Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dark and Lovely on CNN International (No, not a commercial for the no-lye relaxer.)

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.

Some of my other CNNI peeps: Zain Verjee, Kristie Lu Stout, and Naamua Delaney.

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?

Fly Brother
welcomes your views. If this post hit the spot, please comment below and/or click


Anonymous said...

I think it's time that you're on the telly as well!
You've got style, intelligence and yeah, you're easy on the eyes!
Great post as usual!

Get em'!

Felicia, This Time Now

kwerekwere said...

man, it's a shame you have been missing out on the hotness that is folly bah thibault at france24.

no france24 that side? [it's an english-language satellite station dealing with the goings on in la francophonie and the world.]

where did i first see her? when i was in zimbabwe last year, i think. i don't know if the satellite company here shows france24 or not, but if you can get it in zim, you probably can get it here (and everywhere else in africa).

man, i really need to update. maybe sunday.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link...and the morning eye candy. Nice!

kelly jo said...

hey. i've been quiet cuz i had some medical stuff goin' on, but as i get back on my feet i'll get back to you.

zain interviewed me and my program in kenya (she IS kenyan born, of indian descent)but we were too boring to be shown (a bunch of study abroad kids safe and experiencing the world during a political and social crisis does not make the news when you can have footage of people burning tires instead). she's hot AND smart. cnn international is newsworthy enough to keep up with, so props for highlighting another fantastic gem.


iKensington said...

I remember Errol from Channel One. I used to sit in my school's lobby watching the one TV that would be on in the mornings. I would damned near drool at his green eyes and beautiful face...oh, and the accent!

MDUBB said...

Those are some very good looking ladies. I have nothing else to add, except thanks for putting me up on game, looks like i'll be turning to CNN International a bit more now.

Fly Brother said...

Felicia: You know anybody in HR over at CNN? Thanks for the compliment!

Kwere: I have the cheap cable over here, so no TV5 Monde. I need to check out the website.

No Debt: No problem!

Kelly Jo: I hope it's nothing serious and that you're okay. LOL @ "lataaz"...Bend It Like Beckham.

Kensington: Errol seems like a cool dude and I'm glad to see a young brother getting a shot on a major network.

MDUBB: Glad you feel me, player.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I watch CNN International as well and one of the first things I noticed was how it was more diverse than CNN in the States.

I really like the Inside Africa and Talk Asia segments.

aviewtoathrill said...

I like watching CNN International too, but you've certainly added a new perspective to it, Ernest. lol Thanks for at least thinking of the sisters by adding Errol and the other gentleman, at least you were trying to be fair and democratic.