As some of you may know I currently work with hip-hop Real Estate as one of their correspondents. I had a unique opportunity to chat with Veteran tv host and producer, tanya hart for HHRE. I reached out to her publicist with hopes of getting a yes to be granted the opportunity to interview her. AND guess what? I got the YESSS!!! I was so excited because she was the first person to interview Tupac on a Major Tv Network. Now, everyone knows Tupac is one of my Favorites so this was just like an AH! moment. I did some research on Tanya and let me just say it was truly an honor to have this opportunity! After speaking with her, I learned so much more than what I knew about her prior to our conversation.
Tanya was one of the first hosts to interview legendary hip-hop artist, Tupac Shakur, on a major television network. This iconic interview, 20 years later, is still as monumental as it was the first time it aired. Tanya was able to dig deep and allowed Tupac to share a side of himself that was not always seen in the media. Tanyas interview with Pac has been listed as one of the top five legendary interviews with the legend. In addition to her discussion on Pac, she shared something with me called, evergreen training, that she discussed in our interview. Tanya was also the person to launch the west coast operations for the b.e.t back in the early 90’s. Tanya has accomplished so much over the past years. She currently works as the Host of “Hollywood Live with Tanya Hart,” a syndicated program on American Urban Radio Networks. Check out the beginning of our interview below.
AM: In 1990 B.E.T founder, Robert Johnson, requested that you launch the west coast studio operations for B.e.t. Where you launched several of its west coast programs, one of them being your “live from La with Tanya Hart.” How did that opportunity come about?
TH: Well basically just because of Bob Johnson saying, ‘you know what, we really need to have a west coast presence.’ At that point B.E.T had actually been on the air since 1980. A Lot of people weren’t familiar with B.E.T because it wasn’t all over the country. When in fact, when I started in 1990 on the west coast, B.E.T wasn’t even airing on the west coast. We were out there but a lot of people could not get it. Because remember it’s hard to believe but cable wasn’t as big as it is now in the 1990. It was just starting to creep across that mason Dixon line. When I went out there in 1990, it was kind of frustrating because everybody on the east coast and the south was getting it, but the People we were bringing in the studio were like, ‘where can we see it?’ and it was just really coming into the west coast in a lot of the cable channel. And so by the time I got there, folks were being wired up…well let me put it this way, Cable was there but the B.E.T channel was not available everywhere… It wasn’t like today. It wasn’t apart of your basic cable. So let me be clear about that, so it wasn’t apart of basic cable like it is now. So you know it was really those rough and tumble times. Kind of like the wild wild west (laughing). But Bob, I had known Bob for 10 or 11 years. We had met here on the east coast. In fact his sister lived next door to my brother in law. That’s how we originally met. I mean you know that’s how things happen and it was very real. turned out b.e.t was on the same satellite as our NBC affiliates that i worked for in Boston. And that’s how my show had been on b.e.t for 10 years, and that show was called “coming together.” And so you know we had a long relationship when he asked me to do it. And we’re still friends. I can pick up the phone and call bob any day of the week and he’d usually be around.
AM: That’s so amazing. I didn’t even know, well I wasn’t born until 1991, but I didn’t know that B.E.T wasn’t as accessible as it is now for us. Like how it comes with packages that you can watch it anywhere. So that’s something I really didn’t know and that’s amazing to find out.
TH: (laughing) It’s so many things that happened right after you were born.
AM: On the platform, you were the first person to interview Tupac on a major TV network. Which I must add is amazing! Clips from that interview are still going viral, especially on social media… How does it feel to know that it’s like 20 plus years later and clips from that interview are still trending and being viral?
TH: You know something I got to tell you… it’s just… it’s to me it certainly a 360-degree cycle… Really in terms of our culture. But what it really said more than anything else, it said about how quality last. You cannot, you cannot really underestimate the power of something that’s good, something that is correct, and something that is right. I mean 2pac was the best of the best at that time, and that has not changed 25 years later! You know, I mean it just hasn’t! And quite frankly our show was one of the best, ever, of its time, and apparently, that hasn’t changed either. And so You fast forward literally a quarter of a century, and people are still interested. Because it was good then and it’s still good today. And I tell young people… if you are passionate about what you do, do your research. MAke sure you know what you’re doing. And listen. and care about what you are doing. Make sure it’s correct. And so all of these things are important because my whole training in this business was what we called evergreen training. I was trained to do things so that they last and apparently it worked.
AM: I love that, Evergreen training, I like that! So how was the chemistry when you did your interview with 2pac? How was the chemistry between you guys? It looked very organic.
TH: Yeah, well you know it was great. I mean… obviously I am a lot older than him. In fact, I am close enough to be in his mother’s age group (laughing). So in many ways I felt, especially as time went on and i would see him… We maintained a relationship really up until the time he died. I would see him and I was so concerned, Alexus, because I knew, I knew he was going down the wrong path. And I just, You know, you kind of get that feeling that this is not going to end well. And I knew that.. I didn’t want to say it like that to you, but the last time i saw him was at a party that clive Davis gave for Whitney Houston… You know until today clive is still giving great parties… This was like a fabulous party in a mansion in bel air, you know that was how he roll and he still does (chuckle). And you know, Tupac was there and we had a chance to really sit down and chat. I was like, ‘hmm, let me tell you something, you are starting to believe your press. About this whole bad boy thing and this bad boy image. You know the east-west gangster rap stuff.’ And I’m like, ‘you know what Tupac, dead is dead.’ I mean it’s one thing to be here all about it. I know folks are shooting everybody up. And I said, ‘honey, you don’t want to die. You are too young. you’re to smart. You are too smart for all of that. Don’t listen to all of that. Be above all of that.’ And i could tell it was going in one ear and coming out the other. And he was trying to appease me just because. But I could feel he was like, ‘she’s now sounding like my mother and not my friend.’ And I didn’t want to come off like that because I could understand, you know… especially with guys. No guy wants anybody to sound like their mother talking, you know? But I just felt i had to do that. And you know, we know what the end of this was… really unfortunately…
AM: Yeah… so so sad… On your show, you were the Sr. producer… One of my question that I’m very curious of was… did you have a lot of say on who your guests were? Like, ‘hey I want to bring Tupac on the show’ or ‘hey I want to bring New Edition…’ Or…
TH: Oh, absolutely!
AM: And I love that! Because going into my next question, I read that you…
Check out the audio below for the FULL phone interview with Mrs. Tanya Hart! SHe shared some gems, and we got to learn more about her journey of being one of the first hosts to give up-and-coming talents a chance to reach a broader audience on her “live from la, with Tanya hart” show.
You can keep up with Tanya on her website: www.tanya-hart.com and catch her show daily on www.AURN.com.