In promotion of her new show, which will air Monday September 9, on ABC, Tamron Hall spoke about some of the issues she’ll address on the upcoming lifestyle talk show. The topics, at least some of them, have a lot to do with her personal life. She’ll explore romantic relationships, the link, real or imagined, between motherhood and womahood, in vitro fertilization, and interracial dating.
Given that Hall, welcomed her first child at 48-years-old and got married, all within the same year, she’ll be able to relate. In our interview with her, Hall spoke about having a child “later,” her initial partnership with Harvey Weinstein, and marrying a White man. See what she had to say about all of this below.
You had your child later in life and I wanted to know if there’s been any stigma associated with your decision to have your child when you did?
Honestly, I didn’t realize I was an older mom until people started telling me. It was like, ‘Geriatric mom?!’ You know, it’s interesting because it did touch me in the way we discuss womanhood and motherhood. I’ve had friends say to me, ‘Well, you don’t understand until you become a mom.’ And I would have been the only non-mom on the “Today” show if I had stayed there. Hoda [Kotb] was just in the process of adopting her first beautiful baby. So for me, it was an interesting experience because I was living in these two worlds where I was trying. And you don’t want to tell people that you’re trying because you don’t want to drag them through the pain. I’d shared with my friends when it didn’t work. And it got to the point where people didn’t know how to ask you about it because they didn’t want to hurt you. They didn’t want to say, ‘Did this round work this time?’ So me and my husband really started to keep it within a very tight circle, which included me and my mom. I think a couple of people—not to my face—come on. But I would read a couple of comments here and there that say you’re going to be dead when your kid is twenty.
When, in reality, my mother’s mother died when she was ten. My mom went to bed one night as a ten-year-old child and woke up without her mom. So there’s no guarantee on life. We’re not milk cartons. There’s no expiration on us that we know of. Maybe God knows it but we don’t know. So for me, it wasn’t something I was caught up in. I had to keep myself healthy. And that’s what we’re going to talk about on the show, the journey. Was it my choice to become a mom at 48? Yes, I went through the process but it wasn’t my choice– my doctor said, ‘You don’t have to tell anyone your health history. That’s your private journey. But you can share as much as you want. So I decided at that point to explain to people that I’d gone through IVF. The who, what, when, where and why are very personal things. But I wanted to, not necessarily give hope, because I can’t do that. But to share my story, which is the whole point of our show, to have a journey and to share that journey.
Not just from a Black-White perspective. I’ve had a couple people say, ‘My son is White and I am Black.’ What does that mean? We can celebrate in diversity in some ways and then we sneak in corners and other ways. Barack Obama was the first Black president of this country but he has a White mother. Somehow my son is White but he has a Black mother. So I’m willing to talk about those things in very real terms.
Whether her initial association with Harvey Weinstein slowed down her comeback
I didn’t really slow down the process. It gave me pause. I had known Harvey all of a commercial break, maybe three months. And all of a sudden the stain of what this man has been accused of has been placed upon me and a lot of women to be honest with you. And now we’re having to explain knowing him or business decisions that we’ve made—which again goes back to the unfairness in how women are spoken to, how Black women are spoken to and how we approach the perpetrator versus the people who can be victims. So, it didn’t derail it. When I learned of the Weinstein situation through a friend calling me saying, ‘Hey, heads up.’ We didn’t know what the story would be. The deal was already in play. I’d heard that he was a bully of course, like anyone else, but never imagined anything like that. And the one and only time I spoke with Harvey after that was the day I was in Texas, celebrating the 25th anniversary of a domestic violence shelter that I’d been working with, well before my sister was murdered. And so there I am thinking, ‘I can’t think about my own career because I need to think about these women.’ It’s tough because I want my career. I want this show to make it, but then I’m heartbroken as I’m reading these allegations.
That’s why it’s called a leap of faith. You have to keep believing that all of it is happening for a reason. So, as a result, Disney had already approached me. So, someone like Harvey Weinstein was not going to make me or break me or define me. And I wasn’t going to let any question or any person allow that to happen. So for me, I just hunkered down, focused on what I needed to do and I assumed that the judicial system and women speaking their truth, that would all work itself out. And we’re watching it play out in a courtroom very soon.
Whether or not she’d received any backlash after revealing her husband
Listen, I jokingly said at NABJ, someone said, ‘How did you know that the Black community was rooting for you?’ And I jokingly said, ‘Well, when I married a White guy.’ Harry Belafonte is one of my mentors And we talk a lot about things and race and the complexities of it. I never imagined my husband would be White. I grew in Texas, in a predominately Black neighborhood. I’ve dated, almost exclusively, men of color, Black men. This happened to the person I fell in love with. There was a worry in the sense that I didn’t want him ridiculed or hurt and I didn’t’ want anyone to feel badly about themselves. It’s these labels again, that we’re trying to break down on the show. We just talked to Tracee Ellis Ross for an upcoming episode. Her mother is the great Diana Ross that we know and love as a Black icon. Is she less of a Black icon or a woman icon because her daughter is multiracial? Of course not. For me, it was more of personal worry because no one wants their child to be called a name, certainly not starting this journey in the world. For me, it was more to protect my family. But I knew and I believe today, as I sit here and talk to you, right outside my son’s nursery that most people know we’re better than that. And I had a scant few. But for the most part, people are like ‘Let’s talk about it.’ And yes, because I am Black, it’s centered around Black and White. So we’re talking and digging into all of these things not to be incendiary, not to “get the tea” or whatever. It’s to have real conversations that we all have. Black women are the least likely statistically to date out of our race but also we have low marriage rates—and that don’t mean we all want to be married either. Let me be clear. This is something that we talk about, me and my girlfriends talk about, I know. And we’re bringing that to the conversation. Because in no way did marrying my husband mean that Black men had failed me. I was raised by an unapologetic, Black man who served in this country’s army for thirty years. That’s who I am. That’s the fiber of who I am.
Did you have to get over any hurdles in your own mind about marrying a White man?
Of course I did. I don’t know that hurdles is the right thing. I had to take things into consideration. This is the person I love and who loves me and who roots for me. My husband used to be the executive producer of “The Bernie Mac Show” and won a Peabody Award for it. One of the most powerful images of a strong, Black father figure in tv. And so he said to me, ‘Be yourself. Be 100 percent yourself’ and gave me great advice along the way, along this journey. And so I had to think about—not consequences—because I’m a grown woman, it wasn’t really that. We all on this phone love somebody and you don’t want anything you do, certainly not for work, to hurt them. So that was my consideration.
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