Exclusive: An Interview with The Kid Who Saved Vine, Terio (and Cousin Maleek)

Exclusive: An Interview with The Kid Who Saved Vine, Terio (and Cousin Maleek)

They need no introduction, but just for ceremony: Terio is a kid whose dancing you may have seen on Vine, moving his way into the hearts of everyone who's watched, as he's been credited with saving the social media network by more than one writer. Because he has moves, is why. Cousin Maleek is the guy filming them. Together, they've taken everyone by surprise, and storm. For example:

Reached by phone at their homes in Georgia, Terio and Maleek were eager to speak, but new to fame. Their answers were thoughtful and considered, and demonstrated a mastery of understatement.

Without further ado, TERIO AND MALEEK: The Complex Interview.

Hi, this is Foster, from Complex. 
TERIO'S MOM: Did you call about Terio?

Yeah, I did. Is, uh...Is Terio around?
TERIO'S MOM: Hang on. [To someone else.] Put this on speakerphone. 
 
Huh? 
MULTIPLE PEOPLE: Hello?
 
Who am I speaking with right now?
MALEEK: ...This is Maleek. 
 
Maleek, how old are you?
MALEEK: I'm sixteen years old.
 
And where are you from?
MALEEK: I live in Georgia. In Riverdale.
 
How do you and Terio know each other?
MALEEK: He's my lil' cousin [laughs].
 
Terio, are you there?
TERIO: Yes?
 
Terio! What's up man?
TERIO: What's up?
 
How old are you? 
TERIO: Six.
 
So what were you guys doing when that first Vine got taken? Were you shooting around, playing basketball, what were you doing?
TERIO: ...Yeah. At Maleek house.
 
You were playing basketball at Maleek's house? 
TERIO: ...Yes.
 
And did you know he was taking video of you? 
TERIO: ...Yes.
 
Had you done that dance before?
TERIO: ...Yes.
 
And where did you come up with this dance? Did you come up with it yourself? Did you see it somewhere?
TERIO: In the neighborhood. 
 
In the neighborhood?
TERIO: Yes.
 
Is whoever you copied the dance from, are they mad that you got famous off the dance?
TERIO: ...Yeah.
 
So, Terio, what grade are you in?
TERIO: First.
 
First grade?
TERIO: Yes.
 
And what do your friends think about you becoming famous?
TERIO: Hanh?
 
What do you friends think about you becoming famous? Do they know?
TERIO: They like me.
 
Do your friends know you've become famous?
TERIO: Yeah.
 
They do? What do they think? Are they jealous?
TERIO: Yeah.
 
Maleek, you're a basketball player, right? 
MALEEK: Yes sir. 
 
What position you play? 
MALEEK: Shooting guard, and small forward.
 
I'm assuming you saw that [the Washington Wizard's] John Wall has now done 'The Terio Dance.'
MALEEK: Yes sir. 

What was that like for you?
MALEEK: [Laughs] That was funny.
 
What'd your friends think?
MALEEK: They like it. Everybody like it.
 
Who are both of your guys' favorite basketball players?
MALEEK: My favorite players LeBron and Carmelo.
 
What about you, Terio?
MALEEK: Terio who you like in basketball?
TERIO: LeBron...and Kobe.
 
What music do you guys listen to?
MALEEK: Like, rap.
[Someone in the background yells "RICH HOMIE QUAN!"]
 
Who do you listen to right now? What rappers?
MALEEK: Yeah, Rich Homie Quan. T.I. 
 
Anybody else?
MALEEK: 2Chainz and Gucci Mane, all'a 'em.
 
What about you, Terio? Who do you like?
TERIO: [Immediately] Chief Keef.
 
Chief Keef? 
MALEEK: Yeah, Chief Keef [laughs].
 
Who else, Terio?
TERIO: ...That's it.
 
That's it?
TERIO: ....
MALEEK: Yeah, that's it.
 
Somebody said that you guys single-handedly saved Vine with these videos. Have you heard that?
MALEEK: Yes sir [Stifles laugh].
 
What do you make of that? 
MALEEK: It's a....great feeling [Laughs].
 
Makes you think they should give you a percentage of the company, huh?
MALEEK: Yeah.
 
Terio, what have you done with your newfound fame? What's come of you being famous? Anything good happen to you lately? People recognize you? 
TERIO: ...Yes.

Like what? Tell me.
TERIO: ...ASAP Ferg gonna come to my birthday.

A$AP Ferg came to your birthday?
TERIO: No. 
 
MALEEK: [To Terio] He said he was coming.
TERIO: He was coming.
 
He said he was coming but he didn't?
MALEEK: Yeah.
TERIO: Yah.
 
Well, we'll let A$AP Ferg know that. Because he probably should've come. [Beat] If you could have anybody else come to your birthday, even though you just had it, who would you have come to your birthday? Who would it be?
TERIO: [Immediately] Keif Cheef. 

Chief Keef?
TERIO: Yah.
 
Terio, what do you like about Chief Keef? What's your favorite Chief Keef song?
TERIO: [Immediately] "Love Sosa."

"Love Sosa?" 
TERIO: Yah.
 
That's a great song. So, do you like to dance around the house when you're not being Vine'd, or only on camera?
TERIO: On camera.
 
What do you want to be when you grow up?
TERIO: [Considers this.] A rapper.
 
Really?
TERIO: Yeah.
 
Have you written any rhymes yet? Have you tried rapping yet?
TERIO: Yeah.
 
You have? Could you rap for us a little?
TERIO: HANH?
 
Could you rap for me a little?
[Muffled sounds over the phone. Maleek asks Terio 'Can you rap?' Terio giggles.]

Okay, we'll circle back to that. Maleek, you there? What have your friends thought of all of this?
MALEEK: They like it. They just laugh at me, that's all.
 
Has anybody approached you, any of your friends, and told you that they saw you and Terio in their Facebook feed, or Tweeted out by someone on Twitter?
MALEEK: Yeah, a lot of people are seein'. I even met, ah, the owner of a T.G.I. Fridays in Virginia, and they gave me free meals.
 
You guys deserve more than free meals for your contributions to the world. You guys gonna keep taking videos?
MALEEK: Yeah.
 
And so, how're you guys related?
MALEEK: That's my lil' cousin.
 
Is there like, a parent's sister's son or something? 
MALEEK: Nah, we like...he like, stay next door to me.
 
Ah, okay. This interview's gonna go out to a lot of people. Anything you want to tell the world about yourselves?
MALEEK: Ah, let's see....We just trying to get Lil' Terio out here. [Terio makes some indiscernable noise in the background. Maleek laughs.
 
What's next for Terio? Is he gonna to get out there?
MALEEK: You tryin' to get out in the world, Terio? Get your own show? Yeah, he'd like that.
 
 
Well, we're all big fans, and we appreciate the time you've taken to talk to us. Hey Terio?
MALEEK: Terio! Here.
TERIO: Yeah?
 
Terio, is there anything you'd like to tell the world?
TERIO: HANH?
 
If you could say anything to the entire world right now, what would you say? 
TERIO: HANH?
 
If you could say anything—anything!—to the entire world right now, millions of people, what would you say? 
TERIO: [Long pause, thenOOH, KILLEM! OOH, KILLEM! OOOOOOOOOHHHH!
 
One more question for you guys. Favorite pair of kicks?
MALEEK: My favorite pair?....KD5's.
 
What about Terio?
TERIO: [Immediately] LeBron's!
 
Good enough for us. Thank you guys.
MALEEK: Thank you.
TERIO: BYE!
 
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