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Name: David A. Wilson

From: Newark, NJ

Affiliations: Founder and Executive Editor of The Grio.com

Untangling the roots of any family tree is a daunting task, but writer David Wilson found it to be an incredibly rewarding experience. After working in the news department of CBS Wilson produced a documentary, “Meeting David Wilson” about his own family history in the American south.

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“It was about my journey to find answers to today’s racial disparities,” says Wilson. “I discovered a plantation in North Carolina where my ancestors were enslaved and it was owned by a 62 year old white man. He was a direct descendant of my family’s former slave owners and had the same name as I do–David Wilson. That film aired on April 2008 on MSNBC.”

After the success of his documentary Wilson pitched the idea of an African-American focused news site to the President of NBC and TheGrio (partner of Interactive One and TheUrbanDaily sister site NewsOne) was born, NBC ‘s video centric news site that focuses on stories and perspectives that reflect and effect the African-American community.

What is the biggest challenge in your work at the Grio?

Finding the perspective, the under-reported stories or unreported stories. Our job is being as close to the beginning of the news cycle as possible. It’s one thing to be part of the Twitter wave, but it’s another thing to start it.

When did hats become part of your personal style?

I never wore hats until two years ago. I wore one and liked the way it looked.  I started wearing them more frequently and it got to the point where if I didn’t wear one people would say “where is the hat?” I think it’s a point of distinction.

What about grooming?

I wish I could wear a goatee. I shave everyday. I have a pencil mustache and leave  hair on my chin.

When did you first notice hair on your face?

I was in college. I was really excited and made sure not to shave it off. [laughs]

What’s the best grooming advice you’ve gotten from a woman?

At one point I was shaving my mustache off and a woman told me “a man should always have some facial hair.” So I stopped. I don’t consider myself a corporate type of guy so anything that reminds me not to be too corporate, I like it.  I like having that one point of removal from being too corporate. Like rocking the hat, it’s like me saying I’m not a suit.

Follow David and his team’s work at TheGrio.com

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