MVSU Mass Communication Student
On Wednesday, Jan. 18, National Entertainment Executive Johnnie Walker was the featured presenter of the Mississippi Valley State Department of Mass Communication Speakers Series.
“The series exposes students to communication industry professionals in an effort to enhance their learning experience,” said Dr. Carolyn L. Gordon, acting chair of the department. Gordon said the department is elated to have Walker volunteer her time to share with the students.
Walker started her career from humble beginnings as a country music radio personality in Grenada, Miss. She shared how she started out as a receptionist at the station but was persistent in trying to convince the manager that she could succeed on-air. Her opportunity came when someone called in sick, and the station could not find a replacement. Thus, she became the first black on-air personality for that Grenada radio station.
Over the years, Walker worked her way up in the entertainment industry, becoming nationally recognized as a successful black female entertainment executive, music consultant and subject matter expert.
Walker has received several awards and made many notable achievements. She is the founder and CEO of the National Association of Black Female Executives in Music & Entertainment, Inc (NABFEME). This organization is dedicated to supporting and empowering women in recorded music, media & technology, sports, film & television, fashion and related disciplines.
During Walker’s visit at MVSU, she met with students, faculty and staff to discuss her unique career path. One of Walker’s most memorable takeaways was her “Five F’s (Fixed, Focus, Fight, Fanatic, Faith).” Walker explained that these five words helped her to stay focused and ultimately succeed in her career.
Walker also played an integral role in the integration of Grenada Public Schools. Her high school class was the first class to integrate Grenada Public Schools following the Civil Rights Act of 1964. She actually witnessed many of her friends who were beaten as they tried to integrate the schools. “Dr. Martin Luther King would come at various times to walk to school with us,” she shared with the students.
Speaking of Dr. Martin Luther King, Walker was honored by her hometown of Grenada yesterday as she served as the Grand Marshal for the city’s Martin Luther King Day Parade, Monday, Jan. 16. “Oh, it was overwhelming and such an honor,” she told the students.
Students say they were inspired by Walker’s presentation. “I am most looking forward to learning more about Ms. Johnnie Walker’s work in Memphis, since that’s my hometown,” said Tahj Bradley, a junior communications scholar at Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU).
Following the event, Walker shared in an exclusive interview her personal motto for life: “Work the job. Don’t let the job work you.”