Lisa Evers Talks About Bringing HOT97's 'Street Soldiers' To TV
Lisa Evers has marked her territory in NYC as a leading journalist for both hip-hop culture and hard news. The Hot 97 personality/FOX 5 reporter, is well known for reporting on issues in the urban community as well as riveting stories. She does everything in her power to always bring the truth out in any hard pressing matter.
After a long lasting profession in modeling, martial arts, crime-fighting as a Guardian Angel, and of course media, Evers will now be taking the next step in bringing Hot 97’s Street Soldiers onto television. You can catch the show on Channel 5 every Saturday night at 10:30pm beginning on January 9 in the New York City area. Although this is only a four-week run, a ton of celebrities such as Busta Rhymes, French Montana, Lil Kim and more have already cosigned the show with tremendous amounts of respect.
“To me the sky is the limit, and this is a dream come true," Lisa says about the show. “If we have the support of the hip hop community, and the support of the artists, then who knows what can happen!”
The multi-faceted media personality spoke with VIBE about her influences in hip-hop, upcoming topics on Street Soldiers, and her "rap wishlist."
VIBE: Walk us through your history at Hot97?
Lisa Evers: Street Soldiers has been on-air for more than 10 years, and the whole idea of it was to give a voice to social issues and news issues that were affecting the hip-hop community. It is very closely tied to the music and culture.
How did you integrate the two brands (Hot 97 and FOX 5?) Was this something that just happened to work out, or was it always a dream of yours?
It was always a dream of mine; I’ve always tried to get hip-hop on Fox 5. I had the first television interview ever with 50 Cent, in 2003 when Get Rich Or Die Tryin came out. 50 gave me that interview based on the relationship I had with him through Hot 97. Through the years I’ve done different interviews with various artists, several times with Jay Z just straight on the fly, Fat Joe, etc.…there has been so many!
Does it make your job at FOX 5 any easier now that you’re able to integrate the two brands?
It does make it easier for me, but I think what has happened now is that hip-hop has become so mainstream. Hip-hop is such a dominant culture in America, and all around the world right now. It’s not just driving the music, its driving fashion, sports, entertainment. You see major television shows like Empire, which is one of the top ten viewed shows in 2015. You have hip-hop artists who are being recruited into major motion pictures so that they can reach an even broader audience. Instead of hip-hop artists being marginalized as just urban artists they are now our mainstream celebrities. If you ask around, many more people will know Beyoncé, Jay Z or Nicki Minaj better than a lot of these Hollywood actors and actresses right now.
How much of an impact has hip-hop had on your personal life?
I’ve always been into hip-hop. When I first came to New York I was listening to Mr. Magic with the Rap Attack. I’ve always been drawn to the music, and I’ve always known a lot of DJ’s. I’m not musically talented at all (laughs) the community is my thing, but I’ve also loved the music and the culture because it’s the culture of the streets. It just seemed like a natural fit.
Name some of your favorite hip-hop artists... who does Lisa Evers listen to on her time off?
It totally depends on my mood. It depends on whether I need to drive fast, slow, or if I’m stuck in traffic (laughs) I have tremendous respect for Jay Z, I love 50 Cent and everything he’s been able to do. I like a lot of the new artists, too. People may flip to hear me say that, but Young Thug, I think is a genius in certain ways. If you look at my ‘most recently played’ on my phone right now, but I have everything from Uncle Murda feat. Future "Right Now." If I’m feeling rebellious I’ll play Drake’s "Worst Behavior." If I want to get into a sexy weekend vibe, I’ll throw on T.I feat. Chris Brown’s "Private Show." I have respect for the artists that have been around for a long time but I really do like the new stuff too.
Have you ever caught any slack for the position you play in both worlds in reference to hard news and reporting on urban culture?
In the beginning when I was first starting out in news, a lot of people just didn’t understand it. It’s like they were thinking ‘why is she into this music from the hood.’ And also, a lot of the news I started covering was very hard, it was murders, gang violence etc… now that we’re in 2015-2016 the fact that I’ve been in the culture is a tremendous plus. There are very few news reporters who have a traditional news background, talk radio background, and have been immersed in the culture for so long. It’s just me!
Give us an overview of what we can expect watching Street Soldiers on Fox 5. What topics can we look forward to?
Our show has a lot of opinions. What we’re aiming to do with the TV show is to do what we do with the radio show times a thousand! We want to bring people into the same room with different opinions at the same time. And, we mean debated topics such as the N-word, who can use it, who cant? We’re going to talk about issues like marriage and whether or not it’s outdated. For example, the gay community was fighting for same sex marriage, and yet other generations and communities people are almost like ‘what’s the point?’ We’re going to look at political issues, social justice issues, and cultural issues that really cut across different communities. We want to hear what everyone has to say, and if we have to argue it out, we’ll argue it out.
We’re going to have a set-up package like we would do a news package; and everyone will get to see what the Hot 97 studio looks like. On radio you don’t see peoples expressions when others are talking, so you’ll get an inside look on what happens behind those doors. We’ll also have visual elements from outside sources to set up the topic. It’s going to be so exciting to watch!
What hip-hop artists are on your wish list to bring onto the upcoming shows that will be seen on Television?
Three that I already know, and have interviewed in the past, that I would like to get back on are: Diddy, 50 Cent, and Fat Joe. Three that I haven’t interviewed yet, and would love to have on, are J. Cole, Young Thug, and I want to get this guy Stitches on, I’m interested in what he has to say about certain topics.
What are your expectations for the new show, now that it is set to debut on FOX 5 for the first time? What type of impact do you want to leave on your audience?
To me the sky is the limit, and this is a dream come true. I am so thrilled that my boss at Fox 5 and my bosses at Hot 97 were able to talk and get along. If we have the support of the hip-hop community, and the support of the artists, then who knows what can happen! I would love for it to be permanent. Right now, it’s just a four-week trial run -- beginning in January. We’ve already gotten some celebrity drops from Busta Rhymes, Lil Kim, Raekwon, Fetty Wap, Capone and Noreaga and more. I think it will be great. My team and I are in pre-production, we’re in (hashtag) #CantStopWontStop mode!