(NNPA) – Actor and E! News host Terrence ‘J’ Jenkins said that he had a great experience at North Carolina A&T University, one of the nation’s best historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and that experience is one of the reasons why he was in Atlanta to support the Wells Fargo #MyUntold campaign.
“I had a great HBCU experience and that’s why I’m here at the Wells Fargo event,” He is an alumnus of North Carolina A&T University,.
On November 10, Jenkins discussed his time at NC A&T, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and his stint as a co-host on BET’s 106 & Park with students from Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College during a town hall meeting designed to promote positive images of African American youth.
“When I was 23 years-old I started 106 & Park on BET and I wore really baggy clothes and played into that role,” said Jenkins. Many of the images we see in popular culture about African American males play into the stereotype of baggy clothing and brute behavior. However, Jenkins wanted to turn that around with his transition to E! News. “But, when I made the switch three years ago to E! News, things changed and people were inspired by that. I think it’s important for all of us to do our part to inspire others.”
The panel was held in association with Wells Fargo’s initiative #MyUntold campaign, which offers a comprehensive perspective on the African American experience. Alongside Jenkins, founder and CEO of TheYBF.com Natasha Eubanks, UNCF leaders and Wells Fargo representatives spoke on the panel to inspire students on using their social media to address cultural categorizations in a positive way and to shift the social narrative about the African American community.
Through his successful career in entertainment, Jenkins has had the opportunity to interview and work with some of Hollywood’s heavy hitters. Now, he believes its time to invest in the youth that comes after him. “I want to use my voice to help the next group of people who want to do things like I did. It’s all about giving back.”
Jenkins knows that the value of the African American experience and perspective starts within the community.
“Every time I meet someone who is younger than me or graduated after me that is pushing for their dream, inspires me even more,” he said.
From his humble beginnings of being a child raised by a single mother on welfare, Jenkins knows that opportunities to succeed come with persistence. That is why he makes it a point to stay motivated. The key to keeping a positive image for the community is consistent work. “This is why it’s important to keep going and push through all of the ‘no’s’ you will hear. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. It’s important to stay focused on your path,” said Jenkins.
The Wells Fargo’s social media campaign says to “honor the community tradition of storytelling” by creating a platform to share personal stories, history and defining moments– while fostering cultural awareness outside of the community.
To learn more about the initiative, visit www.wellsfargo.com/myuntold. Keep up with Terrence J by following him on Twitter @TerrenceJ. •