(Note: The speech was the keynote address delivered at the Southern Methodist University Black Alumni History Makers scholarship reception on 9 February 2013)
Hello! It is truly an honor and a privilege to speak to you this evening. Allow me to introduce myself: I am Jerrika Hinton and you may recognize me from such seminal works as That Girl In That One McDonald’s Commercial About Football. Or: That Girl That Dies In That One Movie That Keeps Playing On TV One. Or, most recently: That Doctor Girl In That One TV Show About Doctors. Yes, it’s true I’ve done a lot.
Tonight we honor history makers—exemplary women and men who exhibit a remarkable commitment to their field and the lives of others. I’ve often wondered, when I sit where you do, What were the series of events that created that individual? How can I get myself closer to that? How can I approximate that path in my own life? And I’ve found that frequently it’s a matter of character.
I grew up in the heart of Dallas, right across the Trinity River in a diverse neighborhood called Oak Cliff. Oak Cliff is where I first took the stage in a preschool Christmas production at Tom Thumb Nursery. It’s also home to Margaret B. Henderson Elementary, the place where I wrote comedic sketches for my girl scout troop and even, as a young black girl, danced Ballet Folklorico. Oak Cliff’s breadth of culture and possibilities provided a fundamental backdrop for the trajectory my life has taken. Read More