I sat down last week with Soledad O’Brien to talk about storytelling, race and her seminal series Black in America. She also talked about her media company Starfish Media Group in New York and she and her husband Brad’s foundation dedicated to helping people of color and empowering young women.

Mike Smith: Let’s talk about this idea of storytelling

Soledad O’Brien: I think everything and everyone has a story, The way to make things relevant for people is to explain it in a story. You just want to tell the story and make people understand what’s at stake; what’s at risk; why they should watch; why should this person care? We have to start with that.

MS: Why are you taking on race/gender in your programs Black in America and Latina in America?

SO: A couple of reasons: 1) America is more diverse than ever before. It is only trending a certain direction; 2) I don’t think that people do it well enough or often enough — they don’t do it authentically very often. I think that I have an interesting perspective on it from my parent’s background, my personal background, the questions I have had to ask myself growing up as a biracial girl in a white community. So I think I am well-positioned to do that; I think I am a pretty fearless person. It is such a third rail topic, but you know I’ve never minded the risks.

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