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Charity Bailey: “MISTAKES HAPPEN”

There’s so much you learn along this journey. Starting with MISTAKES HAPPEN. Live television and sports reporting freaked me out at first. It’s fast-paced and sports reporters seemed so perfect. I didn’t know the amount of prep work, practice and research that went into a sports broadcast. It looks perfect because they practice. I got […]

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There’s so much you learn along this journey. Starting with MISTAKES HAPPEN. Live television and sports reporting freaked me out at first. It’s fast-paced and sports reporters seemed so perfect. I didn’t know the amount of prep work, practice and research that went into a sports broadcast. It looks perfect because they practice. I got the hang of it and I love the adrenaline rush that comes with live television, but MISTAKES HAPPEN, without them you don’t get better at your craft.


As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Charity Bailey, a television host, media personality, and seasoned journalist who specializes in a unique brand of storytelling that educates and inspires the masses. Now in her fifth season on the #1 Viral Video Show RightThisMinute, her goal is to bring humanity back to television and entertainment, and spread a message of hope with her audiences. In 2020, she has added Creator and Executive Producer to her achievements with her new Youtube series, “Girl, We Need To Talk”, a series of open, transparent and vulnerable conversations with her loved ones about their experiences with grief.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I was born and raised in what was once coined the deepest part of hell — Del Paso Heights, which is located in Sacramento, California. This was the place that shaped me into the strong courageous woman that I am today, yet, outside sources created the narrative that my hometown was dangerous. To me, we were a proud, strong, supportive community!

As a little girl, I always dreamed BIG and my family and community knew that I would be destined for greatness. I was raised by working parents who instilled major values into my two younger sisters and me. My father was from Meridian, Mississippi and worked for everything that he had. Early on, he would sit me down and tell me that no one would give me anything because I was not only a girl but a black girl. The key, however, was that I could still have whatever I wanted, I just had to put my mind to that task and work hard for it.

My mother instilled the same message, but she is a woman of faith. She reminded me that if I trusted God, I could have everything that I worked for and more. I always knew my place in this world because my parents and community instilled these values in me throughout my childhood. They empowered me to dream big and accomplish my goals. As a result I felt like I was capable of achieving any and everything.

And here we are.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

It’s funny how life works. I hated reporters growing up. Early on, I would see the media and law enforcement enter our neighborhood with their preconceived opinions about the type of people that we were. As a result, there was little trust that existed between them and our community.

I stepped into leadership early in my life, speaking often at school and church. I never had a problem sharing what I felt was right. My grandmother encouraged me to pursue a career in Sports Broadcasting, considering she was a huge basketball fan. She often reminded me that when she was growing up, she didn’t see women, especially black women on television. She often cited my leadership skills and love of football as reasons for me to pursue a career as a Sports Reporter. This passion would lead me to pursue Sports Public Relations in college.

The very thing I hated and said I would never do, I became- a journalist. I realized it was bigger than me, so I went for it. There were people like me who felt voiceless and powerless and I could do something about it. I could reshape our narrative and tell our truths.

As a journalist turned television personality, I get to tell other people’s stories and shed light on the things that concern them and their communities. It is what is most important to me.

I believe that you should own your story. Don’t allow anyone else to create your narrative, you own it.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Welcome to the rollercoaster of being a journalist. We have the unique opportunity to shape the culture, and every story helps to shape us as people! I’ve had the privilege of telling so many interesting stories over the years, and each of them has impacted me as well.

The stories I’ve covered run the gamut. Reporters have to be all things to all people. We share everything from babies who are born on New Year’s Day, to the trendy, new, local coffee shop, to tragic school shootings. We are there for the best of times and the worst of times to tell the stories when they matter.

In all of this, life has shown me that the human experience is so similar across the board. Few things separate us. When tragedy strikes, we’re definitely all the same. We all have anxieties and concerns. We all want to be loved and appreciated. We all want to be heard and validated.

I started my career in the trenches as an intern in 2003 and I still love what I do. The format has changed a bit but the stories that I tell today on RightThisMinute are just as important. I’m blessed to be a part of the RTM family, it really has been the opportunity of a lifetime.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The stories go on for days! Working in live television, anything from tripping at a press conference or almost falling down a cliff while covering fire by the vicious wind, can (and will) happen.

There is one story that tops them all though. I was doing a live shot at a Children’s Science exhibit and subconsciously started touching the coral reef inappropriately. Imagine doing a live segment at the Children’s Science exhibit and you’re caught inappropriately touching a coral reef. I still remember my producers yelling, “Charity! Stop touching the reef,” but the damage had already been done. It was LIVE on television and later uploaded to YouTube so of course, I went viral. I was embarrassed but I had to face the moment. Oh, and I made the opening monologue on Jimmy Fallon.

Things happen, especially on live tv. I was well into my career when I made that blooper but it also serves as a reminder for young journalists. We all want the BIG job in a great city, but small markets are your friend. Go make all the mistakes you can, learn from them, perfect your craft and then move on. Also, I met some of my best friends in my small market jobs, we toughed it out together and forged strong relationships.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Honestly, the biggest project I’m working on is myself. I’m navigating life after losing a parent and the grief associated with it. From this grief, I have birthed a new series titled “Girl, We Need to Talk”.

Girl, We Need To Talk is for anyone who has ever lost someone close to them. It’s for women who are trying to put the pieces back together while navigating love, loss and grief. It’s for those looking for ways to cope while you feel as if your world is crumbling around you. We all need a place to go where we can just exhale and BE. No judgment, JUST BE! Girl, We Need To Talk is that place.

