CNBC News Releases

Jessye Norman Tells CNBC: Racialism in U.S. Congress

Opera Legend & Activist opens up to Tania Bryer on CNBC Meets airing April 22

LONDON, 15 April 2015 - In the next episode of CNBC Meets, Tania Bryer conducts a candid interview with world-renowned soprano and activist Jessye Norman, who accuses key figures in U.S. government of racialism, lends her support to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and reveals that she has no regrets about not marrying.

The 30 minute interview will premiere in the UK & Europe on April 22 at 10.00pm BST and excerpts will be available online at The programme will also air on CNBC networks in the United States and Asia Pacific on April 25.

Jessye describes her upbringing in Augusta, Georgia, at the apex of the American civil rights movement. She talks about her first brush with segregation; her early involvement in the NAACP; her journey through education supported by scholarships and fellowships; and her determination to support the younger generation through the Jessye Norman School of the Arts.

Honest and outspoken, she makes her views on U.S. politics known, supporting President Obama in his endeavours to bring about social policy change. On this she comments: "I'm disappointed by the Congress with which he [Obama] has to work, because the roadblocks that members of Congress put in front of this President are unprecedented, and they have very little to do with his policies and very much to do with the fact that he's African American".

She continues: "I nearly ran for Congress, I considered it and then put it aside. I don't think that I would be successful because I would not be able to hold back on what I need to say". Instead the operatic singer, known for her renditions of Wagner, went on to receive the National Medal of the Arts from President Obama himself.

Speaking on why she chose to remain single, Jessye says: " I think that there is sometimes an awkward and unnecessary pressure particularly on women to marry". She herself has no regrets about not taking the marriage route.

Also contributing to the episode is her close personal friend and renowned feminist activist, Gloria Steinem.

The CNBC Meets series, hosted by Tania Bryer, is produced and directed by CNBC in London. In the UK, CNBC is available on all major pay-tv platforms: Sky (channel 505), Virgin (613) and Freesat (210).

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Review copy / select sound bites / screenshots are available on request, please contact:
Finola McDonnell: Phone +44 (0)78 2793 7086

Notes to Editors:
Specific Airtimes
CNBC Europe (BST): Wed April 22 - 2200hrs
CNBC Asia (SIN/HK): Sat April 25 - 0600hrs, 1500hrs, 2000hrs
CNBC Australia (SYD): Sat April 25 - 1500hrs, 2000hrs
CNBC World/US (EST): Sat April 25 - 2200hrs, Repeated: Sunday, April 26th - 1630hrs

About CNBC Meets
CNBC Meets host Tania Bryer profiles the world's most influential high flyers and examines how they have achieved success in their career, home life and commitments to philanthropy. In each half-hour programme Tania Bryer gets 'up close and personal' with its interviewees with unprecedented access to each guest. The CNBC Meets series has featured a variety of high profile global figures from the worlds of business, politics, sport, media and the arts, including Sir Richard Branson, Jon Bon Jovi, President Clinton, Andre Agassi, Sir Philip Green, Naomi Campbell, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, and President Carter with contributors including Sean Penn, Tom Cruise, Chelsea Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Angelina Jolie.

Series credits:
Host - Tania Bryer
Producer / Director - Dayna Hochfelder
Editor - Brian Watkinson
Executive Producers - Tania Bryer and Martin Conroy

About CNBC
CNBC is the leading global broadcaster of live business and financial news and information, reporting directly from the major financial markets around the globe with three regional networks including CNBC in Asia, CNBC in EMEA and CNBC in the US. is the preeminent financial news source on the web, featuring an unprecedented amount of video, real-time market analysis, web-exclusive live video and analytical financial tools. CNBC is dedicated to CEOs, senior corporate executives; the financial services industry and private investors. The channel is available in more than 371 million homes worldwide. CNBC is a division of NBCUniversal.