I know that 9/11 is the day that the towers fell and that indeed was a real tragedy, but now, for me personally, 9/11 2012 will be remembered as the day a giant fell…the wonderful Sharon K. McGhee. Honestly, once I received the news, via email from Chinta Stausberg, I didn't fell like being a reporter, but a mourner.
WVON’s talk show host Cliff Kelley made the announcement on WVON Sept. 11. “WVON respectfully announces the passing of one of our own WVON former news director, Sharon McGhee, has made her transition. She died around 11pm in Columbia, MO following her battle with ovarian cancer. She was 54-years-old.
We are all born to die and I accept what Allah God decrees. That helps to ease the pain of loss, knowing and trusting in Allah God, but it still can sting when we lose those we love. I really took this one a little more personal because she really gave me my introduction into radio. It's becasue of her that I was on the legendary WVON radio station for two straight years.
Sharon, a native of St. Louis, battled ovarian cancer for more than three-years and she was a warrior. Not only did she fight with everything she had, but she talked about her battle publicly to raise awareness around the issue of cancer in the Black community and its premature stealing of some of our greatest minds and talents. And she did it her way--with humor and pure royalty. She was NOT a diva and don’t get it twisted. She was regal and royal. She was the Duchess!
Sharon was a personal friend of mine who allowed me on her show for two years as a regular guest. We talked about current events. We laughed, shared information and discussed in our humorous way, the various issues facing our community. She is a true gem.
She loved the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan she loved to tell me about the time Min. Farrakhan prayed with her and for her at WVON studio one day when she revealed to him that she was battling cancer. “The Minister prayed for me Toure!” she said with a smile and while holding back tears. And she used to love to ask me about “that fine brother that’s always with Min. Farrakhan” until she found out he was married. She was referring to the Minister’s son, Mustapha Farrakhan. Sharon believed in the institution or marriage and was a real stickler and advocate of marriage so once I told her he was married, she never talked about how “fine” she thought he was again to me.
That’s the kind of woman she was. Very outspoken, very courageous, very genuine, and a real principled woman who loved Black people like she loved herself…and she loved herself. And you could tell why. Yes she was beautiful and had a great personality, but she came from a family full of love. She had a great mom whom she had recently lost and a father that she adored and that always adored her. She had a healthy confidence that came from being rooted in a strong, loving family with a real father.
I never met her father, but through her, I met a real man.
I will always appreciate our professional friendship that helped me grow as a media personality. Because of her, people still approach me and tell me they loved my laugh which they looked forward to hearing on her show weekly.
Award-winning personality, Sharon K. McGhee, born in St. Louis, is the news director for WVON Radio. Before arriving in Chicago, Sharon hosted the top rated morning talk show, Good Morning St. Louis, for five years. She won the prestigious Achievement in Radio (AIR) Award on KATZ Radio for a series on the death of Emmett Till. A radio merger and new management decided to take the station in a different direction and cancelled the entire talk format. Sharon wanted to keep her career on the fast track and sought employment in a major radio market, and today she is proud to call the Windy City home.
During her time in Chicago, Sharon won the prestigious AIR Award for a five-part series on breast cancer and also launched the first WVON book club, Between the Covers. Her greatest pleasure comes when she explores the world. “Any day I pack my bags and get my passport stamped is a good day!” She has traveled to Africa six times; South America; Europe; and the Caribbean islands.
McGhee’s purpose in life changed after reporting on the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control that revealed women and girls of color had the highest new cases of HIV/AIDS. McGhee decided to explore the topics of sexuality and responsibility in our community so she authored, The PocketBook Monologues. The term ‘pocketbook’ was used by many older African-American women when they described the triangle that separates their thighs.
McGhee premiered The Pocketbook Monologues, an intimate, hilarious stage play that gives women of color a chance to tell their stories, featuring talented actresses Kim Coles, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, Essence Atkins and Ella Joyce, just to name a few. The PocketBook Monologues is being performed to standing-room only crowds and will be featured on the upcoming season of the popular Bravo show, The Housewives of Atlanta. McGhee understands that HIV/AIDS is an epidemic in our community and she is not afraid to keep it real to save lives in our community.
With the intent of stressing abstinence, intimacy and sexual responsibility among teenage girls, McGhee created and directed the production, Everything Your Mother Should Have Told You…But Didn’t. The production includes stories from girls ages 13-17, affectionately known as the Coin Purses. “I know it is uncomfortable for parents to talk with their children about sexuality and responsibility, so we are stepping in to provide structure to ensure that girls and women understand the truth and consequences about being intimate in the 21st century,” expressed McGhee.
McGhee served as the first moderator for The Michelle Obama Effect: Politics, Family and Fashion in Chicago. This is event was a smashing success and was covered in USA Today.