Leslie “BIG LEZ” Segar : Rap City’s Queen

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Labeled the “Jane Of All Trades, Master Of All” – Leslie “Lez”

Segar, the VJ formerly known as “Big Lez,” has held it down as a

professional choreographer, dancer, television host / producer, radio

personality, fitness specialist, and actress. She has appeared in and

choreographed videos for several artists including some of the greats

like Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, L.L. Cool J and

Bobby Brown. Lez gained widespread notoriety during her seven year

tenure as the host and producer for BET’s Rap City after appearing on the show as a guest choreographer.

Her winning personality along with her extensive knowledge and

connections within the Hip-Hop arena, sparked the interest of Rap City’s producer and initiated an audition. She later conducted some of the first classic interviews with Notorious

B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, Outkast, The Fugees, and a host of others.

A former Queens, New York resident now residing in Los Angeles, Lez

is currently a television show host / producer, radio personality, and

voice-over talent. Her voice was featured on the popular Grand Theft Auto San Andreas

video game after she was contacted by one of the game’s producers.

She currently works with Premiere Radio Networks where her

responsibilities include segment producing and board operating for The Jim Rome Show, The

Bob Costas Show, and The Delilah Show. She also acts

as an entertainment reporter for several Clear Channel radio station

affiliates. Lez’s talents are also showcased on the nContrast television show which airs Thursday evenings on BET J where she is also a producer.

Leslie was recently one of the co-hosts of the Steve Harvey Morning Show at

her former number one station, 100.3 The Beat, Los Angeles. From her

on-air midday radio DJ stint at L.A.’s 92.3 The Beat, to New York’s Hot

97, to Atlanta’s V103, along with L.A.’s Big Boy Morning Show at Power

106, Lez has accumulated radio experience from coast to coast. She was

also the on-air DJ & producer of “Hot Jamz,”  the premiere national

commercial free R&B station on Sirius Satellite Radio. Leslie’s

at-home studio allows for extensive voice tracking & voice-over

production. She has also used her conditioning expertise to set up

fitness & healthy lifestyle programs for executives such as Sean

“P. Diddy” Combs, Andre Harrell,  and artists like Heavy D, Faith Evans, and S.W.V., to name

a few.

We caught up with Lez to discuss her experiences in the television and radio industries, her take on rappers turned actors, Rap City, why she eventually left BET and more…

AllHipHop.com: What’s up Lez how are you ?

Lez: I’m chillin’, how are you doing ?

AllHipHop.com: I’m good, the last time we crossed paths in D.C. it was “Big Lez,” so you took the “Big” off huh ?

Lez: Well we’ve tried to do that for years but every [television or

radio] show that I do, because I’ve had a relationship with folks for a

very long time, since the dancing days, it’s always “Big Lez, Big Lez,

Big Lez what’s up ?” as if it’s my first and last name on my birth

certificate. (laughing)  Then they end up having to stop tape, go

back and try to correct it, but it’s hard to edit out so we just said,

“Forget it.” I always just preferred Lez, but it is what it is.

AllHipHop.com: So you’re in L.A. now, how do you like it out there ?

Lez: Yeah I’ve been out here for quite a few years, but I’ve always

been back and forth. I’m not mad at it actually, when you’re from the

east coast and you’ve dealt with winter for a ‘gizillion’ years and in

the middle of February where it’s still 80 degrees I’m not mad…

AllHipHop.com: Yeah I feel you, now back in the day you appeared in and

choreographed videos for a lot of artists including some of the greats

like Michael Jackson, Mary J Blige, Bobby Brown, and Whitney Houston.

Are you still doing the choreography thing or have you kinda stepped

away from that ?

Lez: I stepped away for a while but if the right project comes along

where I feel really excited about doing it, then I just might you know.

Dreamgirls would have been a wonderful project for me but my

sister Fatima was already attached to it and that’s my girl so that’s

her blessing you know.

AllHipHop.com: Right, now a lot of people know you from your tenure at Rap City

as a VJ and producer of the show. You did some of the first classic

interviews with Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Outkast and I know that had to

be an incredible experience, tell us a little about that ?

Lez: I was actually brought on the show as a guest choreographer, I

was touring I think with Heavy D or Guy or somebody at the time and we

started talking off-camera during the commercial breaks. We were

talking about the tour and the relationships I had with these people so

the producer came downstairs and asked me if I wanted to audition for

the show, and because I knew so much of the inside retrospected as

opposed to just the face value of it, that’s how I ended up getting the

gig.

But in regards to how it felt to interview a lot of these people for the first time on Rap City, I didn’t get the chance in the very beginning to really watch the show because we were always on the road.  That’s when

Rap City was shooting on location.  But when I finally got copies

of the stuff, and got to sit back and watch it, other than critiquing

yourself, you’re like “Damn, I got to them first !!!”  Then of

course with the successes of any one of those artists you’re kinda like

“Awww, I’m in the history books.” So you pat yourself on the back a

little bit, it’s a blessing.

