Linsey Davis hopes to inspire a generation as co-anchor of ABC’s Weekend ‘World News Tonight’
EXCLUSIVE: The Emmy award-winning anchor tells theGrio how she is using her platform to inform the public and children through her kids books, inspired by her son
Linsey Davis moves from one milestone to the next in her Emmy award-winning career. The latest accolade is being named co-anchor of ABC’s weekend World News Tonight, a distinction that makes her the first Black woman in 18 years to helm a prime time news show on the network.
Legendary broadcaster Carole Simpson made history in 1988 as the first Black woman to anchor a major news telecast on ABC News’ World News Tonight weekend edition, a role she held for 15 years. Simpson saluted her successor and Davis invited her on a recent broadcast of World News Tonight.
“[Simpson] sent out a very nice message, basically saying that she was passing on the torch to me. So, I do not take that lightly and feel really blessed and grateful for the opportunity,” Davis exclusively tells theGrio.
She’s mindful of what Simpson’s representation meant for her as a child she as she broke down barriers.
“Carole Simpson, she was able to kind of plant that seed,” she says.
Davis’ rise has seen her moderate presidential debates and interview such heavyweights as Dr. Anthony Fauci, Bill Gates, and Hillary Clinton. Davis is part of a vanguard of Black and women of color, including Joy Reid, Jericka Duncan, Adriana Diaz, and Tiffany Cross, who are leaving more cracks in the shattered glass ceiling.
“I would like to think that perhaps I’m an inspiration for the next generation, but hopefully it’s not just me,” she begins.
“Hopefully there are more women and Black and brown women, and young girls everywhere can find inspiration in various fields. It does seem like we’re going in that direction where you have that kind of expansion across industries and various positions from executives on down.”
Davis describes the past year as a “whirlwind,” marked by what she calls the four P’s: pandemic, presidential election, and police brutality, which she deftly brought to viewers on ABC News Live Prime newscast that she hosts from Monday to Thursday.
The final P is being a parent who had to explain what was going on in the world to her son, Ayden, 7.
“I think that we all were experiencing just so much intensity, and that kind of continued on in 2021 with the insurrection at the Capitol and the impeachment trial,” she says.
“I do think that what’s especially helpful in that I’m able to lean in, and I think [with] other people of color…you have that lens that you’re able to look through of experience and perspective. In the conversation, you’re able to really talk more about the nuance of race and social injustice.”
She invokes trailblazer Rep. Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman to ever be a congresswoman, and launched a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972.
“She would say if they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair. I think that more often we’re starting to see that,” she says, citing President Joe Biden as having the most inclusive and diverse cabinet in history.
“You have crowded tables, which is good. You have just so much input from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives and experiences,” she said. “I think that that just makes it a richer conversation for everyone. And perhaps is going to advance and move the ball forward a little bit when you’re able to have these dialogues that include people who for so long were devalued, or were just not included and didn’t have a voice or a seat at the table at all.”
Davis’ resume is a testament to remaining true to that edict of using her platform. At the height of the protests surrounding the death of George Floyd, she held a roundtable discussion with Black female mayors. She also anchored the ABC news special Homegrown Hate: The War Among Us, which examined domestic terrorism.
Her most surprising and most captive audience has been that of children. Inspired by Ayden, she wrote two best-selling books, The World is Awake and One Big Heart. The anchor wanted a medium in which to explain societal upheavals to her son, but there weren’t many. Three years ago, she filled the void.
“I don’t take the events from the news and incorporate them in my children’s books. But what I do is try to instill certain values that I want to counteract some of the external noise.”
Some of that noise is related to race.
“People will say that kids don’t see color. I totally disagree with that premise. Kids do see color. They just don’t assign a value to it. It’s adults who do that,” she says.
Stay This Way Forever is her third book, which will be released on Feb. 23 with a theme of how families can let the kids know how special they are.
“This is really a love note to children that any parent is going to really be able to appreciate those moments that you just savor so much. You just kind of wish that you could hit the pause button and keep an embrace and hold on to so many of these tender moments that are fleeting. They never know what it’s going to be. The last time that they reach for your hand before they cross the street, that they curl up with you and fall asleep while reading a book.”
Davis is a wife, mother, anchor, author and a proud member of the of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She is a juggernaut taking on many identities, but finding a way to juggle them all.
“It’s all this trying to balance and I think that if you’re passionate about something, you’re going to take the time for it.”
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