Besides his award-winning performances for film, Terrence Terrell has plenty to share through music, his books and his insight into true positivity.
American actor and Emmy-winner Terrence Terrell is rising up the ranks in the film industry. And by the looks of it, he won’t stop until he has reached the top. Terrell developed a passion for the art of acting from a very young age and he has the talent to back it up. Not only is he an actor, Terrell also sings, dances and writes. DA MAN chats with the multi-talented actor.
DAMAN: Hi Terrence, thank you for having us. How are you these days?
Terrence Terrell: I’m really good. During this crazy year, I have actually been taking more time to love myself more. I have time to breathe and to be grateful for life and family.
DAMAN: Growing up, did you always have your eyes set on Hollywood?
Terrence Terrell: I knew at a very young age that I wanted to be like Eddie Murphy and Bobby Brown. I didn’t have a lot of male role models in my life, so I found my make-believe family mostly in movies and on TV. “Boomerang” was one of the first movies I watched, and I knew wanted to be like Eddie’s character, Marcus. That movie is actually the reason I went to college—Mississippi Valley State University—and graduate school—Jackson State University.
DAMAN: Getting a role on a Chuck Lorre series is a dream come true for many actors. How did you feel when you got the job for CBS’s “B Positive”?
Terrence Terrell: Of course, I was excited. But when I read over the script, I realized the character Eli really hit close to home for me, personally. My grandmother and a host of my high school friends have been—or still are—on dialysis. So, this role means a lot and to be able to do it on a Chuck Lorre series is pure magic.
DAMAN: Your character on the show is a former professional football player who is now living on dialysis while waiting for a kidney transplant. Athletes are normally these superhuman figures. How does that factor into how you play the role?
Terrence Terrell: Eli is a superstar athlete, and like most, their body is their most prized possession. So, when I am in his shoes, I show the funny side, but also there’s a lot of vulnerability just sitting in the chair getting treatment when he really just wants to do what he loves. He hides it well, but he really needs the dialysis crew to keep his hopes up for the future.
DAMAN: What can we look forward to seeing on “B Positive”?
Terrence Terrell: There is a lot of fun, laughs and real-life situations coming for “B Positive.” Everyone involved, from the creators down, are truly gifted talents. So, be ready to cry and have some fun!
DAMAN: You won an Emmy for your work on Issa Rae’s digital series “Giants.” What was that experience like?
Terrence Terrell: I call the Emmy “Jean”—my mother’s middle name—because it is truly a gift from above. That night was like a dream, from the lights to the stage. I was just a little boy from Cleveland, Mississippi, with a dream and that was enough for me, but to then be recognized for my dream was truly a blessing for me.
DAMAN: You are also a self-published children’s book author. Tell us about your book series and the story behind it…
Terrence Terrell: The “I Crowned Me” brand came from a place of hurt and depression from my childhood. I started the brand because I wanted to create a place where kids can feel safe being themselves and know that “no one is different because everyone is different!”
DAMAN: What do you hope children and adults take away from your books?
Terrence Terrell: I hope they learn that we need everyone to be their unique selves, and that we are all brothers and sisters, no matter what color of skin or walk of life we come from.
DAMAN: You’re adapting the books into an animated short. How has that journey been?
Terrence Terrell: The journey has been very interesting and I am learning new things every day. It’s a huge project to tackle, but I know that these stories will be able to reach children around the world and help them to love themselves a little more.
DAMAN: Other than acting, you are known to be passionate about giving back to communities in need. What are some of the organizations you currently work with?
Terrence Terrell: I am one of the Head Mentors for Mrs. Tina Knowles Lawson and Mr. Richard Lawson’s Tina’s Angels and Richard’s Warriors organization. We meet weekly with kids from around Los Angeles—currently via Zoom because of the pandemic—to teach them about art, self-confidence and a host of other life lessons throughout the year. I also have my own non-profit called the I Crowned Me Foundation where I personally give back to communities in need.
DAMAN: How do you choose which non-profit organizations to work with?
Terrence Terrell: I choose them with my heart. What motivates you as a person can help others through some tough times.
DAMAN: You’ve released music in the past. How would you describe your musical identity?
Terrence Terrell: My music is just another creative outlet for me. I have kids’ songs that I have created for my books, but I also have a few songs that just speak to my life and hopefully will make you want to dance and vibe.
DAMAN: And on the note, will you be releasing new music soon?
Terrence Terrell: Yes! My new single and music video “Dirty Red” will be released on Valentine’s Day 2021.
DAMAN: What is your secret to living a full life?
Terrence Terrell: Your only job on a daily basis is to be happy. I find that happiness is truly the means to a full and healthy life.
DAMAN: Now that 2021 is around the corner, what are your hopes and plans for the new year?
Terrence Terrell: I plan to do a few films and personal projects like books, albums, an animation series and also … to win an Oscar and more awards! Go big or go home!
U.S.-BASED CREATIVE DIRECTOR MITCHELL NGUYEN MCCORMACK
PHOTOGRAPHY IAN PHILLIPS
STYLING KIMBERLY GOODNIGHT
GROOMING SAISHA BEECHAM USING MVRCK BY PAUK MITCHELL AND ANDIS FOR ARTISTS MANAGEMENT COMPANY
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