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Aug 21st

Crossroads: Brundidge creates platform for cultural exchange

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Crossroads host Sheletta Brundidge (left) and Dr. Verna Cornelia Price

Sheletta Brundidge is funny. Hailing from Houston, Texas, the author and bona fide comedienne came to Minnesota three years ago. According to her comedic material, she was on a mission to rescue her then boyfriend from the "boyfriend witness protection program." Crossroads host Sheletta Brundidge (left) and Dr. Verna Cornelia Price

Sheletta Brundidge is funny. Hailing from Houston, Texas, the author and bona fide comedienne came to Minnesota three years ago. According to her comedic material, she was on a mission to rescue her then boyfriend from the "boyfriend witness protection program." Her mission was not in vain. She was hired by KSTP Channel 5 as a 5 Eyewitness News assignment editor, married Shawn Brundidge, and they are new parents to their one-year-old son, Andrew. This family lives the true definition of teamwork. In May 2007 they began production of "Crossroads," a weekly public affairs show on KSTC Channel 45, hosted by Sheletta, who also serves as executive producer. The show focuses on issues and events pertaining to communities of color and women. The Brundidge's hard work has paid off. Within two months' airtime the show will move from its current time slot of 5:30 a.m. Sunday, to 7:30 a.m. Sunday, effective September 9.

Saturday is show taping time at the KSTP Channel 5 studios in Saint Paul. Three shows are usually taped within two hours' time. On this particular Saturday, a variety of guests showed up to discuss topics ranging from the low retention rate of African-American professionals who are recruited by corporations but disenchanted by the lack of community connections and resources; the spiritual aspect of the I-35W Bridge collapse; and efforts to increase educational success for students of color in primary, junior high and high school. Everything flowed seamlessly. No one would have known that four guests didn't arrive as scheduled. Sheletta, with humor, took everything in stride and ended the taping in time to attend a baby shower.

To anyone else missing guests might stop the show, but Sheletta has a greater vision in mind. And she always has back-up stories as a safeguard.

"We improvise," Sheletta said. "We make lemonade out of lemons. The show is really all about African-Americans, Latinos, Indians, Asians, any minority group, and women. We have had wonderful guests, been able to discuss interesting topics, and it's just been fun. There is no other television station with a community affairs program that is giving a voice to minority communities."

Gardner Gay, Executive Director of the Eden Prairie ABC (A Better Chance) Foundation, an organization that provides housing and schooling for highly academic high school students from low economic communities, was a recent guest on the Crossroads show along with an ABC scholar Jessica Brooks.

Gay said, "I think that when you have a community resource like the Crossroads program and particularly the dedication and passion that Sheletta has and brings to the show it ought to be out there. People ought to know about it. It's a hidden gem. It's a hidden treasure in the community. I have watched the show over the last few weeks, and it's a wealth of information. She is good and you can tell she loves what she is doing."

Passion is what drives Sheletta in this new project. After having her first child she went from full-time 5 Eyewitness News assignment editor to part-time, and volunteers as host and executive producer of Crossroads. Time and the commitment of motherhood took the place of stand-up comedy gigs. However, Crossroads offers Sheletta an opportunity to mix her professional duties, community vision, and creativity.

"I believe in giving minority communities a voice in broadcasting news," said Sheletta. "I believe it's important for people to see images of African-American people on television, not just when it's bad and folks are getting arrested, but in the anchor chair . . . I've been in broadcasting since I graduated from college, and I'm thirty-five yea
 

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