In 2000, I was ready to leave The Source. I had brief, informational interviews with people who were applying for my job.
I thought Jermaine Hall would be perfect. Jermaine was working at a hip-hop website at the time but he freelanced for The Source often. I was always under the gun and behind schedule when it came to assigning stories. So calling Jermaine to give him a story usually went something like this:
Me: J, You busy?
Jermaine: I’m eating lunch. What’s up?
Me: Your flight’s leaving at 4. Write this story on Xzibit. Make it good. I’m emailing instructions and flight info. Gotta go. Bye!
Jermaine: Wait. Today?! But I-
Me: There’s a car waiting outside your office to take you to the airport. Call me with any problems. Love ya!
And Jermaine always got the job done. Even if I gave him thirty minutes to prepare.
He came in to talk to me about the gig. And after he left, I was convinced he was the man for the job. (My main concern? I thought he might be too fabulous for The Source, a place where Timberlands and Air Force Ones were the only acceptable footwear. Jermaine has always had an impeccable, classic style. Look at him up there! He puts 50 to shame!)
Today, Jermaine is the editor-in-chief of KING magazine. (And he’s still the best dressed man I know…) Launched by founding editor-in-chief Datwon Thomas, (now e-i-c at XXL), the magazine has always been known for scantily clad women with voluptuous bodies. There’s no Playboy-style full-on nudity here. But KING regularly receives more online searches than Newsweek or Reader’s Digest. Whoa.
But the magazine, which launched in 2002, isn’t all T&A. Every time I crack the magazine open, I remember all over again that they actually assign real stories that are thoroughly researched and well-written.
But yeah. It’s got a hell of a lot of T&A too.
In honor of the magazine’s 50th anniversary issue, I spoke with Jermaine Hall this morning to get the scoop behind his favorite cover subjects, his surprising celebrity crush, the actress he turned down for the cover (!!!!) and how he defends KING and their mission to please…