Joy Reid is the only Black woman currently anchoring prime-time news on cable television

By Jodi Guglielmi
August 05, 2020 01:00 PM
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Joy Reid is never one to back down from a challenge.

Last month, Reid, 51, became the only Black woman currently anchoring prime-time news on cable television with the launch of her MSNBC show, The ReidOut. The show made its debut amid both a global pandemic and a powerful racial justice movement.

"I consider it an opportunity, but also a responsibility," she tells PEOPLE of the historic role in this week's issue. "I get to represent for voices that have not had this kind of access. We're in a time when America is really changing."

Reid joined MSNBC after catching the network's eye while serving as a press secretary on Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign. She also served as the managing editor of theGrio.com, a news site that covered issues affecting African-American audiences.

In 2006, she landed an afternoon series on MSNBC, followed by a weekend show. Now, The ReidOut takes the slot famously held by her friend and mentor Chris Matthews' The Hardball.

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  • For more on Joy Reid, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

"Chris called and congratulated me on the show," she says. "Those are big shoes to fill. I watched it from the beginning. So it's pretty daunting to take that spot in particular. It's a high bar."

But Reid credits her family — husband Jason Reid and her three children, daughter Winsome and sons Jmar and Miles — with helping give her the confidence to succeed.

"They were very excited [when I got the show]," she says. "They put up streamers and shot confetti in the house."

Her new segment, which launched on July 20 on MSNBC and airs weeknights, covers political issues, including the intersection of race, justice and culture, and features one-on-one conversations with politicians and newsmakers.

"To help people see different perspectives is a wonderful burden," she says.