There are some things in life we can't forget. The debris-filled streets of Moore, Oklahoma after last year's devastating tornado pop into my mind every once in a while. My friend Ally and I hopped in her car last year and drove up to Moore a couple days after the tragedy to help. We didn't know what we were going to do... but we had to help. We managed to show up at the exact time volunteers were being organized at a local community center. We were told we'd be going to clean up the cemetery... victims needed to be laid to rest. We walked a mile or so with hundreds of volunteers completely unprepared for what we were going to see.
Devastation. Complete and utter devastation. I remember walking towards the back of the cemetery at one point - I became overwhelmed with emotions and started crying. It was too much. Where do you even start to pick up the pieces. At that moment, a pastor was walking through the cemetery and he stopped and we prayed. That day changed my life.
I'm in Oklahoma today - we're doing a live shoot of The Broadcast from Winstar World Casino and Resort. I had some donations to take up to a special education facility in Norman, OK, right outside of Moore. I decided I'd make the trip yesterday before settling in at the hotel.
I wasn't going to drive up to Moore. It was raining. I was tired. It would take me an hour-and-a-half to get back down to Winstar. I finally decided that I couldn't have driven all that way without checking in on Moore.
That neighborhood you see in the picture above is being rebuilt. Lots of new, beautiful homes. There are still some empty lots. Lots of "For Sale" and "For Lease" signs - I wonder how many people decided to leave.
I ventured over the the cemetery to pay my respects. Again, tears flowed. The before-and-after pics speak for themselves.
So Moore... I will never forget. A constant reminder of how random (yet not-so-random) and precious life is.
Every morning before The Broadcast, we have a production meeting to go over the day's segments and trending hot topics for table talk. We all give input on the discussion topics (although I have admittedly scaled back my input for various reasons) that range from celebrity news to sports and even Kim Kardashian's backside (or front side depending on the week). Priorities, I know. But every once in a while, difficult and substantive topics come up because our social media timelines and feeds are saturated with them. They can't be ignored. And shouldn't be. Because they're important. Really, really important.
Michael Sam. Iraq. Trayvon Martin. Elections. Ray Rice. Obama. Ebola. Ferguson. #ICantBreathe.
And don't forget #AlexFromTarget.
Open carry. Governor-elect Greg Abbott said recently that he would sign any open carry legislation that made its way to his desk. In Texas, public display of rifles and shotguns is already legal, but handguns must be concealed. For now anyway. Folks want to be able to snatch those guns out of their waistband holsters when confronted by dangerous thugs. Easier access to a deadly weapon. For protection. Shoot first, ask questions later.
The article was tossed across the table. And I cringed.
John Crawford, age 22. Tamir Rice, age 12. Trayvon Martin, age 17. Mike Brown, age 18.
The names of the first four people I thought about after reading the headline. The first two were both holding air pellet guns when they were shot and killed by law enforcement. The latter two were unarmed. None were given the benefit of the doubt. But all were so inherently dangerous that their deaths were justified (the investigation into the officer's actions is currently ongoing in Tamir's case).
These four have something else in common... they were all black. Sigh. Breathe. I don't want to have this discussion. I'll be accused of bringing up race again. Of playing the race card. But how do I discuss gun control without discussing race, when the hashtags #ICantBreathe and #BlackLivesMatter are trending topics worldwide? Yes, we have to discuss open carry. Yes, it's important and necessary. And yes, it's not going to go well. And it didn't.
Me: You've got 12-year-old kids in parks with those soft pellet guns...
Co-host: (interrupts) Oh here we go again...
Me: (pause) I'm sorry?
Co-host: Oh go ahead.
Here we go again? With what? I continue to make my point that this 12-year-old kid is now dead because law enforcement had a split second to decide whether or not someone pointing what looked like a real gun was dangerous. Alas, it was a child. With a toy. Who wasn't dangerous. And now he's dead. And this is why open carry makes me cringe. Guns that are more easily accessible. Makes me shudder just thinking about it.
