We had the good fortune of connecting with Tamara Banks and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tamara, how do you think about risk?
When it comes to thinking about risk I focus on what is my passion. Why am I on this planet? When I answer questions like that it is easy for me to go in to conflict zones and war torn countries to report and tell stories that other media are ignoring. I am also very clear that I have to be “prayed up” before I put myself in harms way. I would not be here today if I didn’t have family, friends, even strangers praying for me. I’m in full (spiritual) battle gear before I set foot in a danger zone.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
One of the biggest compliments I receive is that I make reporting and filmmaking look easy! Covering high profile crime stories (Columbine High School massacre; Aurora Movie Theater Shooting) may garner big “exposure” but it is not glamorous. And while traveling to places across the globe is exciting the threat of illness or being attacked because you’re a journalist (which is now happening in the U.S. and not just in foreign countries) is ever present and real. Yet, I would not want to do anything else in the world. I try to find the stories that no other reporter is telling in places where few people are going.. For example, when I covered the war in Iraq I didn’t report on the body count. Other journalists had that covered. I reported on how U.S. soldiers became mentors to Iraqi Security Forces from police investigation to the judicial process in the courtroom. Currently, I’m the Executive Producer and Host of a new show on PBS, “From Moment to Movement.” The nation is collectively experiencing a “moment” around social justice, reckoning with systemic racism and police brutality. And a “movement” has to arise from the ashes of this moment. Clearly, voices in the Black community are powerful otherwise, why would so many forces try to shut them down. “From Moment to Movement” is a platform for Black voices to be heard, unfiltered and uncensored. Season 1 of “From Moment to Movement” is broadcast on PBS12: 103 Thursday October 1, 2020 9:00PM, Thursday October 8, 2020 9:00PM, Thursday October 22, 2020 9:00PM, Thursday October 29, 2020 9:00PM.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The first place I would take my best friend who’s visiting in Denver is Five Points an historically Black neighborhood rich in culture. We’d grab an almond milk, lavender latte at Coffee on the Point and say hi to the owners, Ryan and Donavon Cobbins. The coffee shop has a great vibe and a diverse clientele. Next stop is the Blair Caldwell African American Research Library where visitors can learn the history of African Americans in the west from Buffalo Soldiers to current political and community leaders. Now we’ve worked up an appetite so we’ll head to Welton Street Cafe for Jamaican soul food. They also have a nice veggie burger for we vegetarians. From here I suggest we take the light rail to 16th Street Mall and take up the scene as well as do some shopping. Next, happy hour at Ocean Prime and then take in live music at El Chapultepec, a great live jazz venue. Small, intimate with great music. If we still have anything left in our engines we’ll go to Pete’s on Colfax and then watch the sun come up at Red Rocks as we do yoga. Why not have brunch, the next day, at Lucille’s. That should cover a nice long weekend!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My mom had been my biggest cheerleader, supporter and role model. Even though she is not alive today I still hear her voice telling me that I can do anything I want to do as long as I do my research/homework, work smart not just hard and not settle for less or cut corners. Also, my husband, brother and sister and other family members are very supportive. I know that they worry when I go to dangerous places around the world but as my husband says, “That’s who you are. Part of why we love you is because you follow your passion fearlessly.” Professionally, I admire African American women who have found their passion and follow it unapologetically. From Ida B. Wells to Rosa Parks, from Michelle Obama to Kamala Harris. From Maya Angelo to Janelle Monae.
*Tamara Banks *U.S. Army *Ama Arthur-Asmah