Melissa Lopez-Martinez | Report

TMZ journalist Van Lathan visited Humber College on Thursday for a Black History month segment of IGNITE’s Real Talks.

MuchMusic VJ Host and Toronto’s own Matte Babel, opened the show and moderated the interview with Lathan.

Van Lathan is a Louisiana born journalist, screenwriter and current senior producer at TMZ. Lathan sky rocketed to fame when he confronted Kanye West during an interview at TMZ back in 2018.

West had made multiple controversial comments, including his belief on slavery being a “choice.”

“You have to give him some credit for hearing me out,” said Lathan when asked by Babel on what happend in the TMZ newsroom that day.

Shortly after the West interview many showed their support for Lathan, and Lathan believes it was because people were “struggling on the correct way to address him.”

Before he became the senior producer at TMZ, Lathan worked as a Los Angeles tour bus guide. During one of his “shows on wheels,” the founder of TMZ, Harvey Levin took the tour and told Lathan he should work for television.

Although Lathan was 31 when he began working for TMZ he believes he grew up into a man because of what he’s done and learned at his time in the newsroom.

During the interview Lathan also covered his social responsibility as a black man in America. “My responsibility as a black man is to be authentically me,” said Lathan. “It’s not just about doing the right thing but about being able to speak up.”

Lathan went on to talk about the lack of exposure of black youth in America, and says the world is missing out on talented individuals because they are not given a platform to express themselves.

When asked by the Avro Post about his thoughts on “cancel culture” and fans boycotting West, Lathan says although he doesn’t agree with canceling celebrities those that are consistently complicit should be held accountable.

“I don’t like the cancel culture but the truth is somebody has to go,” said Lathan.

Lathan said there is a difference between saying something controversial a long a time ago and having a history of being complicit. “Political differences can be talked about and addressed but situations like R.Kelly for example, that can’t be fixed.”

Aside from being a producer at TMZ, Lathan is also the host of the Red Pill podcast.


Image of Matte Babel and Van Lathan from The Avro Post

Written by Melissa Lopez-Martinez

Melissa Lopez-Martinez is a third year media student at the University of Guelph-Humber.

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