On to the viewer comments from Facebook... one viewer wrote: "If thugs can carry open and illegally, we should carry our guns open and legally."
My question... who are the thugs? Who are you referring to when you say the word thugs? These guys?!?
I asked the question - who are the thugs? Silence. I asked again. Who are these thugs? Someone said, "Criminals." Who are the criminals? I can't tell you how many times I heard the peaceful protesters in Ferguson, Dallas, New York, etc. referred to as "thugs." Use of the word "thug" in and of itself has racist undertones (and overtones I guess) - which is exactly why it needs to be discussed. We could've kept this game up for a while until someone actually acknowledged the truth - by thugs and criminals, they mean black men. The "thuggification" of young black men is a real thing - I didn't make it up - it's so eloquently described here.
Still not following me? Well, it's discussed here. And here. And here.
But hey, here we (I) go again...
I pray for the day when we no longer have to discuss race. We're just not there yet. If you're tired hearing about it, imagine what it must be like to live it. At least someone feels me...
For perspective's sake... our discussion about Ferguson a couple weeks ago. Click here.
After missing The Broadcast on Monday because of jury duty, the rest of the week ended up being pretty epic!
I can now check "pose-with-a-supermodel" off of my bucket list since Petra Nemcova joined us in studio to talk about her Happy Hearts Fund charity...
And our friends at Northpark Center always throw the best holiday parties! This year most of our producers were able to attend and we all won some pretty great raffle prizes!
We hosted our first movie screening Thursday night! We previewed "Wild" starring Reese Witherspoon. That movie is deep... and reminds me why I hate camping!
And then today.... O-M-G! Our show was broadcast live from Dr. Pepper Arena here in Frisco. I knew we were going to be chatting all things Texas Legends today but little did I know that would include an interview with a bona fide NBA legend. I looked through my rundown of today's show... Del Harris? OMG - DEL HARRIS! As a die-hard Lakers fan, being able to interview someone like Del was a true honor. It was pretty awesome. None of my co-hosts are really into sports - but I was in my happy place today!
It was spring. 1992. I was a 10th grader in the middle of JV softball practice at University High School in West Los Angeles when our coach abruptly stopped practice. The "Rodney King" verdict had been announced. Four white police officers on trial after their vicious beating of King was caught on tape were acquitted of all charges. Practice was cancelled and we were sent home.
I quickly boarded the school bus desperately wanting to get home quickly. Riots. They were rioting in South Central LA. Sure enough, the view of the Los Angeles skyline that I'd so often seen from from the vantage point of a school bus on THE 405 was different. Smoke plumes peppered the horizon. I worried about my grandmother - she lived in South Central and was certainly in the thick of it. Cellphones weren't widely used back then - there was no way to call home and check in. So I sat anxiously in 405 traffic watching the city I grew up in and loved burn.
Once I got home, the evening news was covering the savage beating of truck driver Reginald Denny. Stores were being looted. Buildings were burning. It was utter and complete chaos. People were mad and LA was burning. Our Ladera Heights home was far enough away from the epicenter of the unrest but literally only a handful of miles away from the thick of it. We sat and watched our city in turmoil for four days before the authorities finally and methodically shut down the riots.
Fast forward to 2014 - Officer Darren Wilson shoots and kills an unarmed black teen. Mike Brown. He looks sweet in his pictures - almost like a gentle giant. But a surveillance video soon surfaces that portrays Brown in a different light - a pretty bad one too. He apparently stole some cigars and physically assaulted the store owner 10 minutes or so before he was killed. Officer Wilson got into a confrontation with Brown and a friend. There was a struggle. And Mike Brown ended up dead.
Last night around 8 p.m., an announcement was made that the grand jury failed to indict Officer Wilson for the killing of Mike Brown. Honestly - I wasn't surprised. There was that moment of hope in which I thought the grand jury might do the right thing - indict Officer Wilson and let him stand trial for the killing. Let people know that black lives matter. Send a message that killing unarmed black teens would not be tolerated. That didn't happen. And chaos broke out in the streets of Ferguson. The images of looting and burning buildings were so familiar. It was just like LA in 1992.
