Before he even references it himself, it is clear Terrence J has gotten his Malcolm Gladwell-prescribed 10,000 hours in. Working in radio before arriving at North Carolina A&T University to further develop his skill for reading cultural trends, spotting great music and engaging selective audiences, he’s even gone through his failures and negotiations with ambition. In fact, it was while working at in the office at NASCAR that Terrence J sought out BET’s auditions for new talent that rocketed him to a long-sought stardom.
What distinguishes Terrence J’s book is that he interprets his story through the life of a child from the Boys & Girls Club of New York, who he met while working with BET. Perhaps a nonchalant approach to underscoring the value of mentoring, Terrence J reveals the truth of urban culture’s everyman, youth without adult wisdom and infrequent mentors.
Free of judgment, prescription and elitism, Terrence J navigates his own story through the lessons he learned from his mother, considering his own fate in step with that of one of his mentees, a young girl named Tiffany. In a voice that is as earnest and unpresumptuous as the tenor that has made him such an affable pop culture fixture, Terrence J removes the fragrance of having babies with an objective retelling of the sacrifices and smarts that allowed his mother to raise a son above the statistics. In short, it was not easy.