The host of The Tamron Hall Show explains the challenges (and rewards) of filming a show from home amid the coronavirus stay-at-home orders

By People Staff and Morgan M. Evans
April 24, 2020 12:08 PM
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Tamron Hall is a mom doing it all — from home. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the journalist, 49, has been filming The Tamron Hall Show from the kitchen of her New York City apartment, connecting with over a million combined followers on her social media accounts and parenting son Moses [who turns 1 today!], Hall is experiencing the tricky balance many work-from-home parents are now facing, and opening up about how the global health crisis has impacted herself and her community.

The past several weeks have been a surreal experience, to say the least. Everyone in my family is healthy. Thankfully, we’re all okay. But what does “okay” even mean anymore?

Although I count myself lucky, I’ve had to adjust to this new normal like everyone else. I’ve been balancing shooting our daily talk show from home while also taking care of my son Moses — all from my kitchen.

There’s been a lot to juggle, personally and professionally, but I’m grateful for the people around me physically (like my son and my husband) and virtually (like my family in Texas and our show team) who make it a little easier.

Tamron Hall

My son’s babysitter was with us when the state of emergency was announced. She happens to live with someone who is high-risk for coronavirus, so we offered her the option of staying with us during this crisis. She had already been around Moses, my husband, and me, and we didn’t want her to be asymptomatic and inadvertently take the virus home (a phenomenon we were just learning about at the time), and she decided to stay. She’s been self-quarantined with us ever since.

Earlier, Moses was upstairs with his babysitter while I was taping tomorrow’s show. When we finished, she brought him down and we all spent some time together while I prepped for an upcoming interview with Olivia Munn, planned tonight’s dinner, and attempted to organize my spice rack. When you’re home all day you start to notice all those little things you never got around to ​cleaning up or organizing. Shortly it’ll be time for Moses’ dinner, and I make all his baby food. That’s one good thing about having your studio in the kitchen: I can have the baby food cooking during breaks in shooting!

For the show, we have a brand-new executive producer, Candi Carter, who’s incredible. While it seems like a miracle that we’re able to film all-new shows under these conditions, it’s not: Candi leads an amazing team who all work really hard to get this done every day.
Candi is also a mom – she has two kids. We’ll be talking about her son Emerson in an upcoming episode – he just turned 17 and he has special needs. It’s been inspiring to see her navigate everything. We’re on the phone from 6:00 a.m. until we wrap our last call around 8:00 p.m. when we go over the scripts for the next day, and on top of that, she is also taking care of her family.

The other day, Candi had a “drive-by” birthday party for her son and my husband and I were on Zoom singing “Happy Birthday,” and I just thought, “I’m happy to have someone like her to lean on.” I feel like we’re all hunkered down but we’re all rising to the occasion in ways that we never imagined; this just happens to be our lives now and we’re getting through it together. I think that spirit and dynamic is reflected in our show each day.

Tamron Hall

My husband ​has been an enormous help. ​Even though he’s also working from home, he does our camera work ​and wrangles our bird. Yes, we have a bird — her name is Josephine Birdker, Jojo for short — and anyone who’s ever owned a parrot can verify that they sound like smoke detectors when they squawk. It’s ​been his job to keep our living smoke detector from going off in the background, making sure Jojo doesn’t chirp during interviews. So far, I give him a C+, because the bird is winning.

Although there are the in-home challenges such as the parrot, or quick bursts of parenting during breaks from shooting, I recognize and appreciate the power of our platform. While it isn’t easy to keep emotion out of the equation, I know that we, as journalists, have the ability to share impactful stories of people who are experiencing some of the most difficult days we’ve ever seen. I see the numbers of COVID deaths on the news and remind myself that my role is to turn those numbers into stories. Each of those numbers represents a mother, a father, a friend, a sister, a brother – a soul. It’s hard sometimes; I’ve cried a lot. I’m sure we all have.

I recently interviewed a woman who owns her own ice cream shops. It was Erika Thomas’ dream job. She cashed in her chips and opened a business in Colorado. Now she has 30 employees and three locations…not to mention a family at home. Erika just expanded with a food truck and she was living her dream. But in the blink of an eye, she could lose everything. Her biggest fear is not being able to provide for her family or support her employees. She inspired me, but I was heartbroken at the same time. That’s the hardest part.

I was thinking about my father who was in the army for 30 years. When he was deployed, he could only write us a letter. There was no technology like we have now to stay connected with each other. So being able to communicate with our viewers and bring the show to them every day under these circumstances, it’s amazing.

As a Southern African American woman, who also happens to be Christian, the church is a big part of my life – I think that’s especially true within our community. Since we’re not able to spend time with each other in person now, it’s important to find ways to feel together like we do at church​ or at family gatherings. We need to find safe, virtual spaces – big and small – not only to check in on each other but also to spread awareness about this pandemic.

The toll this virus is taking on the black community is devastating. DJ Jazzy Jeff was on our show, and we talked about being in Philadelphia and still seeing a park packed with people. I’m begging my community, begging everyone, to use your voice to help spread common sense. There’s nothing more important right now than making sure everyone stays safe.

  • As told to Morgan Evans