Terrence J continues to take his career to new heights. The former host of “BET’s 106 & Park” is now an accomplished actor, author and co-anchor for E! News.
He recently teamed up with Wells Fargo to serve as host for the “My Life, My Story, #MyUntold” town hall at Clark Atlanta University. With so many negative aspects of Black life being depicted by the media, the “My Life, My Story, #MyUntold” initiative seeks to shed light on more positive aspects of the Black American community.
We recently sat down with Terrence J who shared his story of success and achievement.
The “My Life, My Story, #MyUntold” gives students an opportunity to share their stories. When discussing your story, what made your journey to success unique?
I’ve been on a grind for such a long time. I come from a small town in North Carolina and I had dreams of being in Hollywood. I got told “No” one million times. My story is about not giving up. I’m very persistent and I have strong willpower. I use that as my weapon. The ones that are extraordinary in life are the ones that don’t give up.
When you hear the word “No,” what is your next step?
My next step after “No” is to try again. Whenever you see a guy with the hottest girl, it’s persistence. He probably keeps going after her. You have to keep going. That’s how auditions work. You go into a room and you audition for a Star Wars film, they say “No.” You audition for a Marvel Comics film and they say, “No.” You then audition for a Kevin Hart movie and you get it and it blows up. But they don’t think about all the times you were told “No.” If something doesn’t happen, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find greatness.
We’re currently at an HBCU and some HBCUs are struggling to maintain these days. How can we reverse this to make sure that HBCUs remain relevant?
It starts with students and alumni. It’s important for students to keep up with academics and going after top tier jobs. If the enrollment is not there, everything falls apart. We have to give back. I don’t particularly like to talk about what I give. But last year, I did a $100,000 endowment to my alma mater North Carolina AT&T. The reason why I wanted people to know is I wanted alumni to be inspired to give back. I was like most students at HBCUs. I was so poor coming into school that all I wanted to do was be able to pay my tuition. You have to make sure that endowment grows. It’s important to give back.
I think a lot of times people are caught up in the instant impact of things. But when something is great, we don’t think about how it was initially perceived. How do you want your career to be viewed 20 years from now?
I used to need the admiration from other people to feel successful. Over the past few years, it has been about making the people who matter the most happy. It’s the personal stories that get to me the most. When I meet someone who says they got tested for HIV because of a show we did on “106 & Park” seven years ago, that’s important. Or when someone says because I started at E! they went into broadcast journalism and changed their life around. Russell Simmons use to tell me the money wouldn’t make you happy. Now that I’m in a different place, I realize he was right. You have to find happiness within yourself. I think that’s the true test 20 years from now.
For more information visit www.wellsfargo.com/myuntold.