Jami Floyd

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Jami Floyd
Jami Floyd in 2016.jpg
Born Jami Floyd
(1964-09-10) September 10, 1964 (age 52)
New York City
Residence New York City, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater
Years active 1993 – present
Known for Television series:
Jami Floyd: The Best Defense
Home town New York City
Spouse(s) Kurt Flehinger
Children 2

Jami Floyd is an American[1] attorney, journalist, network news anchor, legal and political analyst,[2] former White House Fellow,[3][4] and former host of TED Talks in NYC on NYC Media.[5] She is the former Legal Contributor at Al Jazeera America and currently is a host and legal analyst at WNYC Radio.


While at Binghamton University as an undergraduate, Floyd worked as disc jockey at WHRW.[6] Floyd graduated in 1986 with a B.A. in political science and a concentration in Journalism.[7] In 1989, she attended and graduated with honors[8] from the UC Berkeley School of Law, University of California, Berkeley,[9] where she had been an associate editor of the law review.[6] She received a Master of Laws degree in 1995 from Stanford Law School, Stanford University,[3][10] where she also worked as a teaching fellow.[10][11][12]



Floyd began working as an attorney in the California Supreme Court as a law clerk to Honorable Associate Justice Allen E. Broussard.[13]

She began practice in civil and criminal law when she entered the law firm Morrison & Foerster.[13] She left the firm in 1993 to join the San Francisco Public Defender office, where she worked as a trial attorney.

Washington, DC[edit]

Later that year, Floyd was selected to serve in the Clinton Administration as a White House Fellow and moved to Washington, DC. She was assigned first to the office of First Lady Hillary Clinton, where she assisted in the Clinton Administration's effort to pass comprehensive Health Care legislation, and later to the staff of Vice President Al Gore where she worked on the Brady Handgun Prevention Act, the Violent Crime Control and the Enforcement Act of 1994 and various other domestic policy initiatives.[3] She also helped to vet judicial nominees and worked as a speech writer for the Vice President.


Floyd's first television broadcasting job was as reporter and legal analyst for KPIX Radio and TV in San Francisco. During that time, she spent much of her time in Los Angeles, covering the murder trial of O. J. Simpson and the nationwide response to his acquittal.[12][14] In 1995, she briefly joined CBS News as a legal analyst before moving to New York City to help launch the cable outlet Court TV, as an anchor and correspondent.

In 1998 she joined ABC News where she worked for almost ten years, most of those spent as the networks Law & Justice Correspondent. In February 2005, Floyd returned to Court TV (now truTV)[15][16] to launch her own series, Jami Floyd: Best Defense.[17] on which guests offered their legal analysis and spin on topical legal and political issues, as well as coverage of major trials.[9]

Floyd has worked Court TV as a news correspondent and news anchor;[18] and at ABC News[19] as a news correspondent for World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. She has also reported for Good Morning America and Nightline, and has co-anchored both Early Morning News and World News Now with Anderson Cooper, and led the Consumer Unit for 20/20.[20][21] In 2012 she hosted TED Talk's in NYC on NYC Media. In 2013 she joined the newly launching Al Jazeera America based in New York City and stayed with the network until shortly before its closure in 2015.


In 1998, as an ABC reporter, Floyd put together a television documentary for ABC 20/20 television, about the rape and killing of Brandon Teena. It served as the basis for the full-length documentary movie, The Brandon Teena Story and the popular feature film Boys Don't Cry.[22]

On September 11, 2001, she was dispatched by ABC News to cover the devastation at Ground Zero. Reflecting on her reporting in the days and weeks that followed for the 9/11 Tribute Center, Floyd later said, "As a journalist you make your decision you are going to fulfill your obligation to your viewers, readers, listeners. ... You cannot have a democracy without journalism."[23]

In April 2005, Floyd caused a stir with comments she made to the LA Times about then-Court TV colleague Nancy Grace. Floyd expressed a concern in the LA Times that Grace presented a televised "rush to judgment" when she said, "I rarely agree with what comes out of her mouth, but it's hard not to like the person," said Floyd, who returned to Court TV's midday programming in 2005 after nearly a decade at ABC News. She went on to say "We have a lot of guests who come on and mimic Nancy." [24]

In September 2005, Floyd elaborated on her comments about Grace in Elle saying: "Nancy's appeal is not unlike Oprah's. Nancy is Everywoman, someone you could see at a mall, on the bus. She's not an elitist from Harvard. She is what any woman could become."[25]

In March 2008, Floyd participated in the Glamour roundtable "Your Race, Your Looks."[26]

I grew up in New York City, which you would think is a diverse place, but I was called all kinds of names related to race, ... My mother's white, ... But my parents pressed upon me that "In this world, you are a black woman."

