Forget about the fervent front man of BET’s "106 and Park" that you have come to know and love. Sure he’s probably the only black male face on TV nearly everyday, but he has something bigger and better in mind. After seven years as Black America’s Ryan Seacrest, Terrance J is calling it quits. Now with a new purpose and focus, Terrance Jenkins is determined to change the world. Ebony.com set down with TJ to talk charity, fatherhood, and the next level in his life.
EBONY: You recently made an announcement that you are leaving "106 and Park". What brought on this decision and what’s next for you?
Terrence J: Right now is a little premature to comment about it. I think everything speaks for itself in the announcement but when I can talk about it I’ll be sure to talk with you. But lately I have been traveling a lot; all over the world. I’ve met so many different people. You go to different countries and you realize how much we take for granted. Everyday we wake up. We have a nice hot shower. When we want to use the bathroom we have a sewer system that works. We have clean food and luxuries. Women are able to get their hair done, their nails done. Fellas are able to get a haircut and shave our face whenever we want to. For me it’s all about charity. It’s all about the shave with a purpose campaign. What I wanted to do is [number] one, raise some money, [number] two sacrifice something in the name of charity. What I am doing for the next few weeks, is I am growing out my facial hair. For every week that I don’t shave my hair, I have partnered with Magic shave and The Source magazine and we are going to donate money to charity. I’m super excited about it. If you want to get involved just #shavewithapurpose. So for the next few weeks, you’re going to see me growing it all out.
EBONY: Father’s Day just passed. What was it like growing up with your dad?
TJ: My dad is my step-dad. He’s Puerto Rican. My dad is so dope because whenever you take care of somebody else child as yours, I think that just shows the kind of man that he is. I use to watch him shave. I always used an electronic razor and he always used a regular razor. So we never shaved together because it was just a different type of facial hair texture. But now I’m happy that there is a product that we both can use. I might go back home and use it with him just for old time sake.
EBONY: There are a lot of black fathers that get a bad wrap. Although there are men that are not fathering their children there are also amazing men like your stepfather that may take care or mentor children that are not their own. As a child who grew up with that experience what would you say to them?
TJ: Steve Harvey does a mentoring weekend for young boys. He does it over Father’s Day weekend. He does it with boys that are coming from single parent households. He exposes them to men and what it takes to be a man. What he always says at the weekend is that women can raise a man but you have to have men in your life to learn certain things. You can only learn being a man truly from being a man. So for all the fathers out there that step up to the plate, that handle their responsibilities, who take care of their kids or take of someone else’s kids or even a coach or if you’re someone in the community where they help other kids to be men I just tip my hat off to you and wish you a happy fathers day.
EBONY: You have been consistently seen with the same woman in the press [Selita Ebanks]. Do you have any plans for marriage and fatherhood in your own future?
TJ: I don’t know how I’m going to be as a father. I am a new uncle. So I now officially have my first real niece. So let me try to change some of her diapers first before I start telling what I’m going to do because you know I have no idea. When I start hearing that screaming and start having to change the boo boo. I don’t know how I’m going to act as a father. But the aspiration is marriage and kids, building a family and leaving a legacy.
EBONY: You have a lot of projects coming out in the next few months such as "Sparkle" where you worked with the late Whitney Houston. What was that experience like?
TJ: Worked with is a little bit generous. It was an amazing opportunity. I’ve been a fan of hers my entire life. I actually bumped in to her my first day on set. I almost knocked her down. My first reaction was that I wanted to take a photo, but I didn’t because I didn’t want to be a groupie. I thought I would have that opportunity later at the red carpet premiere. I’ll never have that opportunity now. It’s something that I’ll always remember. It’s something that I will always apply moving forward. When you meet somebody, you should just never take it for granted. We as humans in this world of twitter and social media we tear people down and we have such a tendency to give people their flowers when they are no longer breathing. So I’ll never take for granted somebody’s time. If I could go back I would have told her how much I loved her and how much she means to me and how much her music and her movies inspired me. I won’t get that opportunity again but I’ll be sure to do that moving forward.
EBONY: What is your role like in "Sparkle" and what’s next for you in your career?
TJ: I play the club owner slash greasy promoter. I have a super duper funny scene with Cee-Lo Green. We actually open up the film. It’s a lot of fun. The movie is pretty closely based off the original with some really fun new twist. Battle of the year is the next film that stars Chris Brown, Laz Alonso, Josh Holloway, and my man Sway. We shot it in France. People are going to love it. Beyond that I got some really big surprises for you guys. Right now I’m so focused on charity. I think I might take another trip back to Haiti. I even want to go to Africa for the first time. I really want to grow as a philanthropist and grow as a man.