We talked about this on The Broadcast this morning. I have a rule - no crying at work. Today was an exception. The conversation was so frustrating. And sad. I'll let you watch today's table talk here.
Last night I was checking my Twitter timeline like I usually do when a photo of Kim Kardashian's bare behind started popping up all over the place. I thought the image was disgusting and a bit grotesque. With her extremely small (and I'm assuming altered) waistline anchoring her enormous behind in all it's greasy, glazed donut-looking glory, all I could do is shake my head. The pic was ripe for discussion during table talk on The Broadcast this morning.
As expected, I was the only one who really had a problem with the picture. I don't think anyone expected liberal ol' me to be such a prude! I'm all about sexiness, but I think you can be sexy without being trashy. Imagine my surprise when my co-host compared one of my bikini pics to Kim Kardashian's. She asked, "What's the difference between these two pictures?" I dunno, clothing. The conversation certainly got a little heated. Check it out here and let me know your thoughts. In the meantime, here's a side-by-side of the two images in question. They're different, right?!?
I may have jinxed myself with my positivity yesterday...
Or maybe it was Glenn...
But today was just all bad. I'm talking B-A-D bad.
Insomnia runs in my family (thanks mom) and last night was just one of those nights - a lot of tossing and turning with very little sleep, even after medicating! I knew today was going to be rough.
It was a busy morning - we had more people in studio than I've seen in a while. My co-hosts and I also had to set up a camping tent for a segment AND I had to pre-tape two segments. No biggie. Except I was tired. Really, really tired. My first satellite interview was with the one-and-only-all-sorts-of-award-winning Herbie Hancock. Having grown up with his songs playing on my mom's radio, I was excited to talk to him about his new book Possibilities. I'd done my research like I always do and took some time over the last week to read the book. There were all sorts of interesting things to talk about - from his drug addiction that he revealed for the first time in the book to the Buddhism he's practiced for years. Unfortunately for me, I made a mistake... a big one... right at the beginning of the interview. I excitedly asked about the Beverly Hills Cop theme Mr. Hancock had written. Only problem... he actually didn't write it. He smiled - then said it was a common misconception that he'd written it, then said again it wasn't him. Um, fail. And because I was so tired (and now a little frazzled... heck, a lot frazzled), it took me a couple seconds too long (in my book) to recovery. We chatted for another couple of minutes about his book, his music and any regrets he had in life (to which he answered, "No."). I thanked him for his time, read the tag, then the screen faded to black.
I WANTED TO DIE!
I don't like making mistakes. I make them - we all do. But I try to be prepared so that mistakes like this don't happen. I was hoping it didn't look as awkward as it felt, but it did. As producer Stuart exclaimed "DOH" loudly in the studio with all of our studio guests watching, I pseudo-hid in our dressing room because I was embarrassed. And mad at myself. I don't make those kinds of mistakes.
We were only two segments into the show, so I had to go back into the studio and get back to work. I had a great wine segment with the folks from Napa's Bennett Lane Winery. I gingerly sipped on one of the best blends I've had in a while... I wanted to chug-a-lug the glass then pour another one, then go hide in the tent we pitched earlier because I just don't mess up that bad. But then I read the tease for the next segment and energetically told viewers about the gentleman who'd be featured. Only problem... he was standing against the wall and wasn't told he needed to be in the tease! MISTAKE #2 of the morning. So I'm still tired, still reeling from mistake #1, then this happens. It was at that point I decided I was being punked. Or Glenn had cursed me. Either way, it wasn't one of my better days.
Monday morning. 8:30 a.m. Production meeting for The Broadcast. Our executive producer runs through the run down of the show. Texas singer Taylor Phelan who is a current contestant on NBC's The Voice is joining us in studio. He's our third guest from The Voice - fellow Texas crooners Reagan James and Luke Wade have already been on the show. I'm excited to meet him.
