Interview by Jamie Miller
CPM: Tell our readers about Ebony Steele?
ES: I’m co-host of the Rickey Smiley Morning Show. I’ve been on the show over 3 years. I started out doing radio in Birmingham Alabama. I’m a Tuskegee University graduate and Miss Tuskegee University, that’s how I really started understanding the importance of community service and giving back as well as through my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. Ebony Steele is the name, I was going by Ebony Arrington which is my dance studio name. It’s the largest black dance studio in Birmingham, AL .I started the dance studio from the ground up with only 17 enrolled students and now we have had close to 400 students! When I decided to go to the Rickey Smiley Morning Show, I wanted the name to represent strength and Steele happens to be a family name. It happened where I had to call on that name and that strength a month into my job working with the morning show. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2007. I am an Ambassador for Susan G. Komen, Circle of Promise (http://circleofpromise.org/jointhecircle.html) and Pink Ambassador for General Mills (www.pinktogether.com); I was featured on some of the packaging and boxes for Breast Cancer Month. I just believe in being real and to be surrounded by tons of positive energy.
All my family members are survivors. My mother, sister, and father are all survivors as well because they are there with you to help you through it. There are times when they may want to cry but they have to be strong for you and help to build your strength. The support that you get from your circle can make or break some people when dealing with cancer.
CPM: When going through chemotherapy and you noticed that your hair started to fall out, how did you stay strong during that phase of your recovery?
ES: You have to become self-less. I don’t want to say that I felt guilty but I was like “Wow”, I didn’t want my parents seeing me go through this. I am the first born and the oldest daughter but then I looked at my mom, dad and sister and knew I had to fight through it just to stay strong for them as well. My big motivating factor was delivering them from the pain of not having to think about living without their child. That was my biggest push to keep the strength in me going.
CPM: How long was the process from detection through the end of your treatment?
ES: Immediately after detection, I went to get treated so it was about 8 months.
CPM: Can you tell our readers a little bit about your Bare Chest for Breast Cancer Event that was held in Atlanta for Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
ES: In Birmingham, AL I had this event called “Eye Candy” that was a male runway show to entertain women and give them a day out to enjoy themselves. I decided to tie that into my whole breast cancer movement which transformed into the Bare Chest for Breast Cancer. The bases behind Bare Chest for Breast are men that are models, professional athletes, students, entrepreneurs, and others who donate their time. The money is donated to Susan G. Komen Circle of Promise.
CPM: Talk about how you were inspired to open your own dance school by your Grandmother being the first black woman to open a modeling school in Birmingham, AL?
ES: I have so much passion for it; my sister runs it while I spend my time between Atlanta and Dallas. It has allowed me to gain that certain “umph” and confidence that gets me in front of a crowd to host events, get on the radio, and make appearances.
CPM: How is it being a woman in radio and working alongside Rickey Smiley?
ES: Rickey and I have been friends for over 15 years. The weirdest thing is that most people don’t believe that comedians have a very serious side to them even though their job is to be funny a full percentage of the time. He has a very welcoming and spiritual side to him as well. To work with him is awesome we’ve learned a lot from each other and we build off of the on-air chemistry and the length of time we’ve known each other.
CPM: Are there any words of advice that you would like to give for our readers?
ES: If you are going to worry, don’t pray but if you are going pray don’t worry. Take life day by day don’t measure it in moments and hours, but instead to measure the moments to make it special!
Make sure you follow Ms. Ebony Steele of the Rickey Smiley Morning Show on twitter @EbonySteele! Be sure to visit her website www.ebonyarrington.com and her blog www.ebonysteeleblog.com to stay up to date on her current events and involvements! The RSMS airs everyday Mon-Fri 5am to 10am!
Below are photos from Ebony Steele’s Bare Chest for Breast Cancer Fashion Benefit event.