— "Your Race, Your Looks" Roundtable, 2008

Floyd has served as a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel, and Floyd's 2009 tangle with political commentator and Fox News host Bill O'Reilly over revelations about CIA torture practices in the post-9/11 search for terrorists generated nearly a million views on YouTube.[27]

From 2010 to 2014 Floyd was a regular contributor to the WNYC.org website "It's a Free Country," and the PBS.org website "Need to Know," writing about politics, race, law and justice.

Since 2010, Floyd has co-hosted with WNYC's Brian Lehrer an annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration at the Apollo Theater. Together they conduct moderate panels, introduce live music performances, host spiritual leaders and engage in conversation with a full theater from Harlem on the topic of social justice and Dr. King's vision for America.

In May 2012, Floyd published a piece for Marie Claire, a women's magazine, a response to to Samantha Brick's essay, "Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful."[28]

In 2016, she was a consulting producer on the film OJ: Made in America, an American documentary film produced and directed by Ezra Edelman for ESPN Films and their 30 for 30 series. The documentary explores race and celebrity through the lens of O.J. Simpson, including his trial for the murders of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, which Floyd covered. O.J.: Made in America premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2016, was released in theaters in new York City and Los Angeles in May 2016, and debuted on ABC on June 11, 2016, and aired on ESPN. The documentary has received widespread critical acclaim.[29]

Floyd also blogs at Medium[30]


Floyd and has won a Gracie Award, a Telly Award, and the National Association of Black Journalists Salute to Excellence Award and has been nominated twice for an Emmy Award.[20]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Floyd has won more than a dozen awards including the Gracie Award and the RTNDA Unity Award and she has been nominated twice for an Emmy Award.

In August 2015, she was named a Public Scholar by the New York Council for the Humanities, for a two-year term, fall 2015 to fall 2017.

In 2017, the film on which she consulted, OJ: Made in America, was nominated for an Oscar.

Personal life[edit]

I had to choose my racial identity based on how others saw me. ... I have a white mother and a black father. ... [M]y skin is brown in a country that, until the 1990s, recognized only 'Black, White, Other'.

— Jami Floyd, quoted in Glamour[4]

Floyd was born September 10, 1964,[31] and raised in New York City.[4][32] Her father formerly worked as a chief architect for restaurateur Warner LeRoy and was also keen in arts and decorating.[33] Floyd says that she is an "African American", having been born to a black father and a white mother.[1][34] Her family lived in Mitchell-Lama housing on the Lower East Side.[33]

In 2012, she told the Portrait Project, a collaboration between MZ Wallace and the photographer Anna Bauer, that her personal heroes are her "great grandmother Caldonia Pratt who helped settle the west and carve the Chisolm Trail" and her "great grandmother Ollie James was born a slave and died a free woman."

Floyd married criminal defense and civil rights attorney Kurt Flehinger, and they have two children together.[33][35] In August 2005 Floyd purchased an apartment in New York's Upper West Side, where the family has since resided.[33][36]


