13. Robin Roberts: The Author of Her Own Beautiful Day

"Early in the morning, it's the start of a new day. New hopes, new dreams, new ways.” India Arie’s “A Beautiful Day”, cowritten with Robin Roberts.

In October 2008, as part of Good Morning America’s “Ultimate Job Match” series, longtime anchor Robin Roberts became a lyricist. While this sort of segment could’ve been funny, having the power to light up a morning, Robin and her collaborator, iconic songstress India Arie, had a spiritual experience on morning television before millions viewers, an experience that has been memorialized in song.

For those who have had Robin Roberts grace their television screens, they are familiar with her battle with cancer, a journey that has played out on screen and beyond since her breast cancer diagnosis in 2007 and her myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) diagnosis in 2012. Roberts has consistently spoken up and shared her journey, putting a brave, informative, beautiful face to the disease, whether shaving her head or strutting the runway bald at an Isaac Mizrahi fashion show.

When she stepped into the studio with Grammy Award-winning artist India Arie, her journey bled into the art she created.

She wrote some of the most beautiful words I have ever heard. Calling it memorable is an understatement. At the time, I was 16, but the song sticks to my soul years later like only art can. I encourage you to stop and listen.

"Early in the morning, it's the start of a new day.
New hopes, new dreams, new ways.
I open up my eyes and I open up my mind and
I wonder how life will surprise me today.

I wonder how life will surprise me today.
New hopes, new dreams, new ways.

I wonder how life will surprise me today.
New hopes, new dreams, new ways."

Alongside Arie, Roberts penned “A Beautiful Day”. On the first episode of her podcast, years later, Robin reflected, "It perfectly describes my approach to life.” She shared with Arie, “Your music has helped me and countless others get back on the path to their journey.

If that wasn’t enough, Robin epitomized (and continues to epitomize) the importance of being brave. In a heart-warming moment, she stood alongside India Arie and performed her hit to the warmest of receptions. The love Robin has received has become a pattern. A simple example of this came after she was diagnosed with MDS in 2012. When Robin made the announcement, the same day, the National Marrow Donor Program experienced an 1,800% spike in donors. This is reflective of the warmth she puts out into the world.

Since, Robin has continued to be an inspiration and an advocate, receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2013 ESPYs, authoring her third book Everybody's Got Something in 2014, and being named as one of the 31 Icons of LGBT History Month 2015 by Equality Forum.

I am confident that millions are thankful that Robin’s story continues to inspire. While she has faced unimaginable lows, the strength with which she has carried on and brought others with her is unmatched. As Robin acknowledged, “A Beautiful Day” encapsulates the highs and lows and the opportunity that awaits with each new sunrise. What a journey.

Matthew Scott