There is no
denying that 106 & Park hosts Terrence J and Rocsi have made their mark.
While some doubted the duos ability to live up to AJ and Free before them,
they proved the naysayers wrong by giving the staple BET show a fresh new vibe.
demeanor is often happy-go-lucky, North Carolina native Terrence J is very
serious about his career and his legacy. As he expands his professional resume
with acting and radio hosting, he is simultaneously doing charitable work and
community outreach. Does he know that people have doubted his ability? Absolutely.
Does he let negativity affect his moves? Never.
We sat down
with Terrence J to discuss his recent projects in radio and film, the 106 & Park global phenomenon, and the
importance of education in his life as he shares his experiences with others.
have this McDonald’s charity thing that you’re working on right now. Tell us
Terrence J: We just got signed by the Ronald McDonald House charities as the
head of the African American Future Achiever scholarships. They’ve given out
over $29 million in high school scholarships, over the years they were using
people and they weren’t getting as many people as they should to fill out the
applications so they tapped into me to try to see if I could get more people to
apply and it’s been crazy.
I’ve been doing
these high school takeovers where I’ll go with the executives from McDonald’s
to a high school auditorium, I’ll sit down and talk with the kids for a half
hour to 45 minutes and tell them my whole life story, everything they want to
know about college and get them to apply. The rates of their applications have
just been coming in ridiculous, so it’s been really working out for both of us.
AllHipHop.com: [Is it true that] you’re getting into acting now?
Terrence J: We just re-signed with BET, so this will be my bread and butter,
and we’re expanding the show so it is taking up more of my time. We expanded to
Japan last year and within the next couple of months we’ll be in Germany, we’re
going to London, South Africa and I think the Caribbean. The show is getting
bigger, we do a separate 106
International show which is a weekly show which counts down for them the
top 10 videos across the world.
really a blessing for me and Rocsi to be a part of the global expansion of
Hip-Hop and getting out artists into those regions that they’ve never been in.
So now when I shout out AllHipHop, it aint just hitting people in New York and
L.A., now it’s hitting people in the U.K., South Africa, and all over the
place. That’s been huge for us, our radio show has been growing, we do the 106 & Park weekly countdown show
which is our radio deal through WestWood One. That’s in five of the top 10
markets across the country, and we plan on getting those other five markets by
the end of ’08. We’re all over the place with that, it’s a syndicated weekly
countdown show as well on the radio side of things.
I just did my
first movie with my man Russ Parr, he had a movie called Love For Sale. Jackie Long’s in the movie, Mya, Essence Atkins,
Jason Weaver, Melyssa Ford it was a cool ensemble cast and I was a part of
that. So I got my acting chops off, and I’m working on some new movies. A lot
of scripts that I had handed to me kind of got pulled back because [of the
I’m really just
working on the TV and radio side of things and endorsement side, we signed the
deal with McDonald’s, a deal with Disney and Steve Harvey and I [partnered]
with them over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Steve is just an incredible guy
and a mentor, and Disney’s an incredible company and they’re taking over 100
kids and 100 chaperones, 200 people in total down to Disney World over a three
gonna get to talk with the kids, and not just preach to them but I also get to
ride with them and just try to be as down to earth as possible and help them
realize their dreams. That’s been a real big deal with me. I’ve [also] been
working real close with [Diddy], we’ll have a real big announcement real soon.
I’ll also be in the Sean John fashion show which is coming up on February 8th,
so be out on the lookout for me doing some real big things with Sean John in
’08. Puff is incredible and a great dude, Sean John is real hot so I’m working
with them real closely.
We’re in the
process of solidifying this deal with Boost Mobile – they got the Stomp The Yard tour for the Greek
fraternities and sororities across colleges coming up, and I’ll be hosting most
of their tourdates throughout the spring. That’ll also be a good way for me to
get out there and talk to the college kids as well, and try to give them as
much positive energy as possible.
AllHipHop.com: Out of everything that you’re doing, what would you say is the
most fun for you from day to day?
Terrence J: I still never got over 106,
I still love it and I still love being with the people. But right now I’m
really passionate about this McDonald’s thing, because when we go to these high
schools I [get to] tell my story. I had it tough growing up, I’m a first
generation college student and a lot of people don’t know that. I was able to
come from that type of background and graduate at the top of my class and be
student body president and do a lot of other things.
So when I’m
able to tell my story, it’s not even like I’m preaching my story – it’s just
I’m letting kids know that if a loser like me can do it [then] anybody can do
it. It’s really exciting to see the look on kids faces when they realize that
they can accomplish their dreams as well. That’s been the biggest blessing for
me. I’ve been so blessed these first two years that I’ve been at BET that my
whole ’08 is dedicated to helping others, and trying to use the little
celebrity that I have to benefit others. I’m really trying to give back and
just be a positive Black role model, because I don’t feel like we have enough
positive Black role models.
AllHipHop.com: How do you get up every morning and say “I’m gonna be
positive all day”? Do you ever have [bad] days?
