What did Whitney Houston's music mean to you?
All of her songs meant something special to me, at a special time in my life. I feel like her talent was an anointing. I don't think that there's going to be anyone that follows her.
Who's a figure in black history who has inspired you?
When I was a young reporter investigating hate crimes and law enforcement corruption, my patron saint became a man named Walter White. He was president of this association [NAACP] and really the last person in the '30s to be president [who was] fairer [skinned] than I am and was able to actually ease in lynch mobs to observe the worst monstrosities against our people. [He] allowed me to conceptualize my own mission.
Did Gov. Chris Christie make the right decison to lower flags in New Jersey for Whitney Houston?
That is his state, obviously, and that's all I'm going to say about that. But you know what? She touched so many people's lives around the world, so they did what they [the state] felt was right for them to do.
What's your fondest memory of Whitney Houston?
Every time I saw her she gave me the biggest hugs! She was really sweet.
What are Barack Obama's re-election chances?
As we see, the economy is coming back, people are getting jobs and businesses are beginning to hire again. I think that's what the American people are looking forward to. He knew what to do. You put a brother in there, and he's gonna get bin Laden!
Do you have any advice for Bobbi Kristina?
Stay close to her grandma and her family. Stay real close, and don't let the outside world have any influence in the way that she decides to go.
What cause are you most passionate about?
Kamp Kizzy, my nonprofit, which is very dear to my heart. "Dream big, think big, accomplish big" is what we challenge these girls to do — understanding that the sky is absolutely the limit.
The Help has been getting as much criticism as praise. What are your thoughts?
I was so excited that the story [was going to be told]. So much of my father's [Harry Belafonte] work was with the civil rights movement; a lot of those people are depicted in The Help.
What do you think of the decision to broadcast Whitney Houston's funeral?
We shared her for all of these years, it is now [the family's] time to do what they need to do. The fact that they have opened it up to be televised so people can share, I think is very generous of them.