Featured photo: Nikole Hannah-Jones speaks at NCA&T University as part of Greensboro Bound 2022 (photo by Greensboro Bound/Vanderveen Photographers)

This story is part of our 10-year-anniversary issue. To find all of the stories in the issue, go here.

One of the best perks of the gig is getting access to famous people, especially those with brilliant minds and careers. Here are few people we’ve been lucky to talk to in the last decade.

Nikole Hannah-Jones speaks at NCA&T University as part of Greensboro Bound 2022 (photo by Greensboro Bound/Vanderveen Photographers)

Nikole Hannah Jones

We had the opportunity to interview NHJ when she visited the Triad in 2019, right after she had launched the 1619 Project for the New York Times. During her call, Jones told TCB that “all [she] ever wanted to write about was racial inequality.” And it’s been a throughline in her work from the time she covered the Durham Public Schools for the News and Observer to her work at ProPublica and now at the Times

Nick Offerman

In his conversation with TCB from 2023, actor Nick Offerman talked about how comedy has shaped his career, while juxtaposing that with his dedicated and delicate role as Bill in the Last of Us, for which he won an Emmy. “It was pretty daunting insofar as I hadn’t had a dramatic role,” he told TCB. Offerman also touched on his longtime relationship with wife and comedic partner, Megan Mullally and how music, writing and woodworking are some of his lesser-known passions. 

Malcolm Gladwell

In his beer and drinks column, Eric Ginsburg got a chance to sit down with author Malcolm Gladwell who he found out only drinks four things: red wine, espresso-based coffee drinks, water and tea. The revelation built the foundation for the piece, which is still one of our favorite celebrity interviews.

Melissa Harris-Perry

Like Nikole Hannah-Jones, many in the Triad don’t know that Melissa Harris-Perry has roots in the area. As a Wake Forest alumna, Perry returned to campus back in 2017 as the new Maya Angelou Presidential Chair, which is when Eric Ginsburg had a chance to interview her. At the time, she talked about how the school “is the sort of place where nothing changes but everything is different.” She talked about her family roots in Winston-Salem and her plans for teaching at her alma mater, where she still teaches. 

Ken Jeong

As a senior at Page High School, Ken Jeong — famous for “Community,” The Hangover, Crazy Rich Asians and his own TV show, “Dr. Ken,” which ran from 2015-17 — was nominated for Mr. Buccaneer, Page’s annual male beauty pageant. “I was a little chubby kid. And during the swimsuit competition I did, like, a mock bodybuilder pose,” Jeong told Brian Clarey in his interview from 2015. “I got a huge laugh.” The piece chronicled Jeong’s life growing up in Greensboro and his life after he left the city. “As a performer, everything is coming full circle,” he told TCB. “It’s pretty beautiful.”

Rhiannon Giddens

In 2021 when Brian Clarey interviewed hometown hero Rhiannon Giddens, the musician/artist/MacArthur genius knew she was doing too much. “I can’t stop,” she said. “I want to stop. I’m trying to stop.” But no one had really bothered to ask her why. She didn’t need the money or the fame. So she did it to get a message across. “I’m just so used to hustling and working and trying to get the message out because there’s such a huge story, such a huge mountain to climb,” she said. And that hustle has paid off big time. On top of all of her other accolades, Giddens made national news in early 2024 for being a collaborator on Beyoncé’s new single “Texas Hold ‘Em.”

Bakari Sellers

In 2021 when Sayaka Matsuoka spoke to media specialist and attorney Bakari Sellers, he was representing the family of Andrew Brown Jr. who was killed by police that April in Elizabeth City. In his conversation, Sellers talked about how people could create changes within the system that harms Black and brown people, and why he does the type of civil rights work that he does. “I always want to do good and do well, and I was always taught to fight for something larger than myself,” he said. 

Paula Poundstone

In a conversation with Brian Clarey in 2019, comedian Paula Poundstone admitted that she never laughs harder than when she “sees someone with toilet paper stuck” on their foot, despite her intellectual leanings. Poundstone talked about her robust career in public radio and how she still wants to try acting, noting how she thinks Bridesmaids is “arguably the funniest movie ever made.” 

John Grisham

In 2017, former staff writer Lauren Barber had the chance to talk to author John Grisham who was on his first book tour in 25 years. Grisham talked about the importance of local bookstores, his wife’s connection to North Carolina and plugged Killers of the Flower Moon as the book he recommended for that year.

Fred Chappell

Award-winning fiction writer, former North Carolina poet laureate and retired UNCG professor Fred Chappell didn’t consider himself to be that famous. In his conversation with Eric Ginsburg in 2014, Chappell maintained an unassuming presence as the two talked in Chappell’s backyard. The late poet talked about his forthcoming collection of cat poems, which was inspired by the two felines that graced him and his wife’s home. “I always watch cats wherever I go because they’re fun to look at,” he said. “I tried to borrow from people who couldn’t sue me.” Chappell passed away in Greensboro on Jan.

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