Change is no stranger to Miss Mykie. Before she got the call from BET president Stephen Hill to become the co-host of 106 and Park, Mykie was a rising independent artist from Houston, who had built her brand from the ground up through mixtapes and YouTube videos. Her online presence fell on the radar of BET producers, who flew the young hopeful to New York to audition for the job that would single-handedly alter her life forever.
As one of four new hosts picked out of thousands—along with Bow Wow and radio personalities Paigion and Shorty Da Prince—Mykie became the new face of urban music’s only video countdown show, and an instant favorite credited to her spunky charm and signature Mohawk (a hairdo she later did away with). While her goal was never intended to be a television host, it was an opportunity she says she couldn’t pass up.
Earlier this month, however, less than a year since taking on the new gig, BET made a shocking decision to dismiss Mykie and two of her fellow hosts from their duties, leaving Bow Wow to hold down the fort solo. While it’s been rumored that Angela Simmons, who’s been guest co-hosting with Bow for the summer, is slated to be a permanent replacement, many viewers were left stunned. Why BET parted ways with Mykie and company isn’t so clear, although speculations suggest ratings played a role.
Whatever the cause, Mykie is taking it all in stride.
“It’s all love with BET and it will always be,” she tells EBONY.com. “I support BET and they support me 100 percent with my future endeavors.”
The decision wasn’t as much of a shock to her as it was to the rest of the country, she says.
“We communicated about what was going on. It’s the TV and entertainment world and you have to prepare yourself for transitions that may come.”
Being a former 106 and Park host has its perks, though. Mykie has swooped up over 80,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 69,000 followers on Instagram. With such a massive social media platform, Mykie is making new ground as the host of Instagram’s first-ever talk show, The Tea.
While the sound of an Instagram show may give pause for many, it may not be such a bad idea. Since the application service added its video component in June, Instagram timelines have been inundated with 15-second amatuer clips filmed from users’ smartphone cameras. Taking that capability a step further, however, Mykie and her branding and management team, iYo Visuals, came up with the revolutionary idea of broadcasting a fully-produced entertainment talk show exclusive to Instagram.
Mykie says she laughed at the idea at first, but was dazzled by the visual prototype presented to her during a business meeting.
“I fell in love. I was like ‘OMG this is so innovative and creative,’” she says. “I was sold after I saw how professional it was. Everyone already has their own show on YouTube, blogs and websites, but nobody has done it on Instagram.”
With a built-in set and glam squad, Mykie brings The Tea (slang for “the word” or “the talk") every weekday at 1 p.m. eastern time and noon central time, tightly packed with carefully edited mini clips that could rival any on-screen television show. She likens it to a bridge between E! News and America’s Funniest Home Videos. Accompanying the show’s video clips are written blurbs in the caption section intended to engage viewers and add more lowdown to the topic of choice, which can be anything from the phenomenon of twerking to the controversial verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman.
The Tea, which launched two weeks ago, could shepherd in a new flock of media and marketing entities looking for ways to capture the eyeballs of today’s impulsive tech generation, always on the go. Artists like Kelly Rowland and Jazmine Sullivan have already caught on to Instagram’s useful video feature, previewing music to their fans.
As for what this means for the future of Instagram and the media space, only time will tell, but if industry analysts are looking for a peek into the future, Miss Mykie’s new undertaking is a good place to start.
But Mykie isn’t limiting her brand to the digital matrix of Instagram. She tells EBONY.com that she’s still pursuing her music and has recently signed with a talent agency in LA. She also announced she’ll be releasing a new single that features rapper and singer, Future. A Howard University graduate with a degree in fine arts, she’s also taking a stab at acting. With a new show, musical career and film opportunities in the works, this once little-known BET newbie is well on her way to becoming a household name.
As for the dramatic changes in her life over the past year, Mykie says she embraces it and has learned to adapt.
“Change is inevitable. I have grown to understand that it’s just a part of life. It allows you to learn more about yourself,” she says. “It can be scary or it can be exciting, and whether you like the situation or not you have to keep it moving and make the best of it.”
Gerren Keith Gaynor is a freelance writer in New York City and a graduate of Morehouse College and Columbia University Journalism School. Read more of his work on his website, MrGerrenalist.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MrGerrenalist.