Rolonda Watts was born on July 12, 1959 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is the daughter of Roland and Velma Watts. Her parents were educators and stressed the importance of education. She was a gifted child and remarkably, Rolonda was speaking in complete sentences by the time she was 11 months old! She was very talkative and would ask questions until someone gave her a satisfactory answer. They nurtured her gifts and she often credits her parents with providing her with the love and discipline that she needed. When Rolonda was a teenager, she was sent to Salem Academy, an all-girls college preparatory school. Despite being the only black girl at the school, she was voted President of the Glee Club. This is also where the "acting bug" hit her and she landed roles in community productions. Rolonda always believed that she could anything that boys could do and participated in hockey, tree climbing and shooting guns.
After graduating from the Academy, she wanted to pursue acting as a career. Her parents did not like the odds of her making it as an actress. They encouraged her to come up with a back-up plan just in case acting did not work out for her. She followed their advice and majored in Theatre Arts and English at historically black Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. While at Spelman, Rolonda acted in roles such as "Guys and Dolls", "Mrs. Adelaide" and numerous other plays. "Ro" also was the Editor-in-Chief of the school's newspaper. Just three years later, she graduated from Spelman in 1980 with honors. She decided to pursue journalism as a career because she recognized that a journalist could promote positive social change. She attended the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York City and earned a master's degree in 1981.
Rolonda began her broadcasting career as a general assignment reporter at CBS-News affiliate WFMY-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina. She became a rising star in news broadcasting, rising from reporter to anchor for nationally syndicated television programs. In 1987, she was the host of "Attitudes", which was shown on Lifetime Television. The following year, she was hired by "Inside Edition" as a weekend anchor and producer. In 1994, Rolonda was offered an opportunity by Roger King of King World Productions to host a nationally syndicated talk show. In addition to this, he offered her the opportunity to be a part-owner and executive producer. She accepted his offer and her talk show began in 1994 and was on the air through 1997. In 1997, she ended her talk show because she refused to sacrifice her personal integrity to keep her show.
She headed to Hollywood and ironically, she pursued an acting career. Rolonda played in such TV sitcoms as Sister, Sister, The Jamie Foxx Show, and My Wife and Kids. In addition, she also played in soap operas such as Bold and the Beautiful and Days of Our Lives. She is one of the most recognizable voices in America. She has been the voice of TV commercials for companies such as Wendy's, Wells Fargo and Southwest Airlines. She is also the voice of the popular television courtroom show Judge Joe Brown. Rolonda hosts her own blog talk radio show called "Sundays with Rolonda." She also helps the less fortunate and serves on the Board of Directors of the Little Black Pearl Workshop Arts School in Chicago. "Ro" has also served on the Board of Directors for Literary Volunteers of New York City and numerous other charitable organizations.
Rolonda Watts currently lives in Los Angeles, California, and she continues to act and give motivational speeches. She is a truly gifted and remarkable woman. In my opinion, she is one of the most underrated television personalities of her generation. I think that this is because her talk show competed against Oprah Winfrey, Montel Williams, and Jerry Springer. I also respect the fact that she never sacrificed her dignity and integrity to stay on the air. I also admire the way she started a successful second career of being an actress. Rolonda Watts should be appreciated more.
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