I recently listened to Aretha Franklin’s captivating album, “Young, Gifted and Black” while paying tribute to the “Queen of Soul” and her global influence. She paints a beautiful picture of what it means to be black in America.
Yes, it’s often a difficult journey because we face trials and experience pain. However, African-Americans are substantial contributors, innovators and achievers.
This is the first Women’s History Month since the death of Aretha Louise Franklin in her Detroit, Michigan, home Aug. 16, 2018. She died from pancreatic cancer. Born in 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee, she would have turned 77 on March 25.
Her talent knew no limits. She was a pianist, songwriter and singer. Aretha also was an actress, civil rights activist and a loving mother and so much more.
Aretha’s “crown” of musical jewels include:
Aretha’s life and legacy showed me how to fight proudly for what I believe in. This is the year I start creating my delicate, yet fierce marking for the world: I intend to honor my ancestors while creating my own identity, take calculated risks and raise my voice in favor of issues and causes I believe in, just like Aretha did. She was an iconic pioneer whose proud, powerful gospel and soul music influenced generations of performers and fans.In fact, her influence can’t be measured. There’s no doubt about it: She changed the world.
Why do I say all of this? Because I, too, am young, gifted and black.
Regina L. Burns contributed to this blog post.
(c) March 2019. Harvest Reapers Communications. All Rights Reserved.
Now that WFAA-TV news anchor John McCaa has signed off for the last time on March 1, 2019, his history-making tenure will be remembered. McCaa told D Magazine’s Tim Rogers that he’s a “pretty emotional guy" and his farewell was indeed, emotional. That's understandable, after all, he worked at WFAA for 35 years, bringing good journalism to North Texas.
I had the privilege of working with McCaa during a series of contract gigs at Channel 8 that involved the assignment desk. The best description of what working on the assignment desk is comes from one of my esteemed Abilene Christian University journalism professors, Dr. Charles Marler—it’s “like an octopus.” For example, the Desk:
• Manages day-to-day and breaking news assignments for TV news crews.
• Navigates Twitter and Facebook for updates.
• Vets information across a host of databases.
• Provides research support by phone.
My most-memorable-McCaa moment was during WFAA’s coverage of the Dallas police ambush in the summer of 2016. This tragic event brought the newsroom to a collective heartfelt loss, for all those who were killed and injured. There were other emotions that elevated us: admiration and respect for the videographers and reporters who were on the scene that fateful day, July 7, 2016. In the midst of handling logistics, gathering details of funeral arrangements and verifying other information for producers, I witnessed McCaa’s calm leadership during our team briefings.
Having worked in journalism for a variety of news organizations such as: KRBC-TV in Abilene, WPTY-TV, WLOK and WGKX radio stations in Memphis, FayObserver.com in Fayetteville, North Carolina, as well as The Associated Press in Jackson, Mississippi, and Dallas, (not to mention a wealth of freelance gigs), by far the Dallas police ambush story was the toughest to cover.
McCaa brought experience gained from other challenging assignments in his long career to this tragic event in Dallas.
He writes that retiring from television news after more than 42 years is “not easy.” However, he sensed that God “decided it was time” and he’s being obedient.
I am thrilled that my career dovetailed with his and that I gained so much from being in the newsroom during his tenure. His TV news experience, his depth of knowledge and his caring spirit elevated the environment and the newscast. Every time.
Thank you for your service. #ThanksJohn
(c) March 2019 Harvest Reapers Communications. All Rights Reserved.
About the Author:
Regina L. Burns, M.A., Project+, is an award-winning multimedia editor and journalist, specializing in Black history and African American stories at Harvest Reapers Communications. Her work has been published in Texas Highways magazine, WFAA-TV, The Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as well as The Commercial Appeal, the Tri-State Defender and The Flyer, among others.