By Kristin Grimmett
Yesterday afternoon, while John Norris was interviewing Mariah Carey in the greenroom after "TRL," I was in shock because I was able to attend. I was trying to get my eyes to adjust to the ice on her finger & wrist (which was pretty fantastic), when John asked how she felt about Barack Obama having a shot at the presidency. Being that I'm of mixed heritage as well, I perked up to hear her answer — and I was in for a surprise.
First of all, you need to know that when John asks an artist a question, 10 times out of 10, the answer is about them — even if the question is about someone else. So when John asked about Obama, I was not expecting Mariah to turn her head, look directly at me and say, "I have another biracial partner in this room right here, and we met on an MTV moment. I know I'm not directly [answering the question], but can we discuss this?" [Editor's note: That's Kristin, the author of this blog, with Mariah and MTV News staffers Nick Neofiditis (left) and Luther Burke (right) in the photo above.]
As my face flushed, the camera turned to me, and John put the microphone in my face. What was going on? This does not happen.
"Can you tell us?" she asked. "Can you explain how we met and how we connected?"
I was so embarrassed and I said so, not because Mariah asked me a question, but because everyone was suddenly staring at me.
"Why is it embarrassing?" she asked me.
Um, maybe because Mariah is supposed to be the focus of the interview, not me! But I put my game face on and told the story of how we met.
I began to rattle on — at a very accelerated speed, I might add — about how we met on MTV's "Shining Through the Rain" special back in 2002 when I was given the chance to interview her. I cried, she cried, we all cried. Hugs were given and a weight was lifted off of my chest because I was finally able to tell Mariah how she changed my life. She helped me to see the beauty of being mixed and how I could "make it through the rain" regardless of those trying to bring me down in my small town. Trying not to cry, yet again, I explained that ever since that moment, she has never forgotten me, always included me on events and made a point of making me feel special at every turn. A diva? Maybe for those tabloid stories. For me? Just an amazingly real woman who can make you feel love with every smile and embrace.
I continued on about my journey to get where I'm at now. I have a job here at MTV News and couldn't be happier. I had realized that I could do whatever I wanted and told her it was all because of her.
"Yeah!" Mariah said to me. "Look at that success story! Darling, it's because of you."
Then she turned back to John and said, "The point is, there's a lot of us [with biracial backgrounds]. It was difficult for me growing up to have someone where I could say, 'I look up to this person, I fully relate to this person,' and I felt like an outcast, an outsider." So Barack Obama having a shot at the White House, she said, "couldn't be more exciting to me. It's an amazing, incredible moment."
As far as Mariah goes, I'll be lovin' her long time. And it was an incredible moment for me too.