From New York where she is the weekend co-anchor for Fox News Live in Manhattan, award-winning journalist and Dominican alumna Arthel Neville connected with members of Students for Human Dignity & Diversity in Action via a Teams meeting. During the hour session, she covered career path highlights, shared life lessons and career advice, and answered students’ questions.
Born and raised in New Orleans, she is the daughter of Lorraine Neville and the late Art Neville, Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter, keyboardist, solo artist, and founder of the New Orleans music groups The Hawketts, The Meters, and The Neville Brothers.
Neville has fond memories of Dominican where she graduated in 1980. “I am really proud of the foundation that I received at Dominican – a combination of education, combination of spiritual. It has been a good place for me to start and a base from which I can live my life,” she said.
After high school graduation she did not venture far from home, enrolling at Xavier University to pursue a degree in pharmacy. However, New York beckoned her to explore opportunities in modeling and acting. Her mother, whom she calls her greatest supporter who taught her that she can do anything she focused on, gave her one year to decide if that would be her career track. An interest in journalism and her passion for writing was sparked during a visit with a New York TV producer. That led her to enroll at Southern Methodist University in Houston. Her junior year she transferred to the University of Texas at Austin (UT) where she attended classes from 8 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and worked at KHOU-TV from 1:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Asked why she pursued a journalism career and not one in music, she replied, “I am extremely proud of my father and uncles and the trails they blazed, the examples they set, the legacy they have. But I chose my own path. I am also proud to carry out the name in my way.”
Her way includes several career highlights: the first female African American on-air reporter at KVUE-TV in Austin. Dick Clark hand-picked her as his co-host for the Miss Teen USA Pageant. She co-hosted the Miss Universe Pageant to over 60 million viewers worldwide. When she joined CNN in 2002 to host TalkBack Live with Arthel Neville, she was the first African American woman to host her own signature show on the network. She was selected from among more than 1,000 contenders to launch and anchor Extra for Warner Brothers Studios.
During her three years as host of Extreme Close-Up that she co-produced for E! Entertainment TV, she did more than 200 interviews with iconic stars ranging from Will Smith and Sharon Stone to David Bowie and Whitney Houston. Neville was the third African American female to be inducted as a Distinguished Alum at UT and received the university’s Moody College of Communication’s DeWitt Carter journalism award as their first African American female honoree. Past recipients have included Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers, Dan Rather, and Ted Turner. In 2018, she delivered the commencement address at UT. She also started projects outside of news, with Arthel Neville Design, an accessories line that features handbags adorned with her quotes promoting female empowerment.
She celebrates there is more diversity everywhere. Observing the power of dialog that can begin with simple conversations, Neville said, “When you really get down to it, we are all people. We all have the same basic wants. As long as you have compassion for people and for each other and you see each other beyond whatever you think is some façade or whatever you think is different about that person, you can talk with them about what you think is different.”