*Lenny Kravitz’s design sensibility is about to get a national audience with the Sept. 16 premiere of Queen Latifah’s daytime talk show. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it is the first TV show set for Kravitz, 49.
“If I scan through daytime talk-show sets, I don’t find much inspiring design,” he says. The sets he likes hail from the 1960s and ’70s — the bachelor-pad cool of “Playboy After Dark” and the mod apartments of classic sitcoms like “The Jeffersons,” which featured his mother, Roxie Roker, as the Jeffersons’ neighbor Helen.
Just before THR’s interview of Kravitz in New York, the rocker spent more than six hours at a Lower East Side tattoo parlor having a 1969 photo of his mom, who died of breast cancer in 1995, re-created on his forearm. “I think she’d dig it. It’s a tribute.”
While his design inspirations include Frank Lloyd Wright, Karl Springer and Zaha Hadid, he took his cues from Latifah in decorating her set.
“Latifah is soulful, elegant, sophisticated yet still street. She’s a woman for all seasons,” says Kravitz.
A dramatic staircase dominates the modern set with its neutral tones and bold lines on the Sony lot in Culver City. The central interview area is flanked by a DJ booth and a more intimate interview area. Latifah has dubbed the space “the Michelle Obama room” in an aspirational nod to a highly desired guest.
It was Jada Pinkett Smith — an executive producer on the show with husband Will Smith who got her start on “The Cosby Show” spinoff “A Different World” (her co-star was Lisa Bonet, Kravitz’s ex-wife and mother of his daughter, actress Zoe Kravitz, 24) — who floated the idea of tapping Kravitz after seeing two luxury penthouses he designed at the SLS Hotel South Beach.
“We didn’t want something too new so that it would be outside of what would be relatable for the audience,” says Pinkett Smith.
The single Kravitz continues to toggle between singing and acting as well. In “Catching Fire,” out Nov. 22, his fashion-designer character, Cinna, will meet a violent end.
“After my death scene, everyone’s like, ‘Oh shit, you’re not coming back!’ But you move on,” he laughs. “It was fun while it lasted.”
While filming, he also was recording a new album, due out in the spring, at night. “Basically, I didn’t sleep for about a month. But I was high off of the creativity,” he says. “That sustained me.”