NewsIGNITE Real Talks: Van Lathan and Matte Babel

Sean MarcoFebruary 11, 20195 min
Canadian entertainment journalist Matte Babel (left) and TMZ reporter Van Lathan on stage Feb. 7, 2019, at Humber North campus during IGNITE’s Real Talks to celebrate Black History Month. Lathan had challenged rapper Kayne West’s controversial statements about slavery in 2018. (Sean Marco)

Sean Marco, News Reporter

TMZ journalist Van Lathan and Canadian entertainment journalist Matte Babel visited Humber College North on Feb. 7 sharing their experiences on discrimination and their rise in the entertainment industry.

They also offered their advice to aspiring journalists.

Growing up in Toronto, Babel struggled to fit in and finding friends in a diverse city.

“As a black male, I was expected to like and do certain things,” he said. “If I didn’t, I was not part of them.”  

On the other hand, Lathan, who grew up in Louisiana, was accepted by his peers and was accepting of the culture he was surrounded with.

The talk was followed by the stories of their rise in the entertainment industry. 

Babel’s path into journalism was planned and took a traditional route. Lathan’s career choice was suggested by a friend, who one day, suggested journalism.

Lathan took on the challenge. 

After moving to L.A., Lathan first started as a tour guide working for the busses that go around Hollywood. 

“I started putting myself out there, networking, posting my content, whatever,” Lathan said. 

Van Lathan speaking about his experiences in and around the entertainment industry during the IGNITE Real Talk event on Feb. 7, 2019, at Humber North campus. (Sean Marco)

He also gave advice to young journalists and how a person can become successful in the industry. 

“Always be right and accurate on anything you write, and report on anything and everything you see, starting now,” Lathan said.

He credited the movie Matrix for giving him the idea for the name of his podcast, Red Pill.

“The movie said the red pill offers the person the truth,” he said. “That is what I’m trying to do in my podcast, I am not trying to bring out a headline out of a person, I stick to the subject I brought them in for.”

Lathan cited the time when Robert Downey Jr. walked out during an interview while promoting an Avengers film because the star actor was asked a question about his past.