AllHipHop.com: I don’t know if you still talk to people at BET, but do you know what the deal was when they moved the time slot of Rap City to 1 A.M. a few weeks back ?

Lez: Not a few weeks back, I know that they were talking about

canceling the show over the last couple of years because the ratings

have not been high. So Rap City has really been hanging on by a

thread after myself and Joe Clair left the show.  I think even when

Tigger was doing it, the ratings started to fall because they stopped

him from traveling so much. It’s all about the mighty dollar, it’s

nothing personal, once I saw them fire Donnie Simpson I knew that any

one of us were dispensable (laughs) at any given time. The way they did

it to him, we knew our day was coming so don’t get comfortable.  You

know what I told Terrance, [

106 & Park host] “Don’t get comfortable” I even told AJ,[former 106 & Park host]

“Don’t Get Comfortable” because when they are done with you, they are

done with you. Just like with the NBA, if they wanna trade you or give

you a check and keep you moving or bench you, that’s how this business

is so you can’t take it personal you just gotta have a plan B, C. and D

ready to go.

AllHipHop.com: Your voice was featured on the Grand Theft Auto game, how did that whole situation come about ?

Lez: It’s funny, a guy I never met before sent me an email and said,

“I would like to use you for Grand Theft Auto”, I don’t know if he had

been in L.A. and heard one of my radio shows or something came on T.V.  Usually I’ll get phone calls especially like on an Old School

Wednesday [Rap City]

when old videos are on, somebody will just call me out of the blue. I

guess the visual stimulates something, but I started doing a lot of

commercials for them from my home studio and he just sent me the script

via email, I sent the audio back via email, he sent me a check and the

rest was history. (laughs)

AllHipHop.com: You’re a multi-talented entertainer, you’re a VJ, producer,

radio-personality, choreographer, dancer, fitness specialist, actress

and you’ve been labeled the “Jane Of All Trades, Master Of All”, is it

difficult trying to juggle everything you do and be effective in all of

those areas ?

Lez: For me because it’s always been something I’ve done, I don’t

feel it’s difficult. It’s like when you tell people that you’ve just

met for the first time what you do and you have to rattle off ten

things, you sound like that Hollywood story “Yeah everybody’s an

actress, yeah everybody’s a dancer” it kinda sounds like that but I’m

like “No for real, I really am !!!” (laughing) One of my biggest

dreams, which is still at the top of my list that I haven’t been able

to accomplish to the fullest, is the acting career. Even though I’ve

been doing some theater and I get these very small roles, I really have

to focus on that. What happens when I go into auditions with black

casting directors is they wanna talk about all of the entertainment

dirt, and who’s doing what, and they refer to me as “Big Lez” as opposed

to seeing me for the character and giving me the opportunity to be

believable in that situation.  As for the white counterparts it seems that I

end up going to producers directly, three, four, five call backs for

consideration, no conversation, no knowledge of “Big Lez” none of that

stuff, they just see me as potentially being that police officer, or

that lawyer, or that mother in distress.

That’s my goal, I’m like, “Damn, do I have to put an album out in

order to even be considered for a T.V. show ?” When you look at people

like Jasmine Guy who is one of the most talented, dramatic and comedic

women, she hasn’t had her own show. Then you have, and I’m not taking

anything away from anybody pimpin’ the game trust me, but then you have

someone like an Eve or whoever gets a T.V. show which is successful by

all means congratulations to them, but you know it gets a little

frustrating. So I understand how actors are upset that the work is not

there for them, or offered to them, and they’re not being considered when

they’re talented beyond belief.

AllHipHop.com: Ok well were gonna wrap it up but before we go one last question, are we ever gonna get a Rap City reunion episode with you, Joe Clair, Big Tigger, Prince DaJour, Chris Thomas and the rest of the old crew ?

Lez: You know what, they tried to do that a long time ago, but they

really weren’t trying to do that. They weren’t trying to fly everybody

out, put us up and really have it just be about Rap City, it was amongst everything else. It was like, “Maybe at the BET awards, we’ll just invite the

Rap City people and whoever comes we’ll just…” but even at the

BET awards they don’t acknowledge your talent, your hosts, or your

former hosts in that way. Over the years they’ve kissed and made up

with Donnie Simpson but there’s still that lack of respect that I

believe they never showed him. Again, I say once they did that to

someone like him, the rest of us are throwaways. I hope at some point

maybe [the reunion will take place] but I don’t hold my breath. I’m

still friends with some of the people who still work at BET who used to

work on the shows with me, that’s not a bad relationship at all. I wish

them the best. Money, I think always heals different wounds, it’s not

like I wouldn’t work for BET on a regular basis, it’s all in the

contract. You’re only as good as what you negotiate and I’ve learned a whole

lot.

Check out this video compilation of some of Lez’s workhttp://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=5837175Stay tuned for more DJ interviews as well as more tutorials in weeks to come. Also, for updates check out: http://www.myspace.com/TheKofKO

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