I worked in a computer lab. We had a new color laser printer when these were thousands of dollars. It was Apple, and you had to be Apple certified to do anything more than change toner or unjam paper. Everyone, including workers, had to pay to use it. A fellow worker decided to print naked anime girls on it. Without paying. Onto transparencies. Transparencies that weren’t designed for a laser printer. Maybe this is just another case of quarantine regression, one that I’ll get over as soon as the Never underestimate a woman who understands baskeball and loves Brooklyn Nets shirt besides I will buy this world opens back up, and I’m able to hang out indoors with my friends again. Still, now that The Parent Trap has officially entered its early twenties, I can’t help but wish I had appreciated the fleeting joys of camp a little more when I had the chance. Beginning at 7 p.m. today, Reid’s ability to forecast the outcomes of otherwise unknowable, unthinkable times will be tested each night on one of cable networks’ most-watched forums. Following the abrupt departure of her friend Chris Matthews from his perch on March 2, the 51-year-old Reid, who’s appeared on MSNBC since 2011, will officially take over the hour with her own show, The ReidOut. In so doing, she will not only become the lone African American woman to currently hold such a spot in network news but also will take on the challenge of reshaping the time slot that Hardball defined for a generation. (The last Black woman to host a prime-time network news show was Gwen Ifill, who, along with Judy Woodruff, was a coanchor on PBS NewsHour until her death at age 61 in 2016.) There can be no greater or more stressful time in an already stressful spot. As the final stretch of the presidential campaign begins, the network has thrust Reid into something even more important than what she might have taken on four years before a tight rating battle. MSNBC’s prime-time viewership hovers now around 2 million, and though that number trails the often puzzling punditry of Fox News by 1.5 million, it remains in a near–dead heat with CNN for both viewers and advertising dollars. It’s a huge responsibility,” Reid said on a recent afternoon from her home in the Maryland suburbs, where she’s largely hosted her own show from her basement while puddle-jumping across other ones since the start of the pandemic shutdown. “It’s a humbling thing to be trusted with an hour of television, let alone an hour of prime-time television, to be trusted with that ability to explain the world to other people.”
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But Reid—born Joy-Ann Lomena—has either the Never underestimate a woman who understands baskeball and loves Brooklyn Nets shirt besides I will buy this advantage of the extra pressure of claiming membership in two different, sometimes socially separate, communities. She is both African American and part of that group of first-generation immigrants whose parents came to the United States after the 1965 Hart-Celler Immigration Act cleared the way for people of color from across the world. Her father, a geologist, came from the Congo. Her mother, a nutritionist (and later a professor at Northern Colorado), Guyana. When her father left Reid and her two siblings early into her childhood, her mother raised the family alone in Denver. Her mom was up to the task. She took them on long car trips. She wanted her children to know that they should never be denied anything based on their race. Harvard? Stanford? Yale? These schools were all within reach. She taught them to seek a life of adventure. To live without fear. To never let anyone tell them no. Reid would have to lean on her own fortitude far earlier than anyone really should. She would get to Harvard. But weeks before she began classes, cancer felled her mom. Reid had wanted to study medicine because, well, her family wanted her to. By the time she started school, she had lost faith in doctors, all doctors. She struggled that first year with the invariable depression and darkened outlook one has when you lose a parent so young. She left Cambridge for New York, returning the following year to study film. It would prove a fortunate route. After graduation in 1991, she moved to New York, eventually landing a job at the School of Visual Arts. There, she met her future husband, the film editor Jason Reid, whom she married in 1997. In Florida, the two began to raise their three children, and Reid freely moved between life in media and politics. There was a column in the Miami Herald, posts at two different Florida television stations, a pit stop with an advocacy group devoted to stopping George W. Bush’s second term, talk radio, a job with the Florida arm of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. There, she laid out a future that has largely come to pass: She wanted to write a best-selling book. (She got that with her 2019 work, The Man Who Sold America: Trump and the Unraveling of the American Story.) She wanted to pay off her college debt. And she wanted to be on Hardball.