’s most achieved talents in news, politics, business and music. There were so many different people this man had touched. This was not a religious event, but a spiritual celebration!
I floated home and wrote the letter below. I needed to let everyone know how valuable this man was to my spirit. I’m resurrecting and sharing it with you.
July 17, 2007
Hello Colleagues –
I had the opportunity to attend the memorial for Ed Bradley this past Tuesday. The celebration of this famed African-American journalist was a spiritual event and I’m so happy / so happy I was able to share in it.
I first met Mr. Bradley in the early 90′s during my first tv gig as a Production Secretary for CBS News: 48 Hours. Like many entry-level ‘kids’ we were often borrowed to work on other productions. One week Dan Rather was on vacation and Mr. Bradley was called to fill in as host of the Evening News. By divine intervention, I was assigned to work with the Evening News team that week – answering phones, collating and handing scripts to talent, etc…
When Mr. Bradley would come to the set, a group of young, ambitious and awestruck black ‘kids’ throughout the broadcast center would sneak away from their assigned post to get a glimpse of “that famous 60 Minutes correspondent” as he flawlessly reported the news of the day, live, to the country. I vividly remember my friend Lisa and me telling Mr. Bradley how much we admired Dan, but we LOVED seeing him in that chair. He laughed and thanked us and also asked us to tell him more about ourselves. I’m sure I told him something about growing up in Colorado and never dreaming I would have met someone like him. Life is good.
It would be 15 years later that Ed Bradley would play a pivotal role in my career…
After ‘growing pains’ and much ‘dues paying’ I found myself at MTV Networks:VH1 in line to be promoted to Supervising Producer of my department — (You ever had one of those jobs, where you’re doing the job, but don’t have the title and certainly not getting paid for it?) One of my first challenges as Acting-Supervisor was to assemble and lead a creative team to produce a special project on New Orleans Jazzfest. Everybody was excited, but the stakes were high to bring back a polished segment that fulfilled our creative mission, would be appropriate for the VH1 audience and of course, makes the bosses, marketing, affiliates, programming, press and ‘whoever else’ happy…
There was a lot to juggle in New Orleans – among them new talent, a local crew, local production assistants and a quite testy Jazzfest guide – we couldn’t shoot a piece of tape without her permission. We were getting some good footage of the Jazzfest and the interviews with the musicians were okay, but as the head honcho, deep down I knew we needed more — we had sizzle, but I wasn’t sure if we had the steak… After lunch we gathered behind one the big tents to talk about how things were going. I knew we needed that ‘one thing’ to bring it all together. The next thing we knew, this distinguished man in shorts and a tee drove by us in a golf cart. It was Ed Bradley – Mr. Jazz. Mr. New Orleans. Mr. Perfect. We were no fools. This was a unique and special opportunity. We asked the vacationing 60 Minutes man if he would answer a couple of questions for us on-camera. He told us to ‘get it together.’ Sitting gracefully in that golf cart, Mr. Bradley passionately described the significance of Jazzfest, New Orleans and jazz music. He was flawless. Everything came together.
The piece aired the following week. It was a home run. The team and I were complimented from above and below and everyone mentioned how Ed Bradley’s interview made it extra special. Indeed, there were a lot of components that made that Jazzfest project a success, but Mr. Bradley’s participation that day, gave us all determination and inspiration. No doubt. — A week later I had ‘lunch’ with my boss and was formerly offered the position. I got my title and a few more bucks. Ta da.
At the memorial there were so many wonderful words shared about Ed Bradley’s life and career. He made a positive impact on many lives. He set the standard for my achievements – integrity, quality and passion. It’s going to take some time getting used to him not being physically with us, but his spirit and legacy continues.