Black Is Beautiful is a series of interviews with interesting, intelligent and immersed-in-their-passion local African American women.
From the time she was a kid, Melanie Ricks knew she wanted to be the in-game host for the Milwaukee Bucks.
She started working with the Bucks as a professional Bucks dancer, and later moved into the role she had always dreamed of.
But her passion for her job pours beyond being the voice of the 2021 NBA Champs. The opportunity also gives her a chance to show younger kids that they, too, can follow their dreams.
"It is so important in your region to have someone who looks like you," says Ricks. "I believe that this moment is proof that you can do anything, you can be anything – you just have to work hard, you have to be patient."
OnMilwaukee: Where were you born, raised and educated?
Melanie Ricks: I was born and raised in Milwaukee. For school, I went to Brown Deer High School and later studied broadcast journalism at UW-Milwaukee.
You are the in-game host for the Bucks as well as a radio host, but what else do you do?
I coach the Bucks' co-ed dance team, the 414 Crew, and I am a fill-in sideline reporter for the Bucks as well.
How is this work fulfilling for you?
This work fulfills me because I love feeling like I am making a difference while putting smiles on people's faces. In every role that I am in, it doesn't feel like work; it feels like a fun passion project for me.
How else are you involved in your community?
I am on the board at the Ronald McDonald House.
Have you ever thought about moving from Milwaukee? Why do you stay living in Milwaukee?
I have thought about moving from Milwaukee, but I have stayed living here because I love my family. I absolutely love my city. I love what I do in the city and I feel as if I can make a difference in my community.
What is one thing you love about Milwaukee?
I love the close-knit community feel that Milwaukee provides. There's something about living somewhere with big city elements without the large city traffic.
What is one thing you don't love about Milwaukee?
I don't love that people take Milwaukee for granted. There are so many beautiful things that our city has to offer and I feel that more often than not, people do not make the most out of the opportunities or they do not take the time and put in the work to create opportunities for themselves.
How does your work move Milwaukee forward?
My work moves Milwaukee forward because it promotes positivity, teamwork, communication and overall wellbeing. My work proves that there is power in surrounding yourself with good people, communicating effectively and working hard so that you can play hard.
What I do on the radio is have honest conversations with the Milwaukee community about things that affect all of us, no matter our background, and what I do at Bucks games is ensure that people have an escape from their everyday reality as we all come together for a common goal: to help the Bucks get a win!
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.