Sharon’s a good BET!
Sharon Carpenter is most recognized for her daily bulletins on America’s hit network – BET. As the first British presenter on BET, Sharon not only encouraged the states to take notice of what the UK had to offer, but became the force behind this year’s launch of BET in the UK. YV’s Nicole Baldwin caught up with the hardworking Brit to discuss how a trip to university ended up in a lifetime abroad.
Tells us a bit about yourself?
Well I’m originally from London but I moved to America and have lived there for about nine years now.
Was your move to America to commence or further your career?
I actually went to America to go to university but I ended up staying and getting into television.
When did you first know you wanted to be in television?
While I was in school I met the producers of a hip-hop show called video explosion. They would go around and interview different stars on the red carpet. They were looking for a new host and they asked me if I would be interested. I started working for that show and that was really the first time I realized I wanted to be in television.
How did you begin your journalistic career, and how did this teleport you to BET?
Whilst I was covering an event for this public access show, I ended up meeting a news director of a local news show here. We stayed in touch and not long after that meeting he ended up hiring me. I started off as a field producer and when the news director moved to BET, I ended up there.
What’s the best thing about working for BET?
Covering really important stories that nobody else is covering. Journalism can be very serious and a lot of young people aren’t really interested in watching that type of news, but we do it in a way that will hold their attention. And I love that we get to be visually creative on BET.
Who has been your favourite celebrities to interview?
Chamillionaire. I did a story on the whole Houston hip-hop scene when chopped and screwed [ a technique of remixing music] took over. He took us around Houston and just talked to us about the poverty and what it was like growing up there. David Banner was also a good interviewee. We interviewed after hurricane Katrina and it was like he had the key to the city – he took us everywhere! Will Smith was another of my favourites – he’s so funny and down to earth.
Have you considered moving on from BET?
Things are going really well, so I’m just focusing on the present. I work on a lot of news briefs and specials here and in the UK like the Beauty Blackout I did with Alesha Dixon model Rachel Ritfeld. It’s really exciting so I’m not at all thinking about that.
How important is it that you fly the British flag whilst you’re in the USA?
It’s so important because im a true Brit! I am promoting the UK because I love seeing people do well over here. Idris Elba is my boy and I love Sway and Kano’s music too! They both won BET awards – I was so excited. I really believe in a lot of artists in the UK.
What do you miss about London?
People who kind of understand my childhood and get the programmes I used to watch or the toys I used to play with. Over here people grew up on different shows and toys. I also miss monster munch, and lion bars (laughs).
What is you advice to young people wanting to obtain a career in the media industry?
I would definitely tell them to consider learning how to produce because it’ll give you more control over your career and the quality of the work you do.
Any final words?
Anything is possible. Hopefully I’ve shown people you can really get far and you can make it!
[Issue #54 08/ 2008 –Young Voices Magazine]
Photo Source: sharonlcarpenter.com