I hadn’t seen Roshanda Pratt since my TV days when executive producer Allison Andrews invited me and Lorraine over to a dinner honoring Ro. We told stories and laughed so hard we almost peed our pants (at least I almost did, but I’m an old man). And I asked Ro if she would consider helping Allison and Rachel come up with ideas for guests on ManListening. Guests and topics and flow and format and all the stuff developmental producers do!
She said sure. But she’s so busy it took months for us to connect.
Since then we’ve had several conversations on the phone and on Zoom and I felt like she should get the full ManListening experience. I asked her if she’d do an interview for the podcast. She agreed. It took months more for us to get together.
I drove down to Columbia, SC and met Ro at her coworking space called Converspace. We wore masks. You can hear it on the tape but it’s worth it to look each other in the eyes.
I told her she has a kind of warmth in the those eyes.
“Warmth in the eyes, fire in the belly!” she said. There’s a ton I didn’t know about Ro.
I do these things like Larry King used to do – with no prep. You might call it lazy. But it leads to a kind of spontaneity. I discover things. There are always surprises. Worst case I sound kind of naive. I can live with that.
Roshanda’s parents were immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago. Her father taught her the value of her name and that she should always be informed so she could be a good American. He watched the nightly news on the TV her whole time growing up.
So she got her first job at WCNC-TV right here in Charlotte. She and I worked together for a while. She was a quick study and a nimble producer who could roll with the craziness of live TV.
Now she is rolling with the craziness of live video on Facebook and other platforms as the CEO of her own company, The REP Network. We didn’t even really talk about that.
Instead we talked a lot about her faith and her role as a preacher’s wife, a “first lady.” Yup. I buried the lead. She laughs when I look a little stunned. She intentionally doesn’t bring it up. She doesn’t hide the fact but she doesn’t lead with it either. She says people treat her differently when they learn that she leads a church. They kind of clean up their language. Not me.
My language is no better or worse than usual. But I find faith or belief or life philosophy to be fascinating. I’m not so much interested in the belief itself as I am the story behind the belief. We get to that. It’s really good. It totally changed her life. It wasn’t so much what her friends said to her that day as the fact that they were genuinely concerned about her.
You’ll have to hear for yourself. I’m grateful to know her and still more grateful she’s willing to help me out by telling it to me straight. I can take it.
Hear the Podcast at ManListening