Terrence J: Yeah, I definitely have those days. For me, it’s a couple of
things, God has really been a big part of my life, especially recently I’ve really
been getting into it, and He’s been a part of my life. I have a small family,
but I have a strong, small family that’s really been my support system. I’m in
a fraternity and my frat brothers of Omega Psi Phi and my whole family at BET
has really been supportive of things that are going on in my life.
I’m going on my
25th birthday this year, for a Black man they don’t make it to 25. Like Biggie
said “Either you’re slanging crack
rock or you got a wicked jumpshot” and that happens in the hood so
much. A lot of times I wake up like, I’m able to make a living for myself and
I don’t have to do either one of those things, I’m just really blessed. I hope
the blessings last forever, but in case they don’t I want everyone around me
that’s a part of my life to experience those blessings as well.
I don’t really
play into none of the negative energy, when people say negative stuff I don’t
really care. When I look on the blog sites and they say “He’s corny, he’s
wack” I love it, because people are talking, and if people are talking
then hopefully they can see some of the good stuff I’m doing and that’ll rub
off on them as well. All I try to do is stay positive, and people like you and
AllHipHop keep me motivated. [laughs]
AllHipHop.com: You’ve had a chance to grow with 106 & Park the last couple of years. Do you feel like you’ve
become an institution for the show, and along that line, do you want people to
remember you with some of the greats?
Terrence J: Yeah, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be remembered as one
of the greats, but it’s not as important to me to be remembered for what I do
on camera as it is for the things that I do off camera and the lives that I
affect, and the people that I’m able to touch, influence and reach off camera.
That’s what’s really important to me. As far as any comparisons to anybody that
came before me, me and Rocsi are establishing ourselves as an institution for a
totally new generation and you can’t get it twisted.
compare Usher to Luther Vandross, it’s two different time frames and societies.
I look up to AJ & Free and Big Tigger because when I was in high school and
middle school those was the people I looked up to. I looked up to Puffy and
Jay-Z, these kids nowadays look up to Lil’ Wayne and Chris Brown. If I’m lucky
and blessed, maybe one day these kids will look up when me and Rocsi are gone
and they’ll say “I used to watch Terrence and Rocsi and they had a
positive influence on me”. That’s all I try to do. I take it one day at a
time, but I’m trying to get remembered for having more kids go to college
because I gave them some words of wisdom that they can live by. Those are the
things that I wanna get remembered by.
AllHipHop.com: 106 & Park
initially started out a lot more R&B oriented with celebrities [without] as much Hip-Hop incorporated, because Rap City was so strong. [Now] 106 & Park has picked up a lot of
slack where Hip-Hop is concerned. Do you feel that that’s been a good move for
the show, or do you feel that it’s convoluted what the show was about
Terrence J: First of all big ups to Rap
City, Rap City is an institution.
On BET that was our first Hip-Hop dedicated show, so big ups to them, because
they’ve done an outstanding job. As far as what you said today, time changes
and pop culture changes. The difference between 106 & Rap City or any
other show is 106 is truly a people’s
show. 106 is a Top 10 video countdown
show, and because we say it so much it gets diluted – but it is voted on, it is
what the people vote on. So if R&B is the movement at the time, then that’s
what’s gonna be on the countdown. If crunk comes back strong, all 10 videos
might be crunk two months from now.
We roll along
with the wave, and I think that’s why 106
remains on top of its game – because we are what the people vote for. I took a
step away during the holidays, but I just came back and started listening to
the music, I think right now as much as people want to scrutinize the industry
we got some real talented people out right now. When the artists slip up,
that’s when our shows slip up. Right now the industry is in a good space. Jay-Z
had a nice run, we got some great albums coming out, Fat Joe got a nice record,
it’s a lot of good records that are on the way and out right now. I think we’re
gonna be great, and that 106 is gonna
continue to maintain on top.
AllHipHop.com: Where do you see yourself in 10 to 20 years, and what’s your [personal]
Terrence J: You’re supposed to always be better than your father was, and your
father was supposed to be better than your grandfather was. Before Puffy there
was no Puffy, before Jay there was no Jay-Z, even the younger guys like Nick
Cannon, who’s in a space by himself. There’s really no spaces that existed
before they put themselves in the spaces that they’re in now. So for somebody
like me who has all of those people as mentors in the game, I definitely plan
on elevating myself to a whole ‘nother level, and I don’t think there are any
I’m a college
educated businessman, and I’m going to continue to do the business aspect of
things. I’ve been blessed with at least a smidgen of talent on the
entertainment side. I’m gonna continue to have fun and do the acting thing,
hopefully put out and produce some more TV shows. I found so much talent on
Wild Out Wednesdays and Freestyle Fridays, so hopefully I can be in a postion
where I can put out talent and make other people stars. I can see myself as a
hybrid between Puffy, Ryan Seacrest and Will Smith. [laughs] I don’t know what
that means, but I’m gonna be all of the above, and who knows maybe Barack one