Chinita L. Anderson, Playwright
Funk | Hip Hop | Punk | R&B
Chinita Lenise Anderson was born October 5, 1971 in Cincinnati, Ohio to Eugene and Sarah Omita (Owens) Anderson. She departed this life on May 13, 2018. Chinita was the big sister of Eugene L. Anderson, Ph.D.
It was during her youth that her mother exposed her to numerous educational and fun activities such as visiting the zoo, summer camp, and public library. A couple of Saturdays a month Chinita, her brother, and mother would walk to the main public library branch to watch a favorite movie, “The Red Balloon.” This classic silent movie about a boy and his bright red balloon in Paris began her fascination with the world outside of Ohio and beyond the USA. By the sixth grade, Chinita had turned her pop fascination into a dream of global exploration and adventure. Infatuated by Musical Youth, the kids best known for the hit song “Pass the Dutchie,” Chinita dreamed of visiting the United Kingdom, the home country of her favorite group. As Chinita would later write in a personal essay, “I have big dreams in the sixth grade. I want to attend a top college. I want to go out in the world and make a life for myself. I want the power to shape my destiny.”
Chinita’s quest lead her to Cincinnati Country Day School (CCDS) in hopes that an education at a top private high school would help her gain admission to a top college on the East Coast. Her hard work and sacrifice, like riding 2 buses for a daily commute of 4-hours round-trip, paid off after four years when she graduated from CCDS and was admitted to Sarah Lawrence College (SLC) in Bronxville, New York. Chinita spent her junior year studying abroad in Florence, Italy. She loved living abroad and traveled throughout Europe while there.
After graduating from SLC, Chinita began her professional journey in San Francisco followed by a short return to Cincinnati. Following her return to Ohio she earned a Master of Arts in Journalism from Indiana University. Chinita began her life in New York at the Guggenheim Museum. Always willing to put in the work, Chinita worked her way up the ranks from an intern at Dow Jones News Service (part of the Wall Street Journal) to a junior reporter. Her next dream came true when she was selected by the Japanese government to be a U.S. cultural ambassador and teach English in Japan. Chinita spent two-years in Toyama City, Japan. During this time, she made lifelong friendships with people from around the world and traveled extensively throughout Asia.
After returning to the U.S. in 2005, Chinita moved to Washington, D.C., for a new East Coast adventure and began the next chapter in her life. She took her talents to National Public Radio (NPR) and moved from a temporary position to a staff position on the nationally recognized program “Morning Edition.” Chinita was a key member of the Morning Edition team for a decade. She brought her work ethic and diverse background and knowledge to the program.
According to Kenya Young, a colleague at NPR, [Chinita] ran a tight ship at Morning Edition (ME) as the overnight Assistant Editor to the line team: squawking updates, updating rundowns, fielding station calls, running scripts, acting as liaison between digital and the show, posting to social media in real time. So much so that in 2014 the ME staff nominated Chinita for the NPR “Spark and Impact” award – rightly so, she was awarded it.
It was during her time in D.C. that she expanded her interest in a diverse mixture of arts and culture from that of observer to creator. She started writing plays in 2011 and by 2013 had one of her plays, Bedroom Mirrors, featured in the avant garde D.C. Fringe Festival. Chinita had found a way to tell stories about people and issues essential to her world and perspective. Chinita didn’t let cancer stop her from continuing to follow her dreams and create new art. Over the last 3 years she continued to travel the world with friends, write new plays, and support other artists and friends around the world.
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