Selema Mabena "Sal" Masekela (born August 28, 1971) is an American television host, sports commentator, actor, and singer.
Life and career
Masekela is the son of the South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela, and a Haitian mother. Masekela is also the older half-brother of Survivor: Cook Islands contestant Nathan Gonzalez. He was raised in Staten Island, New York and Carlsbad, California, where he attended Carlsbad High School. Masekela is the co-founder of Berkela Motion Pictures with Jason Bergh. When he was a teenager, Masekela’s unique upbringing brought him to Southern California, where he was first exposed to surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding.
His career began as the receptionist/intern at Transworld Publications in 1992, home of TW Snow, TW Skateboarding and TW Surf magazines. An avid surfer, skateboarder and snowboarder, he is described by some as the face and voice of action sports. He served as an NBA sideline reporter for ESPN during the 2003-2004 season. Masekela was co-host of The Daily 10, a countdown of the day's "top 10" entertainment stories, on the E! network until it was cancelled on Sept 27, 2010 (last show Oct 1, 2010). He was also host of both the X Games and Winter X Games on ESPN for 13 years but left in 2012 to work for NBC and NBC Sports Network through a contract with Red Bull Media House. He appears in the "Green" episode of Yo Gabba Gabba singing the song "Hello World" which aired on Nick Jr. on April 22, 2009.
In 2010, he was hired by ESPN to help as a correspondent in its coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. While working as a correspondent, Masekela was featured, with his father, Hugh, in a series of videos on ESPN. The series, called "Umlando - Through my Father's Eyes", aired in 10 parts during ESPN's coverage of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The series focused on Hugh and Selema's travels through South Africa. Hugh brought his son to the places where he grew up. It was Selema's first trip to his father's homeland.
A native of New York, Masekela’s flair for entertainment emerged at an early age as he toured the world with his father, South African jazz icon Hugh Masekela. Masekela’s own band, Alekesam, shares the name of his first film which chronicles his relationship with his father and their connection through music, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2012. Alekesam’s music has been featured on Entourage and House of Lies, with their newest single, "All Is Forgiven", featured on the season four premiere of the Showtime hit.
His creative aesthetics also extend into fashion through his clothing company, Art of Craft, which donates a percentage of every sale to charity. Masekela is often called upon to apply his encompassing and captivating style of hosting to live events, including YouTube’s Brandcast in New York and Paris, YouTube Live on Stage from the Kennedy Center, and Google’s Zeitgeist.
In February 2014, Masekela made his Olympic broadcasting debut from the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, reporting features for NBC’s nationally syndicated Olympic Zone. He joined the Emmy-award winning investigative series VICE on HBO as a correspondent and executive producer in 2015. That year, he also appeared in the remake of the cult classic Point Break.
Beginning April 27, 2016, Masekela will appear as the host and executive producer of VICELAND’s docu-series, VICE World of Sports. The series will take viewers all over the world to explore each location’s people, politics, and culture through the lens of the one thing that connects them all: sports. The series will premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 22nd. Masekela’s creativity and storytelling extends behind the camera to his production company, UX Entertainment. Based in Los Angeles, UXE specializes in film, commercials, music videos, and animation work. Their latest project, Let It Play: Hard Lovin’ Woman, a heavy-hitting documentary featuring the never been told story of Oscar-nominated actress Juliette Lewis, will premiere at Tribeca in the Short Film program on April 15. Launching globally on Red Bull TV on April 23, the short film, developed in association with Red Bull and directed by actor and director Michael Rapaport, explores the sacrifices Lewis makes to pursue her first love, music—from putting her acting career on hold and self-financing a music career to assembling her very own rock band, Juliette and the Licks.
Masekela is involved in several social initiatives, and is the co-founder of Stoked Mentoring, an organization dedicated to mentoring at risk youth through action sports. He also serves on the advisory boards of The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organization which provides a daily meal to students of township schools in Soweto of South Africa, and The Tony Hawk Foundation, and organization dedicated to financing and building high-quality, legal skateboarding parks for kids. Masekela is also a strong public supporter of the Surfrider Foundation and Life Rolls On.