JSU alumna Cherita Brent is the antithesis of bashful, but the seasoned broadcaster and entertainer says she’s shy. The 28-year-old Jackson native can be heard regularly on Mississippi Public Broadcasting where she serves as a weekday host and producer. She covers everything from legal technology issues to events and attractions throughout the state.
She’s also a comedian, affectionately known onstage as “Rita B.” Although small in stature, her presence looms large onstage, never revealing any shyness. To many, she radiates an intoxicating vibe that leaves audiences spellbound. To others, she exudes a certain special quality. She’s a talented performer with a rich, distinctive voice made for radio and vocal entertainment.
“Fear can stagnate you,” Brent said. “I’m glad God gave me the courage to go ahead and press forward with my career.”
As a former sergeant in the 41st U.S. Army Band until 2014, Brent also knows how to take charge. She served as master of ceremonies for TEDx Jackson, an independently organized event that allows people to share presentations on topics about which they are passionate. Initially, Brent declined to serve as host.
“TEDx was one of the greatest challenges of mine because a lot of intelligent people were present, and they can talk over your head,” she said.
“I got a chance to play to a crowd that I wouldn’t typically meet in my regular nightclub comedy act.”
Brent peppered the TEDx audience with funny, anecdotal stories about average people. She calls it observational comedy because she regularly studies human behavior. Brent has worked for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, nearly four years. She honed her skills as a mass communications student and was an on-air personality at WJSU-FM (88.5) for three years. As a young girl, she began playing drums in her church and won numerous talent shows. At age 21, she embarked on a professional drumming career and appeared with an all-girl band, Calico Panache, on BET’s “106 and Park.”
Today, she’s also a drummer and background vocalist for the Dexter Allen Band and founded Rita B. Entertainment, a media hub that encompasses music, radio and comedy services. Her “The Rita B. Show with Mr. Adams” airs on Blog Talk Radio. Brent was named Novice Comedienne of the Year in 2013 by the Power of the Mic Comedy Show: Pro Series and landed in the finals of the Shaquille O’Neal All-Star Comedy Competition in Arlington, Texas.
She’s constantly perfecting her craft, but says she avoids watching television and doesn’t have one in her home.
“TV distracts me,” she said, so instead, she watches Netflix on her computer.
“It’s a cheaper option. If I’m not on Facebook or something, I’m writing jokes, watching comedies, just trying to learn. A lot of my balance comes from being disciplined enough to not waste a lot of time,” she said.