I'm informed I've got a couple of pre-tapes. Our show airs live from 10-11 CST. We conduct satellite interviews with folks all over the country either before or after the show, then those interviews are during the show or on a later date. I learned I'd be interviewing actor Jay Harrington about his new legal dramedy on USA called Benched. Then, very nonchalantly like it's absolutely no big deal, my producer tells me I'll be interviewing Shirley MacLaine. YES, THAT SHIRLEY MACLAINE! Having grown up with movies like Terms of Endearment and Steel Magnolias, I have to say, I'm a fan. The Benched interview aired yesterday. My interview with Ms. MacLaine was supposed to air today.
Well, we had to bump Ms. MacLaine on today's show because Dallas Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson stopped by to talk about the Mavs' season opener tonight against the San Antonio Spurs. My buddy and former Dallas Cowboy Marcus Spears was guest co-hosting today, so I was already giddy that we got to talk sports on the show. Two segments... two incredible sports figures... sitting there in studio on our couch chit-chatting about sports. Man, I was happy. It was a good day. Check out my Youtube channel here to see today's clips.
Today's show was followed by Take Charge Parenting. I have to say, I think it was our best episode yet! You can check it out here. We talked about the flu, Halloween safety, and what to do if your child is having behavioral issues. This show is such an incredible resource. I get all of my mommy questions answered - it's great!
One last thing... with it being Halloween week and all, we've had a special guest in studio. His name is Glenn. Keep an eye out for him on the show this week!
I know I've mentioned before how much I love my job. Every week on The Broadcast, we have incredible guests - people who I've followed on social media and greatly admire end up sitting across from me on the couch. I'm so blessed to do what I love and meet incredible people along the way. Last week was no exception. You can click hereto see all of last week's clips on Youtube.
Monday was a bit chill - a great way to start off the work week if you ask me! I had a chance to sit down with our executive producer and talk about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night walk coming up soon. And I was really excited to learn about Power Swabs tooth whitening system. I have really sensitive teeth so tooth whitening has been out of the question - I'm excited to try this system!
Tootsie's in the Plaza at Preston Center dressed us last week - I started out the week in one of my faves... Trina Turk.
Tuesday was kind of epic! Flashback to June - we had a relatively unknown group called Echosmith on the show. Their song "Cool Kids" was quickly climbing the music charts. Since their visit, they've exploded! About a week from now their song will be certified platinum. They came back to visit Tuesday and we had so much fun.
I was so excited about Echosmith that morning that I forgot my dress at home. Fortunately for me, my night in shining armor braved the tollway rush hour traffic to bring me my Trina Turk dress for the day. So I looked good while chatting it up with the band, doing my other segments including one with the Dallas Zoo, and broadcasting another episode of Take Charge Parenting. I mean it - Tuesday was indeed EPIC!
On Wednesday, singing duo Jackopierce stopped by to introduce us to their new wine... my red Black Halo dress was the perfect outfit for some wine tasting! Another highlight - an interview I did with one of my favorite actresses ever - Jessica Chastain - aired.
Thursday was pretty awesome too. I played with a tarantula, talked about how to beat holiday stress AND interviewed one of the hottest up-and-coming movie directors! I had a chance to screen the movie Dear White People a couple of weeks ago and I loved it. Director Justin Simien and I sat down after the show to post-tape an interview about the movie that aired Friday. You have to go see this movie! It's an incredibly funny satirical look at race relations on a post-racial college campus. The movie reminded me a lot of School Daze back in the day.
The dress? Diane von Furstenberg of course!
Then Friday happened... and it couldn't be outdone by the rest of the week. We started the show chatting with country crooner Charlie Worsham. My guest co-host Jolene Devito and I then sat down with the dynamic Sophia A. Nelson to talk about her new book The Woman Code. I've followed Sophia on Twitter for a while now - it was great to meet her in person. After the show, we post-taped an interview with our friends from SeaWorld San Antonio. I can't imagine a better way to wrap up an awesome week on the Broadcast!
The dress... THEORY! Probably my favorite look of the week but they were all so awesome.