Terrence J is no doubt becoming a household name. It’s appropriate, since he was never the “quiet kid”. “In grade school I was always really active in school plays and really active amongst my peers, so I guess it kind of started there,” Terrence says. He’s been working in radio since he was fifteen, and has achieved great success in the industry. He even picked up his name “Terrence J” in one of these early radio settings. As a kid, Terrence says he was “outgoing and fun and adventurous,” but he also had an intellectual side. “I was always really into reading and books and knowledge,” he says. “I’ve always been a really curious person.” All of that curiosity and reading paid off, and Terrence currently holds a B.A. in Mass Communications from North Carolina A&T State University. He also plans to achieve a Master’s Degree and is taking acting classes.
“I know I’ve always wanted to make people laugh,” Terrence says with a smile, and he’s sure to in the upcoming film Think Like A Man. Based on the book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man by Steve Harvey, the comedy also stars big names like Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Morris Chestnut, and Gabrielle Union. The film is about a group of men and women, each in a relationship, and they’re using the book to help the relationship (not without a few issues, of course). “It’s a lot of fun, there’s an all star cast, you’ll learn a lot, and you’ll laugh a lot,” says Terrence.
But acting isn’t the only career path Terrence has taken. He’s also a radio show host, and he is one of the hosts of the popular BET program 106 & Park. “I enjoy both [hosting and acting] equally. There’s something to be said about having a voice and being on the radio,” Terrence begins. He had the opportunity to cover the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African American President of the United States. He also broke the news of Michael Jackson’s death to his listeners, and was able to give people information about the earthquake in Japan, and to tell them how they could do their part to help the country. “It was an amazing opportunity [and] I enjoyed it a lot,” he says. When explaining his love for acting, Terrence has different reasons. “I enjoy the opportunity to jump into a character. It gives me an opportunity to be very creative,” he says.
But all careers have their downsides. While Terrence credits himself as being blessed, he says that “it’s very challenging to make the transition from being a TV host to movies and acting.” He says that “people get used to seeing you in one capacity,” and that it’s hard on both viewers and casting directors when trying to put you in a different avenue. “I’ve been turned down 100 times. There might be 100 meetings before you get the one big job,” he says.
But hard work pays off, and great moments come to those who work hard and wait. “I did an interview earlier in my career for the American gangster premiere,” Terrence recalls. He was sitting on a couch between Denzel Washington and Jay-Z. “When I watched the show I looked back and I was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that’s me.’” He also notes that meeting Will Smith and freestyling with Jamie Foxx were some of his favorite moments.
Every challenge worth taking is going to be difficult, and Terrence is a firm believer in dreaming big and working hard. When asked what he would do if his career hadn’t yet blossomed, he replied, “I would be waiting tables somewhere in Hollywood, [waiting] to be acting or on TV. I wanted to do this my whole life. I took a career detour after college and I was really unhappy with it. If you have a goal in mind, don’t compromise, go after what you want in life. Dream big and never stop”
“There’s gonna be naysayers. There are going to be people to try to deter you from your goals. If you believe in your dreams you can become anything you really want to.”
To the kids who want to follow in his footsteps, Terrence says, “Education is the foundation to everything. Although you might be in school and think that certain subjects don’t have anything to do with what you want to do…it all l comes together. It’s all serving a purpose. Continue to educate yourself.” He also reminds his fans how important it is to read. “Steve Harvey and Denzel Washington still read. Denzel still takes acting classes. Continue to educate yourself.”
Fans can find Terrence J on twitter @TerrenceJ.