Jasmine Sanders is a self-proclaimed media maven known for her commanding voice, warm spirit, and infectious personality. She has become a multi-media powerhouse, working as a host in various industries ranging in radio, television, and entertainment.
Ranked in the Top 3 of nationally syndicated Black female personalities, Sanders captivates audiences around the world through hope and humor. She currently dominates the airwaves alongside comedian and actor, D.L. Hughley, as co-host of the top-ranked, nationally syndicated “The D.L. Hughley Show.”
With over 3.5 million weekly listeners the show can be heard in 65 markets nationwide. An uncut version of the popular show can also be seen on Kevin Hart’s LOL channel and GFNTV.com, called “DL Hughley Uncut”. Her podcast “Brunch Therapy with Jasmine Sanders” is an authentic, relatable conversation about issues that everyone can relate to and is being developed for a televised talk show format.
Sanders has appeared as a correspondent/co-host for HLN and BET and featured as a music expert and pop-culture pundit for Billboard Magazine, WTFV/CBS News Channel 5, and WTVC/ABC News Channel 9. She is the recipient of many career achievement awards, including being named at the top of Girl’s Incorporated’s “Most Influential Women” list and recognition by NABFEME (National Association of Black Female Executives in Music & Entertainment). Sanders has also been known for hosting high-profile events, such as The D.L. Hughley Friends and Family Tour and Radio One’s Women’s Empowerment Conference.
Sanders is very passionate in her work as a youth mentor and bringing awareness to the subject of adoption. Jasmine’s compelling story of her own journey in foster care, adoption, teenage pregnancy, and surviving domestic abuse creates a platform for her to help women all over the world. With her “Jasmine Cares” initiative, she plans to mentor and motivate young women who have lost their will to dream. She is also working diligently on starting an annual charity event to reduce fees for people who want to adopt but are deterred by the initial cost through her “Adopted and Winning” initiative.
We Empower Magazine got an exclusive interview with Jasmine Sanders.
Tammy Reese: When you first got into the media industry. What impact did you intend to make?
Jasmine Sanders: When I first got into the industry, my first thing was to do all of the things people said I could never do. Even from the very beginning, they were like, oh, you’ll never get a job in radio because you studied broadcast journalism and nobody ever gets a job in their field. Then after I was able to blow that out of the water I wanted to be able to do what I think all women should be allowed to do and that is to just be myself and not have to try to fit into the stereotypes.
Way back women weren’t supposed to be deep or thick voiced and warm. I was determined to break that mold. We can be who we are just like the men. So initially, that was a priority and to dominate all of the areas where I saw men. Such as morning shows and syndicated shows. I really wanted to blow the stereotypes out of the water.
Tammy Reese: What topics do you love to speak about when you’re on air?
Jasmine Sanders: Anything that’s going to get me hot under the collar. I like a good debate. I’m not going to call it a conversation, I’ll call it verbal acrobatics. I like that. I like anything whether it’s relationship-driven, I like talking about everyday issues that men and women face together in relationships, or things that we typically don’t see eye to eye on. Ultimately, it’s not just about the debate of it all, but it’s also about trying to get us to meet in the middle.
I feel like we live so much of our lives arguing and disagreeing. As much as I like to do that I also like to have my own thoughts and opinions kind of stretched, to perhaps change and alter my perspective on something. So I love talking about relationships and love, and what a woman’s role is in and out of a relationship, what her priorities ought to be compared to what from a social perspective they should be. I love talking about that. I love talking about children. I love talking about political events. I like political topics but to be honest, I don’t like to be inundated with them. I know just enough to tell you my opinion. But don’t ask me questions about do you remember the Battle of 1902? I don’t remember things like that. In terms of what’s going on in politics today, in the past 10 years, I’m pretty well abreast of that. So those are kind of the topics that drive me.
Tammy Reese: What have been some of your most memorable interviews.
Jasmine Sanders: Hmm. Let’s see. I had a horrible interview with this one particular artist, who had the personality of a turnip. Later on, I realized that’s just who she was. But initially, I was getting frustrated, because I’m like, you’re here to promote something, I’m here to help you do that and get to know you in the process. So you have to give me more than single-word answers. Prince did that and he could because he had a vault of music and number one hits.
The yes and the no answers I needed more than that. I was getting so frustrated. I had the opportunity to interview this person again. Once we got past that, and we had a little conversation, it was cool. But for me, it was the worst interview ever, because it was 15 minutes of me just talking. That was probably one of my worst interviews.
