Tamron Hall on the Jada Pinkett movie she watches on repeat and the book that helped her with her own debut
Tamron Hall has added a new line to her résumé.
The Emmy-winning host, formerly of the Today show and now helming her own syndicated show, just launched a thrilling new book series. As the Wicked Watch (on shelves now) is the first installment following crime reporter Jordan Manning: As a new Chicago transplant and the only woman of color in her newsroom, she's constantly asked to cover the violent deaths of Black women and believes she's discovered a serial killer loose in her new city.
To celebrate the release of the new thriller, Hall tells EW about her own pop culture inspirations.
My favorite book as a child
My favorite book as a child was The Little Prince. I'm not sure at what age I first discovered the book, but I remember certainly around the age of 10 reading it over and over again, and even now I'm reading it with my son. I know Moses doesn't understand the message embedded in the book itself, but the story resonates with me even at the age of 51: looking beneath the surface of what's really important in life. It's all there in this book.
The first album I bought with my own money
Sugarhill Gang. I got my allowance for doing my Saturday routine of dusting and mopping, which is something I did every Saturday as part of my chores growing up. I took my allowance and bought this album my cousins were talking about. I remember the swirl and the detail of the cover. I remember trying to learn every song and word even though I didn't understand the context or the meaning. That song was the beginning of hip-hop entering all of our lives.
The last concert I attended
Beyoncé and Jay-Z, On the Run — I saw them in New Jersey. There was a thunderstorm that delayed the concert right in the middle and I hid, along with others, under the concession stand area, willing to go back into a thunderstorm if it meant the concert could finish. The clouds did part, as they do for Beyoncé, and the show went on and it was magnificent.
The movie I watch over and over
Jayson's Lyric. It's based in Houston, and while I'm from near Dallas, I love the luscious and delicious presentation of life in Texas — particularly from the perspective of someone who is African American. Jada Pinkett was amazing in the film, the story, the friendship, the alliance, all of it left an imprint on me because it was how I was living my life at that time. Friends, food, pain, laughter, all of it!
The last TV show that made me laugh out loud
Insecure. Every episode, I laugh out loud. Issa Dee and the cast are me, my friends, and the people I hang out with. All of the flaws, insecurities, and joy I feel deeply and personally, which has caused me to be very attached to the show. Plus, every episode is hilarious.
The book I read that helped inform my own writing
Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley, was a big inspiration for me as I was writing my own novel. It isn't just because it involves crime solving and detective work. I love the characters and how they were brought to life and how you could visualize yourself in his writing, it was beautiful to experience as a reader and even more exhilarating to have this as an inspiration for my own writing with As the Wicked Watch.
The last TV show I binged
I May Destroy You, from Michaela Coel. I told every friend and family member that they must see it. She is a genius, and I'm happy to see the awards come in even though it is clear, never having met her, that what she creates from her heart and mind is a clear vision of who she is.
The fictional world I'd most like to live in
Pandora from Avatar; who wouldn't want to live in Pandora? The version of course that doesn't include people coming in and destroying it. At the time obviously Avatar was one of the most brilliant things ever made and still is one of my favorite films. The beauty in the world and the respect for nature and the connective tissue that it has made me want to book the first flight there.
The writer I wish more people knew about
Marysé Conde — she wrote I, Tituba: Black Witch of Salem. A brilliant book, it won the French Grand Prix award for women's literature. I've read it over and over, and while fictional, it was inspired by true events, and I wish more people knew of her work and I wish I could meet her one day.
The movie I wish everyone would watch
Claudine. It's James Earl Jones and the great Diahann Carroll at their finest. It's a moment in time in New York, a life that represents so much for me culturally and for my family, even though I grew up far away from that world and that place.