Tanisha Laverne Grant is a Journalist on top of her game! You might have seen her interviewing some of your favorite celebrities on the red carpet or perhaps as an actress in some of Hollywood’s biggest movies and television series. Sheen had the pleasure to speak with multi-award winning Entertainment Journalist, Red Carpet Correspondent and 2018 Black Women In Media Honoree, Tanisha Laverne Grant. In this interview, Grant shares with us her journey on becoming a distinguished and widely respected vessel in journalism. Grant is the face of adversity of African American Journalists in Hollywood, and she expressed her challenges as an independent journalist, how she accomplished her dreams and soared to the next level.
Born and raised in Chester, Pennsylvania, Grant’s career began as an intern at WCAU 10, an affiliate of NBC while earning her Bachelor’s in Communications Art at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. Recognized for her dedication and hard work, Grant was offered an opportunity to come aboard as a full-time assignment editor when she was 21 years old.
“Be a sharpshooter. Be at the top of your game,” Grant says. “I would work around the clock from 11:30 am to 8:00 am. I was responsible for contacting the local hospitals, publications, publicists and police precincts to get stories for the breaking news segment.”
At the age of 25, after four years of working as an assignment editor, Grant decided to pursue other talents and moved to Los Angeles to set her sights on becoming an actress in Hollywood. During her time in California, Grant earned roles as a day player actress and an extra for major film companies such as Warner Brothers and CBS Ratford Studios. Grant earned a SAG/AFTRA card for her keen acting skills, love for entertainment and let’s just say a certain “je ne sais quoi” she eloquently possesses.
“I was living in between LA and New York for fifteen years,”Grant says. “I received opportunities to be in shows like Moesha, The Parkers, and Malcolm in the Middle. However, I worked odd jobs in the hospitality industry during that time, like Events Manager, Maitre’d, Reservationist Manager and more, it all taught me humility. At age 39, I got a gut check from God, to pick up my microphone and dive back into journalism.
Grant says, “I didn’t choose it, it chose me.”
In 2013, after receiving God’s revelation, Grant decided to contact Saptosa Foster and Shante Bacon, both whom she knew from 135th Street Agency to cover their red carpet gala for the Urban World Film Festival. Grant has since been unstoppable and featured in publications such as Rolling Out, Glamour Magazine, Ebony Magazine, Huffington Post and many more for her notable efforts and contribution to Entertainment Journalism.
“Entertainment Journalism is the most impactful and powerful space of journalism there is,” Grants says.
“My responsibility is to make sure celebs stories are being told, the accurate way. You don’t wait to have an opportunity to get in front of Denzel Washington for an interview and asks some “BS” question, that is not journalism.”
With a unique chic style, beauty, and unparalleled drive, Tanisha Laverne Grant is the epitome of why representation matters. She’s a Blissful, Bold, Beautiful, Bald and a true necessary gem for the media and journalism industry. Check out below in our exclusive interview what the Harlem based, heavy-hitter had to say about the state of journalism today, and what our readers can expect from her in the future!
What was it about media that made you want to pursue a career in this industry?
I always had a fascination for words and storytelling. I want to be a mechanism for the truth and to be a positive Truthsayer, anything to help and push the culture. At a very young age, my parents made sure my siblings and I would read and be aware of not just currents events in the community, but awareness on a global scale as well.
How has Social Media impacted the journalism industry? Do you think it’s been for the good, bad or both?
I think if you’re a storyteller, it allows you to have a platform. However, it’s really impacted journalism in a negative way. It’s so raw and undeveloped now. Nowadays, no one has to do research or be factual. Everything is exposed now, even children, in which outlets utilize to be the first to release a story. Integrity is one that must be exercised. We have to care about what we say out of our mouth.
What are the key components you would say one should possess that are essential for anyone desiring to become a journalist?
Research, Research, Research every day! Listen. Be effective in an organic way. You need to be able to talk in the space, as an expert. Be a student of the world, learn to take criticism.
In the past two years, it’s been an open discussion about the adversity of Black Media Professionals encounter, from getting interviews on the red carpet to the press rooms. As an African American journalist, what’s your perspective on this issue and do you see any improvement?
It is difficult. It has always been difficult. Anything that contains black skin will be. We built this country, we just want to be included. Therefore, it’s important that black media professionals don’t make it more difficult for themselves. Fight for your spot in a strategic way! Do great work. Make it to where they can’t say No to You! When people see your work, they should be able to see your future!
What would you say are some of the challenges you face being an Independent Entertainment Journalist?
My challenges are making sure people really get to see my work. Gaining a wider audience on a larger scale. The great thing is I don’t have to pitch to a producer or an editor having control of the questions I ask. I have a responsibility to tell great stories. When you have the opportunity to interview Cicely Tyson and a producer request for you to ask an awkward question, that’s your face. I’m concerned about my legacy. My job is to be impactful and inspirational. Change lives for the better and if I do that, I’ve done my job. I would encourage other media professionals not to wait. If I had waited on EXTRA, VOGUE or ET, I would still be waiting. I had to hire myself!
What keeps you inspired?
Younger, Older women. My Ancestors. My God that favors me. When I come as one, it’s 10,000 times ten. All of what I do is not about me, it’s bigger than me. I never want the feeling of “Awe” to stop! I want to continue to take steps forward, not backward.
You’ve interviewed everyone in the industry from Angela Bassett, Oprah Winfrey to Kevin Hart and so many more. Is there anyone you would love to interview, that you haven’t yet? If so, why?
Yes. I’d love to interview Will Smith, not only because he is a Philly native, but I would ask him, “How do you safeguard the integrity of Black men, especially in a time of the Me Too movement?” Also, I would love to interview Meryl Streep. I was six years old when I saw her in the movie Kramer vs. Kramer.
I would ask her, “Through the course of your career you have interviewed with countless journalists. Who is among your favorite journalist to interview with and why?”
What can our readers expect from Tanisha Laverne Grant in the future?
Expect for me to be in your house, without a key. (she says laughingly, but confidently) I’m going to be on everyone’s television. I’m going to be expanding my audience. People can expect to see my new show online and on their TV screens.
“I want to be solid, but never comfortable. Emerge! Be in the eye of your dream.”
~ Tanisha Laverne Grant
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Featured Image: Kerby Jean Photography