I had a fantastic interview with Patti LaBelle. It was so great that afterward, we went to dinner, she pulled hot sauce out of her purse and doused it all over my food and patted me on the back, and said “Go ahead, baby eat that.” I was like, I love that. So that was probably one of my most memorable too.
Tammy Reese: That had to be epic! I love it!
Jasmine Sanders: That’s a true story. The bag had to have been $20,000 and she had like this 97 cents Louisiana hot sauce in there. I was like, that’s my girl!
Tammy Reese: What is it like working with D. L. Hughley and how did your role as Co-Host for his radio show come about?
Jasmine Sanders: First they told me they were doing a show with him and they were looking for a female co-host. They really liked me but he needed to like me. I was like, okay, that’ll be interesting. So they flew me out to LA, we sat down, he was late. I forgave him though because I wanted the job. I didn’t need a job because I had a job, but I really wanted this opportunity to work in syndication. So I was like, Okay, put that Scorpio attitude to the side, girl, let’s get it!
I flew all the way from New York. When he finally arrived, we sat down and right out the gate, he was like, “you’re not my first choice, I have someone else that I would really like to work with, because we’ve worked together before and I owe them this.” I said, Listen, go get that person. If that is who you want, I think that’s who you should go get.
We began to talk more and before it was over, he was like, I made a mistake. You’re the person! I was like, don’t try that with me. I know how that is, I believe you probably still want that person. In the end, he still chose me. So we began working together, it was fine and it still is, I tell people all the time it’s like a roller coaster ride. It’s like going to an amusement park and you get in line and wait. You know it’s gonna be terrifying but you still get in line anyway. When you get on the ride it’s slow, then it goes up and it drops and your stomach drops. Then you giggle and you’re scared to death because you don’t know what’s coming next. Now when you get off you go right back in line to wait another hour before you can ride it again. It’s just like that.
I go into the studio and usually we talk about three times before the show. I never really know what’s in his mind. It’s a lot like waiting in line. I’m wondering, am I going to throw up? Am I going to be happy that I got on this ride? I know we’re just going to do it all over again, because it’s that much fun and scary at the same time.
Tammy Reese: You’re one of only three Black female radio personalities ever to dominate pop radio in New York City. You’re ranked top three of nationally syndicated Black female personalities. With all the experience and accomplishments you made in the media industry, what do you think is the state of Black media? What is missing? What are you loving?
Jasmine Sanders: I love that we’re sharing so much information on social media. So that perhaps what I don’t know, I can learn from someone who may or may not have gone to school. Maybe they just have a different method of researching and might be able to uncover something that I missed. I like the fact that we’re sharing it so freely and so openly to allow us all to ascend on a level of historical proportions, at least in my opinion regarding things that maybe were shuffled under the rug.
Everything from Black Wall Street to stories that give rise to a light shining on police brutality, or sharing videos of things that we may not have seen, and reporting on those things and blowing the whistle. What I do miss still is that barometer of truth. I think now that we all have a microphone of sorts, and we all have a video camera so we all now believe that we are reporters. With the microphone comes tremendous responsibility. In the essence of what you’re doing is you’re using it as a megaphone to perpetuate and to amplify whatever your opinion is, and whatever it is that you found.
You may not have given it the proper research that you needed and unfortunately, once you put it out there, it’s hard to retract it. Ripping and reading are what we call it where you just rip the headlines and you just go with that instead of not just the first paragraph, but perhaps reading to the end of the article. You may find that it was satirical, you may find that all of the facts that you really needed to know were in the fourth paragraph, but you missed it because you just read the headlines. So now you have all of this misinformation that’s being passed around online at a time when we as a people really need to be pulling together more than ever, in a spirit of truth.
We are finally learning the impact of our power and the impact of us working together. So with that, to me, comes the acknowledgment of working in truth. If we’re fighting in this battle, we need truth on our side and if you’re telling one story and I’m telling another story, only one is telling the truth. We’ve got a race of people who should be working together but we’re fragmented because everybody believes something different, as in the case of voting. Right now, it’s more important than anything for all of us to be voting. We saw what happened in Alabama, we saw what happened in Atlanta, we saw what happened with Black women.
You still have a lot of people online who are saying our vote doesn’t matter or that our vote is being thrown out in the trash. When you look at that, in the face of what they’re trying to do right now, in terms of disenfranchising our voters in Georgia, and really across the country, it’s so important now that we all get on one accord, and we cannot do that when we don’t have the Spirit of Truth.
