Tiffany Cross commits to being ‘authentic self’ on new MSNBC show
Exclusive: Tiffany Cross speaks to theGrio about taking over the hosting duties of Joy Reid's 'AM Joy' with her new show that premieres this Saturday
Tiffany Cross is a vibrant and bold presence, becoming a dynamic figure in politics by offering commentary on a world that often judges in black and white. It is that authenticity that will be the cornerstone of her new two-hour show on MSNBC.
The author and political analyst will be sharing the weekend hosting duties of Joy Reid’s AM Joy. Reid now anchors the nightly The ReidOut after being promoted over the summer, and became the first Black woman to host a prime-time cable show. Cross’ show, whose name will be formally announced later in the week, will air on Saturdays. Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post will host on Sunday mornings.
“Oh, my immediate reaction was obviously celebratory. I was thrilled. And then the weight of the responsibility probably hit me like a day later,” Cross exclusively tells theGrio.
“The next day I thought about the women who came before me and not just the women who came before me in the set, but the women who came before me in my pedigree and my lineage. You know, it felt like the ancestors are smiling because so much of what we know about the American political landscape is shaped by whiteness and the fact that we have been chiseling away at this for decades, if not centuries.”
Cross began her career as a CNN producer two decades ago and carried the feeling of every word being “foreign to somebody,” in the mostly white newsroom. Times have changed. She never did.
“I have so much gratitude that I had the spirit of authenticity and never felt like I needed to compromise who I was to get accolades from white-run newsrooms,” Cross marvels.
“I have never found that my silence is rewarded by white male patriarchy… I have a commitment to the community that I will always be my authentic self.”
Her name is now engraved alongside those she considers role models.
“I stand in the spirit of women from Ida B. Wells to Oprah Winfrey to Joy Reid,” she says. “And so, to be the person to get the baton passed to me, while still so incredibly thrilling, the responsibility was certainly not lost on me and the task that I have ahead of me.”
Cross’ ascension to having her own show is happening at a unique time in the television landscape. CBS News recently announced that Jericka Duncan and Adriana Diaz will be anchoring on the weekend, signifying a shift where Cross will not be the “only” one.
“It’s not just me in that chair. We are all in that chair. Our voice, our collective voice is in that chair, our diversity of thought is in that chair of the American experience is in that chair. And I plan to bring that to the forefront unapologetically every weekend,” she declares.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will also be analyzed through the lens of Black women. It’s a point not lost on Cross, who authored Say It Louder: Black Voters, Our Voices, and the Shaping of American Democracy that was published in July.
“There’s a language that we speak that you might hear it, but you have to be of it to understand it,” Cross says.
Cross deems Black women to be a “sorority” she is proud to be a part of.
“I think it’s gonna be really interesting experience to watch America learn about their fellow countrymen, learn so much about us after decades of us disproportionately upholding this democracy,” she opines. “It’s about time that we have some curiosity about what we bring to the American body politic. And I’m just privileged to be one of many voices that will be doing that.”
Cross’ new show will feature such segments as “Make It Make Sense,” “Who Got Next?” and “Cross Talk.” Most of all, Cross will be herself and has the full support of Cesar Conde, Chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group.
“I would never join any platform or any organization that made me feel like I could not be my authentic self and I have to credit Cesar Conde with that,” she reveals.
Cross continues, “He had the foresight to build a newsroom that looks like America and during our conversations, he was nothing but encouraging.”
Cross is also full of praise for Rashida Jones, who was just appointed president at MSNBC. She will be the first Black executive to run a major television network.
“She was another voice who encouraged me to be my authentic self,” Cross relays.
Cross is mindful that folks “tap dance on your misery” if mistakes are made and some of her opinions that rub some won’t always be well received. She asks for grace.
“If I have ascended to this perch and all I’ve gotten to do is go viral a few times— I have failed miserably,” she says.
“But if I have changed the conversation, if I have held the door open for many others after me, if I have brought truth to a landscape that too often wants to euphemize some of our language, then I have accomplished what I need to do, even if I have to come through with some scrapes and bruises along the way.”
Cross’ new show premieres Saturday, December 12, at 10 a.m.
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