Externally, I am also investing my time into organizations that empower women and young girls. In 2018 I started working with Made In Her Image, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping girls and young women explore the world of film and media. I see so much of myself in those young women. It’s so important to me, that they find the power in their voices at a young age. My parents did that for me and I want to give that to them.

They hold the world in the palms of their hands. My hope is that they won’t have to experience the hurdles of past generations. I stand on the shoulders of women who broke barriers for me. My goal is to break the glass ceilings for the women and girls who come after me. When I see these young women, I see that the torch is being passed.

I also get to work with young women with another organization called Girls Thriving. These young women are so special. They don’t know boundaries and have wide-open space to be whatever it is they want to become. It has been phenomenal to see their creativity pushing their minds for more!

The Future is FEMALE!

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

Let’s be honest, a world without diversity is boring. Diversity makes our world more beautiful.

Every storyteller, creative, artist, musician, entertainer gets to gather information from their experiences and go, “Look at what I found”. As a journalist, I get the unique opportunity to bring the world to people in their homes. I can show them what is happening outside of their four walls… things they might not know otherwise had I not shown them.

Film and television shape the way we see the world! Our world is an incredibly diverse space and television and media is supposed to reflect the world around us. Until recently, there has not been many efforts put into making sure those truths collide. As a double minority, I know why black and brown people also need to know their presence is felt, that their views are respected and that their lives matter.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

There’s so much you learn along this journey. Starting with MISTAKES HAPPEN. Live television and sports reporting freaked me out at first. It’s fast-paced and sports reporters seemed so perfect. I didn’t know the amount of prep work, practice and research that went into a sports broadcast. It looks perfect because they practice. I got the hang of it and I love the adrenaline rush that comes with live television, but MISTAKES HAPPEN, without them you don’t get better at your craft.

There is a HIGH LEVEL OF SACRIFICE that comes with this business. I am living my dream, but sometimes it’s lonely. I’ve lived all across the country but I’ve had to do it alone. I know that my family is proud of me but I miss them dearly. Living away from them is really hard. I’m often reminded of the things I have to sacrifice for this dream.

It’s OK TO BE YOURSELF. The world is waiting for you to show up. When you show up, you make space for others to show up as themselves. It’s ok to show emotion. I am emotional and I believe it’s important for people to know you care.

In all of this, DON’T GET LOST in the noise. After a layoff in 2008, I had to learn quickly… I am not my job. What we do is not who we are and we need to tell each other that more often.

Last and probably most importantly, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. We invest so much of our heart and soul into the industry and our careers, but we need to invest in our mental and physical health. Rest, sleep, go to therapy, eat well, make time for friends and family. That job will be there and they will move on with or without you. Trust me, I KNOW!

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Listen to me… I know that I mentioned it earlier but please take a timeout when necessary! We need to take consistent inventory and check-in with ourselves often. I check in with God and encourage you to check in with whatever higher power you believe in. When you’re doing it, ask yourself why you’re on your path doing what it is you are doing? Check-in with your heart, sit with yourself. Honor yourself and your body.

This work is deep and requires a lot of hours. Work hard but play harder. Take vacations. Lastly, I’d share to have a game plan but be ready to call an audible when you need to. Your plan can change at any time, don’t be afraid to deviate from it.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Sometimes I wish the world could see what I see. As a kid who grew up in Del Paso Heights, my heart is in the hood. I say often that hood kids rule the world and I have big plans to do things in my community and inspire hood kids across the globe. The hood gives a lot and it also takes a lot. We are resilient people and many of my most valuable attributes came from the hood; my drive, my determination, and my inability to give up.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

When you see Charity Bailey, you are seeing the effort of an entire community manifested. This is not a “me” thing at all. I am able to do what I do because I have so much love, support and respect that surrounds me. I have an entire team that keeps me together to do this level of work and at every down, I can point to so many influential people who helped me get to the next. They challenged me and pushed me to be better. To no surprise, most of these people were incredible women.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I’m a Daddy’s Girl. My Father and I were really close. Most of my life lessons came in the form of football and boxing metaphors because he loved both sports and as a result, I did too. My father made sure I knew how the game of life was played. As I navigate adulthood, many of the things he shared with me serve as a soundtrack that I hear in my head on repeat, daily. One of the most important lessons he taught me was to just keep moving the chains. In response to any obstacle that I faced he’d say, “Nine yards at a time. You still have time on the clock, move the chains. You can still score.” He was pretty much telling me to keep pushing, it’s not over until it’s over and as long as I keep making progress and use my time wisely, I could still succeed.

The other was a boxing metaphor. I’m southpaw, we have the ability to catch opponents off guard, and one day while he was teaching me to box he said, “If you can get a man to dance the way you want him to dance, then you can work your own strategy and just hit ’em in the mouth!” Rough-in context, but so valuable in life. It’s about knowing our strengths and weaknesses and playing them when necessary. He reminded me that opponents would be bigger and faster, but I was always more powerful! He dropped so many gems that I hold near and dear to my heart.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I would love to sit and chat with the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. He’s always given off cool uncle vibes. When he became President in 2008, I wrote him a letter. In short, I told him that he stood on some big shoulders, he had his work cut out for him but that we needed him and his leadership, at that time more than ever. His presidency was historic and gave hope to us all, but it was extra special to kids around the world who are just like me. The woman in me has to make sure Mrs. Obama is there too. I admire Michelle Obama, she’s intelligent, educated, and poised. Also, President Obama’s time in the oval office wouldn’t have been the same without her by his side. She really is #BlackGirlMagic at its finest.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can follow me across social at @MsCharityBailey.

You can stay tuned to my new series on the “Ms. Charity Bailey” Youtube channel and @girlweneedtotalkshow on Instagram. New episodes air every Wednesday this Fall!

You can also be sure to visit my website, CharityBailey.com.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much!

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