Tammy Reese: Other than being a media veteran, and powerhouse media professional, you’re also a humanitarian. What inspired you to get into causes of domestic violence and adoption?
Jasmine Sanders: Adoption because I was adopted. Foster care, because I was in the foster care system, domestic violence, because I, like many women, have been in situations where you were a part of domestic violence, but you didn’t know what to call it that. We thought that was a relationship. Yeah, he’s going to punch me around a little bit, because I made him mad. No, that’s domestic violence. Until we learn to call it what it is, I don’t think that we can collectively agree that it’s not okay. A lot of women are in situations where maybe they get into an argument with their boyfriend, and it gets a little violent. We think that’s just part of the course, he didn’t really mean it, he won’t do it again, or it wasn’t that bad.
I’ve been in relationships where we got into an argument and I have been pushed around and I was hit. I can remember for years I would never say that’s what it was, a domestic violence situation or a toxic relationship. I just didn’t want to call it that. I thought only weak women stay in relationships like that where you know a guy mushed you in the head, got mad, pushed you against the wall, and push you down. I just thought it was just an argument that got out of control. No, he should have never put his hands on me. I should have never stood for it. I should have never gone back when I was young.
I need to be open enough to tell other young women to not let this happen. If he puts his hands on you one time, it’s not guaranteed he’ll do it twice. But the odds are much higher that he will, and you don’t know how it might turn out. In the wake of all of these women that I know now who’ve lost their lives because they thought he’d never, or it wasn’t that bad, or situations where it got so bad that they not only did damage to the woman but also to the children. We really have to redefine what it is and stop trying to sugarcoat things and just call it what it is. Be ok with it, not be ashamed. I was ashamed then, but I’m not ashamed now.
Tammy Reese: Thank you for sharing that. There are so many women in denial, or embarrassed or ashamed, and need to get the help and resources available to identify or get out of those types of situations. Thanks for empowering our readers with your powerful testimony.
Jasmine Sanders: How can anyone say they’re an independent woman? But are staying in this relationship where this guy is emotionally, verbally, or physically abusive. It can be difficult, I get it, but you have to call it what it is.
Tammy Reese: What else are you currently working on or that we can be on the lookout for from you?
Jasmine Sanders: I feel like I’m trying to have my hands on a little bit of everything. I believe that, at least in my brain. I want to be able at the end of my life to say I used every bit of my brain and my body. I used it all up like I don’t have another idea in me. I’m working with my brand manager on a line of golf clothing for women because I’m a golfer. Also, I’m working on a book that my agent is pestering me about, but I’m just about finished with that. I also do two podcasts, I do one called Don’t Tell Me To Shut Up, which I love. And I do another one called Brunch Therapy. I just have so many things that I’m working like the retail outlet for women of color and so much more that I could go on and on and on.
Tammy Reese: There’s a lot of people who aspire to be a media professional, and they may not have the connections, the resources, or know how to get their foot in the door. What would you say to them to give them a boost of encouragement?
Jasmine Sanders: I would say push, push, and keep on pushing. When I got my first gig, I didn’t know anybody. There were so many things I didn’t know. The one thing that I did know was I wanted to do radio, I wanted to be in media, I wanted to do TV. So as long as you keep that at the forefront of your brain, don’t worry about all of the other things.
If you work on whatever it is that you want to be if you really want to be in media, are you reading out loud every day to make sure that you know your reading skills and your ability to read in front of a camera knowing that there’s no audience to play to? Is it on a level with what other people are doing? Are you reading just to educate yourself on things that are going on? How is your personality? Are you afraid to be the social butterfly?
A lot of times in media, you got to be willing and able to talk to any and everybody at the drop of a hat. So as long as you’re working on those things to make yourself the best that you can be, all of the other stuff will come. If you have true talent, which I believe everybody has true talent, you just have to figure out what it is.
You have to also have that work ethic, you have to have that determination of this is what I want to do. Your YES will always be louder and stronger than your NO. If you do that, I promise you, the sky’s the limit. You can do whatever you want.
Keep up-to-date with Jasmine Sanders by connecting on social media @iamjasminesanders
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Multimedia Creative and Personality Tammy Reese is an award-winning Writer and Journalist. Writing and Directing short films on social issues to spread awareness through the arts gained Tammy the Makers: Women Who Make America Award honor on International Women's Day 2019. Tammy currently serves on the Communications Committee for New York Women In Film and Television. She is also the Founder and Owner of Visionary Minds Public Relations and Media.