Slowly but surely, 106 & Park has become the flagship show of BET. The music countdown show debuted back in 2000 and it’s been holding it down ever since. Even its main competitor from back in the day—MTV’s TRL—is no longer on the air. Meanwhile, 106 is still going strong.
The man who's been handling hosting duties (alongside Rosci) on the show for the past five years has been Terrence Jenkins—or Terrence J, as he’s better known. Like many of us, Terrence is going on a summer vacation. But unlike most of us who would spend our days on the beach sipping piña coladas, Terrence will spend his working on the upcoming film, Think Like A Man.
This of course means he’ll be going on a month-long hiatus from 106. So to make sure the teenyboppers don't panic, we got on the horn with Terrence to get the scoop on his new film, the challenges of being an actor, and how 106 would go on without him.
As told to Insanul Ahmed (@Incilin)
Hiatus From 106 & Park
“I’ll be away from 106 & Park for a month. But the great thing about 106 is that it’s a friendly show for all talents. I know with Rocsi, if I’m out for a month, she can jump in. But already they’ve had guys like Lloyd and DJ Khaled come co-host.
"I know they’ve got Dwight Howard and Lamar Odom scheduled. They’ve got athletes and artists coming in. So we’ve got all types of celebrities that are coming in to host the show during my hiatus. And of course, the lovely Rocsi. So the show will not miss me, they will roll on.
“I think everything in life is a stepping stone, but 106 has been great because I’ve been able to network and do something I love. Right now, I’m like the only young African-American on TV every day. That voice is very important to me. So when we have a presidential election, or when a situation happens in Haiti, or when Michael Jackson passes, I’m blessed to be in that position to be able to get that news to the youth.
“I’m under 30—I’m not saying being over 30 is old—but you’d be hard-pressed to find another African-American male on television every day. I think there’s some CNN guys, but they’re not under 30. 106 doesn’t muzzle me if there’s something that I want to get off my chest.
“That’s what I love about Stephen Hill and Deborah Lee, they don’t censor me. If there’s something I feel passionate about, I’m able to express my feelings and my voice. BET lets me talk about it. They don’t write the script for me. They let me say what I need to say and I appreciate them for it.
“[The future for me is] more movies and more television stuff. I want to get into producing and directing hopefully. It’s not going to stop. We’re working hard, I’m blessed, and I’m really enthusiastic about life.”
His upcoming film, Think Like A Man
“There was a book called Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. They’re putting together a film adaptation of it and I got one of the lead roles in it. The film version is called Think Like A Man. We’re shooting it for Sony Screen Gems in Los Angeles this summer for an April 6 release date. I’m really excited about it.
“The film has an amazing all-star cast. I play opposite of Regina Hall, who was in Scary Movie, The Honeymooners, and a lot of other stuff. Gabrielle Union and Jerry Ferrara—who plays Turtle on Entourage—they star as a couple. Michael Ealy, Teraji P. Henson, Romany Malco, Meagan Good, Kevin Hart, Gary Owen, LaLa, Keri Hilson, Chris Brown, and Morris Chestnut are all in the film.
“The premise of the movie is Steve Harvey wrote this book that gives women insight on men from the perspective of a man because women are used to getting their relationship advice from other women so they don’t know the first thing about how men operate. So Steve gives up the dirt in his book and our ladies are reading it and they’re figuring us out. They’re using the book against us. That all changes when the men end up finding the book themselves.
“I play Michael. Michael is a mama’s boy. All of those guys I mentioned, we’re all best friends. We end up discovering that they know about the book and then we use the book against them. So it’s a really hilarious romantic comedy. The way it uses the book with Steve Harvey is really interesting and creative. It’s going to be a great date movie.”
“When I was in college, my favorite actors were Jamie Foxx, Will Smith, and Martin Lawrence. I noticed that the common thread was that all of them kind of had a training camp before they went into feature length films.
“Martin had his own show. Jamie Foxx had In Living Color and he had his show. And Will Smith had The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. So you always need that five-year maturity window to learn as much as you can about your craft.
“When I came out of college, it was at a time when reality shows had really just taken off. So no sitcoms were really getting green-lit. There was really no work in Hollywood where you could train as an actor like that. Jobs were scarce.
“So 106 has been this amazing opportunity that’s come into my life. Stephen Hill and everybody at 106 have been amazing. It’s given me some training camp to act and they’ve been so flexible that they’ve allowed me to go off and do movies. Hopefully, in my life post-106 I’ll be able to transition into film. That’s kind of always been the plan.
106 & Park’s Summer Three-Hour Format
“We’re going to a bigger, better three-hour format for the summer. I’ll be back for [the three-hour format]. A lot of people always want the videos to be longer, but we have to cut off the videos a lot. We’ll be able to play more videos in full and get more videos on the show that aren’t just on the countdown. We’ll be able to get some more [live performances on the show] and fun stuff like that.
“I’d be lying to say that it wasn’t physically straining [to do an extra hour]. Me and Rocsi realize that some things come with the territory. When it comes to the fans, they want more music. It gives us more time to be on TV and to have fun, so we’re just going to have a good time with it.
“When people come to the show and we throw the mic in their hands and say, ‘Hey, introduce this video,’ that’s when they realize just how difficult it is to host a daily show like 106 & Park.
“You’re dealing with a live audience, a guest that’s really unpredictable, at a live pace so everything has to be on its toes. The format is always getting changed, and then you’re physically standing up for three hours a day. Sometimes six hours if we film two shows. We do a lot of pre-production as well. So it’s definitely a strain on the body. We’re blessed so we don’t complain about it, but it’s definitely a lot harder than people think it is.”
His favorite 106 guests & unpredictable moments on the show
“Will Smith is always my favorite guest. We’ve had some amazing guests: Denzel Washington, Diddy, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga. Jack Black was a great guest. The funniest thing that I’ve observed is that the bigger the artist, the more humble they are. They’re more friendly and interact with the crowd. A lot of newer stars have bigger egos then some of the vets that have been doing it.
“[We’ve had unpredictable moments on the show like when] Jamie Foxx just started beat-boxing and making me freestyle right on the spot without warning. We’ve had times when 50 Cent will come on and he’ll signal the whole G-Unit to come out.
"We had one show where Kanye was rapping and out of nowhere Jay-Z and the whole Roc came out with him. We had Nas and Jay-Z run out on stage and rap together right after their beef [was squashed]. We get these moments that are timeless sometimes.
“And me and Rocsi will find out maybe five minutes before the audience. A lot of times stuff just happens. Kanye might just give a call to Jay and be like, ‘Come by if you’re in town,’ or Swizz Beatz will just run out with Eve.
That’s the great thing about 106, anything can happen. Jack Black split his pants wide open on the show. One time, Madonna was grabbing my ass on the show. [Laughs.] You can’t script these things man.”