Name: Terrence Nelson
Profession: Producer, TV One & Editor-In-Chief of BLKInnovators.com
One Word That Describes You: Kingmaker
What is your Extraordinary Impact?
TV One’s News One Now is the only black morning cable news show on television, so being one of its producers affords me the opportunity to educate and inform the African American community every morning. We deliver news that is relevant and relatable to our community when no other outlet does.
Also, I teach video production skills to inner city youth in Baltimore through The Baltimore Youth Film Arts Program and Johns Hopkins University. My work there allows me to give back directly to our community. Many of the youth in Baltimore do not come from an environment in which they can afford resources such as camera equipment and editing software. Working with this program not only am I in a position to provide our youth with hands-on experience but I am also able to share my education and experience with them as well.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
Being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction is an honor and a privilege. For as long as I can remember, Black Enterprise has been a staple in my household. My parents have had a subscription to Black Enterprise all of my life and have been gifting me a subscription since my freshman year of college. With that said, any opportunity to be associated with or acknowledged by Black Enterprise is a blessing.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
Prior to my career in television, I worked in the banking industry for close to 10 years until I decided I wanted to take my life in a different direction. Throwing all caution to the wind, I walked into work one day and handed my supervisor my badge and quit. At that point, I had no other immediate opportunities available to me and no connections in the television industry. During that period, I learned everything possible about producing television and worked odd freelance jobs on film and television sets to gain experience.
Not making very much money freelancing, I exhausted my savings to stay afloat and was broke in four months. Despite not having much money to my name and having a huge cloud of uncertainty hanging over how I would pay bills and eat, I kept plugging away. Halfway through month five I was able to secure a position with TV One and have been striving and achieving ever since.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
It may seem a little odd but I believe respectful conflict is an important quality of a relationship. I believe it’s important to collaborate with people who are able to see what you do not see. If you have a partner in which you both always agree, who will challenge you on your beliefs and force you to look at things differently?
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
Aside from producing TV One’s News One Now, I recently launched BLKInnovators.com, where I interview African American innovators in the world of technology.
What is the best advice you ever received?
My mother always told me “you’re either going to make a living with your mind or your back, and life’s a lot easier using your mind.”
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
Don’t listen to anyone because everybody is scared and only you have to live with what you don’t do in life.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
Research, research, research! My goal is to walk into a meeting being able to tell the person/company something about themselves they don’t expect me to know. Also, I never take a business meeting out of need.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
Whenever and wherever I am on vacation, I try my best to find a winery, distillery, or brewery tour. I’m always fascinated by the process of making different drinks and the small nuances that affect the quality and taste of different drinks.
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
It definitely would be Japan. I am a huge fan of contemporary Japanese art and design so I would love to check out the art scene there. Also, the hip-hop movement in Japan is reminiscent of the ’90s hip-hop scene, so I would love to go check it out.
Anything else you’d like to say?
I truly appreciate the existence of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction for shining a light on successful black men with diverse backgrounds and careers.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.