Current assignment: NBC News correspondent
Background: Mr. Okwu was named Burbank, Calif.-based NBC News correspondent in April. He joined CNN in 1987 and after stints as an associate producer, assignment editor and field producer was named correspondent in 1996.
In his own words: “The older I have gotten, the more I have realized that I lived in a diverse world. My father was a diplomat. I grew up in Africa and eventually in New England. I’ve never personally felt there is a great division between me and all kinds of groups of people. … I never think of myself as just a black journalist. I think to do so would be a great disservice to my ethnicity as well as the industry in which I hope to thrive. However, you know, I’m not blind. I recognize that there are people out there who do feel such divisions. … Once you start thinking of yourself as different and as separate from the main, you become bogged down in that. … People may look at me as a black correspondent; that’s fine. That’s the way they may view it, but I’m never going to let that hold me back. If somebody gives me an opportunity because they think they need some diversity, that’s always loaded with implications. I’ve always been confident that given the opportunity that those people who might be encumbered by seeing things within a racial context would start seeing things a little like I do and eventually stop seeing me as just a black correspondent and maybe start seeing me as the fine journalist I hope to be.”