Talk show host, Temple alum and new mom Tamron Hall was at the Kimmel Center on Tuesday night to host the Marion Anderson Awards honoring Kool and the Gang.
The Philadelphia Tribune’s Jamyra Perry had a chance to chat with the Temple University trustee about her Philly roots, the inspirational work of Marian Anderson and finding a work/life balance. Here’s the interview, edited for clarity and brevity:
Q: You’re hosting the Marian Anderson awards on Tuesday. How did that come about?
A: My family at 6abc called and extended the invitation, given my ties to Philly as both a Temple grad and a member of the Board of Trustees. They asked me to help celebrate the legacy of Marian Anderson.
Q: Who is Marian Anderson to you?
Marian Anderson helped pave the way for African-American women, not just in entertainment but in any field. Her being the first let someone like myself become the first Black woman to anchor the Today show — she paved the road that helped me.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to honor people like we do for the Marian Anderson awards?
A: Our history is our story. We owe it to the next generation to remind them of why they have a chance to break barriers today.
Q: Who or what inspires you?
Life inspires me. The different people we have on our show as guests, inspire me.
Q: Marian Anderson was a singer, actress and activist. She wore many hats. Just as you do. Just as many African American women do. What is it about African American women and our talent for multi-tasking and doing it well?
A: Culturally, we have had to survive on very little, both economically and through the limitations society has put on Black women and Black people. Culturally, we learned to “make a way when it appears there is no way.”
Q: You’ve had a lot of big changes in your life these past few years. You seem to handle these tough situations with the utmost grace. What’s your secret for handling difficult situations?
A: My secret is prayer and strong family and friends who surround me.
Q: What has been your most challenging role so far?
A: I think people would say parenting, I would agree with that. But in life, helping my mother after my father passed away and taking on the nurturing role of taking care of her has been challenging as we didn’t expect my father’s death. In reality, life brings you challenges and that’s not a surprise. The secret is how you overcome them.
Q: Speaking of hosting, you started a talk show this past September. The format is a little different than we may be used to seeing. Tell me about that.
A: It’s not different, it’s a traditional daytime talk show like Phil Donahue, Oprah Winfrey and Mike Douglas. We want to have the same conversation on air, that people are having in their homes with their friends and family.
Q: You’re a Temple alum. What are some of your favorite Philly spots?
I love Jim’s on South Street, that’s one of my favorite places. Serpico is also a favorite.
Q: Philly is a big town with an even bigger personality. How did going to school in Philadelphia impact you?
A: I tell people I was born in Texas but I got my soul in Philly. It was a life changing experience.