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January 19, 2009


Happy MLK Day. Believe it or not, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and I have a little bit in common. We both got our start in Atlanta, GA. But while MLK Jr. started out as a preacher and eventually became one of the most influential and well-respected leaders of our time, I started out as a cake deliverer and eventually became a scorned audience member of a political talk show. 

It all began when I made a cake delivery downtown to the CNN Center. After I dropped off a few Red Velvets at a company party, a producer asked me if I wanted to be an audience member for CNN's now defunct Talk Back Live. She explained that members could ask anything they wanted to a panel of experts about that day's topic: the OJ Simpson Civil Trial. It was a pretty easy sell for me. So I sat in the audience and asked my question (in an exaggerated Southern accent.)

At the next commercial break, two security guards kicked me off the set. But that didn't stop me from going back. Two days later, while on my cake delivery route, I went back to the set of Talk Back Live - this time in disguise. Of course the producer still recognized me and said I wasn't allowed back on. After much pleading, she finally relented under the condition that I ask no questions.  I obeyed, sitting through the entire show speechless (but still in disguise).  See if you can spot me.

For the next month or so, I veered off my delivery route and visited CNN Talk Back Live almost daily, each time with a new costume.  Finally, the producer had enough and informed me that I was officially banned from the premises. My career as a professional audience member for political talk shows was over. But that miniscule taste of showbiz was enough for me to keep going for my dream. Just like MLK. Right?