Covington woman talks about ‘col­orism’ on ‘Oprah’s Life­class’

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE EVER­SON de­v­er­son@cov­

A Covington free­lance writer and mother of three is shar­ing her ex­pe­ri­ences deal­ing with “col­orism” on ‘Oprah’s Life­class’ — a tele­vi­sion pro­gram that seeks to help view­ers live their best lives. It airs tonight at 9 p.m. on the OWN Net­work.

Mar­teeta Can­non Spradling joined me­dia mogul Oprah Winfrey and in­spi­ra­tional speaker Iyanla Van­zant via Skype — an on­line we­b­cam ap­pli­ca­tion — as they ad­dressed “col­orism,” the prej­u­dice peo­ple face based on skin color, and the im­pact it has on self-es­teem.

Spradling, 40, said she re­ceived a call to be on the show, which was taped on Dec. 4, af­ter she sub­mit­ted an email to the OWN Net­works’ web­site de­scrib­ing her ex­pe­ri­ences with col­orism.

“I’m al­ways on the OWN web­site,” Spradling said. “My sis­ter said, ‘Hey, they are do­ing a show, why don’t you write in to the show?’ So I was like, ‘Well, I will, but. … So, I wrote in, and that was the end of it.”

“I would say two or three days later, I got a call on my phone from Harpo Stu­dios. I was think­ing, I get the magazine sub­scrip­tions; maybe it’s some­one from the magazine sub­scrip­tions. … I did not be­lieve it,’” she said.

“I talked to the pro­ducer… we talked about two hours, and she was like,

‘I’ve never talked to any­one this long. You know we have to get you on the show.’”

Spradling said af­ter about four or five phone con­ver­sa­tions later with the pro­ducer, it was de­ter­mined that she would have a Skype in­ter­view with Oprah dur­ing the show in­stead of fly­ing to Chicago to be in the au­di­ence.

“She (the pro­ducer) was like, ‘I think it will be bet­ter if we Skype you in; you’ll get a lit­tle more talk time through Skype, ver­sus if you are in the au­di­ence — she (Oprah) may or may not get to you, but she will def­i­nitely get to the peo­ple on Skype,’ and so, it worked out.”

Dur­ing the show, Spradling said, she shared her per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences deal­ing with col­orism and how she has lived her life de­spite other peo­ple’s per­cep­tions of her skin color.

Spradling said, “It (col­orism) is some­thing that I have ex­pe­ri­enced. How­ever, I come from a fam­ily that did not do that as far as think­ing one shade of color was bet­ter than an­other shade of color.”

“My par­ents al­ways told me that we were more than good enough to do what­ever it was that we wanted. I was also brought up in a way that your gifts would make room for you, not your color.”

Not want­ing to give away much about the show’s con­tent, Spradling noted that col­orism con­tin­ues to be a prob­lem in the African-Amer­i­can com­mu­nity and in other cul­tures where there is a “scope of color.” How­ever, she said she never let skin color bother her.

“Other peo­ple will stop you in your tracks if you lis­ten to them, and I don’t have time to buy into that. I did for a minute, but I had to let it go,” Spradling said. “I’ve al­ways been a rebel. I’d dwell on it for like a se­cond and then I was like, ‘I don’t care if they like me or not; I’m just who I am.’”

Spradling and her hus­band, Bart, live in Covington with their 8-year-old twin boys and 5-year-old daugh­ter. She said she wants her chil­dren to have healthy self-es­teem and a healthy sense of who they are and to, “ap­pre­ci­ate not only them­selves, but also be able to ap­pre­ci­ate other peo­ple and their dif­fer­ences.”

A for­mer come­di­enne who is now a stay-at-home mom and free­lance writer, Spradling said the op­por­tu­nity to be on ‘Oprah’s Life­class’ has taught her to trust her gut, step out of her com­fort zone and try to live her best life.

“You just have to walk in your own truth,” she said.

Dar­rell Everidge/The Covington News

Mar­teeta Can­non Spradling.

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