  1. ^ a b Floyd, Jami (February 10, 2011). "Why One Drop Matters". WNYC. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  2. ^ Real Times Media (2009). Who's who in Black New York City. Who's Who Publishing Company. p. 188. 
  3. ^ a b c "Largest Number of Blacks Ever Now Serve in Washington DC as White House Fellows". Jet. 84 (2): 25. November 8, 1993. ISSN 0021-5996. 
  4. ^ a b c Chideya, Farai (February 4, 2008). "Your Race, Your Looks". Glamour. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  5. ^ "TED TALKS IN NYC –FEATURING WORLD-RENOWNED TALKS FROM TED.COM – PREMIERES ON NYC LIFE". .nyc.gov. March 15, 2012. Retrieved January 17, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Blando-George, Natalie (Winter 2005). "Jami Floyd '86". Binghamton Alumni Journal. 13 (2). 
  7. ^ staff. "Jami Floyd '86". Binghamton University. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Previous Competition Winners, 1988 – Winner – Jami Floyd". UC Berkeley School of Law. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b staff (September 18, 2011). "Nationally-Renowned Journalist Jami Floyd Joins The Global Game as Managing editor". The Global Game. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Broadcasting & Cable, Volume 126, Issues 43-53. Cahners Publishing Company. 1996. p. 46. 
  11. ^ "Jami Floyd, Broadcast Journalist". Center for Communications. Retrieved January 29, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b The O.J. Simpson murder trial: trial of the century, Volume 3. Northwestern University. 1996. p. 98. 
  13. ^ a b Floyd, Jami. "The Other Box: Intersectionality and the O.J. Simpson Trial (1995)". Hastings Women's Law Journal. HeinOnline. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  14. ^ Who's who in Black New York City. Who's Who Publishing. 2009. p. 188. 
  15. ^ Robbins, Liz (January 27, 2009). "The Blagojevich TV Tour, Day Two". The New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2013. 
  16. ^ Ariens, Chris (November 25, 2009). "Even Anchors Are Traveling Today: Jami Floyd Filling in on MSNBC". TV Newser. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  17. ^ Becker, Anne (January 17, 2006). "Court Tweaks Schedule, Adds Show". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  18. ^ Details. 24. Details Publishing. 2006. 
  19. ^ The American Scholar. 2004. p. 185. 
  20. ^ a b "Jami Floyd". PBS. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 
  21. ^ Michael Eric Dyson (2006). Is Bill Cosby Right?: Or Has the Black Middle Class Lost Its Mind?. Basic Books. p. 262. ISBN 9780465017201. 
  22. ^ Swank, Hilary; Sevigny, Chloë; Sarsgaard, Peter; III, Brendan Sexton (2000-03-31), Boys Don't Cry, retrieved 2017-01-24 
  23. ^ "Journalists & 9/11 | Interactive Exhibit | 9/11 Tribute Center". exhibits.tributewtc.org. Retrieved 2017-01-24. 
  24. ^ Martel, Ned (April 11, 2005). "She Rants, They Rave". Los Angeles Times. 
  25. ^ "Quoteworthy". Chicago Tribune. September 21, 2005. 
  26. ^ "Your Race, Your Looks". Glamour. March 1, 2008. 
  27. ^ "Jami Floyd Slaughters Imbecile O'Reilly: We Have Torture Laws for a Reason!". Youtube. 
  28. ^ Floyd, Jami (May 22, 2012). "Do Women Hate Attractive Women?". Marie Claire. Retrieved January 27, 2012. Viral sensation Samantha "Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful" Brick launched a global debate about how women feel about one another's looks. Cultural commentator Jami Floyd explores an unexpected phenomenon. 
  29. ^ Albanese, Mike; Ali, Muhammad; Arthur, Bea; Bailey, F. Lee (2016-08-04), O.J.: Made in America, retrieved 2017-01-24 
  30. ^ "jami floyd – Medium". Retrieved 2017-01-24. 
  31. ^ Floyd, Jami (January 14, 2011). "The Ties that Bind". WNYC. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  32. ^ Floyd, Jami. "Jami Floyd personal bio". 2011. Retrieved January 18, 2013. 
  33. ^ a b c d Calderone, Michael (August 1, 2005). "Mellon Townhouse Hits Market for $26.5 M.; Court TV's Jami Floyd Moves On Up to West Side for $1.3 M.". The New York Observer. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  34. ^ Suzane Denise Johnson Cook (1995). Sister to sister: devotions for and from African American women. 1. Judson Press. ISBN 9780817012212. 
  35. ^ Gardner, Ralph. "Alpha Women, Beta Men". New York. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  36. ^ Shaw, Dan (2015-09-25). "Jami Floyd, WNYC Host, on the Upper West Side". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-01-24. 

External links[edit]