It’s always hard for fans when the hosts of “106 & Park” change. Though AJ and Free, the original hosts, left the show in 2005, a Google search of the words “Bring AJ and Free back” will prove that some fans still have not let go. Big Tigger and Julissa filled in for a while, but in 2006 Rocsi Diaz and Terrence Jenkins settled in, and carried BET’s music video countdown for six years.
The show ended up with not two hosts, but four — Miss Mykie, Bow Wow, Paigion and Shorty Da Prince. The dynamic is far different from the casual flirting of AJ and Free or the light-hearted banter of Rocsi and Terrence J. The new foursome must figure out how to divvy up hosting duties while making sure the audience is not overwhelmed with the new names and faces.
Incidentally, one of these new hosts has local roots. Born Mykel Gray, Miss Mykie, the mohawk-wearing R&B and pop singer, is a 2007 graduate of Howard University.
“This is all new to everybody. I think all of our personalities and different swag and elements bring something different to the show,” says Miss Mykie, who started co-hosting in October.
At Howard, Miss Mykie became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and joined the Ooh La La! Dance Line for the school’s band. But she spent her free time sneaking away to small, local studios to record.
“I’ve always been into the arts, all facets of it — acting, singing, dancing. My parents placed me in a lot of different programs growing up in order to help me develop my skills further. I wanted to go to Howard University and expand on it. Learn more about the behind-the-scenes aspect of putting on productions, learn a little bit more about the business side and just become a better performer all-around,” says Miss Mykie.
Originally from Houston, she became a teacher after college, but still pursued music, gaining a following through YouTube and independent singing tours. One day her manager got an e-mail from BET, inviting her to host an episode of “106.”
“I was thinking, ‘Okay, that’s a good look.’ Me being an artist, I knew that they always had different artists or people to come in, so I didn’t think anything of it. I went the first time and I hosted and I thought that was that,” she says.
But two days later she was invited back.
Her team checked BET’s Web site and saw Miss Mykie’s profile on The Search’s page. She watched the other candidates’ video submissions and realized the contest had a large national following.
“I realized they put me in this huge competition, and I wasn’t just going to co-host. I started taking it a little more seriously,” she said.
A couple of weeks later, the producers called back a third time, telling Miss Mykie she was one of the final seven candidates.
“I would have never dreamed that I would have such an amazing, fun job. I just get to be myself. Don’t have to try to be myself, or having someone breathing down my shoulders telling me to do this and that. I just get to be myself,” she says.
She is a self-described “girly-girl,” so glamming up for the camera is a treat for her. “I get to play dress up and experiment with different looks with makeup,” she said.
Miss Mykie is excited about where she is now, but not complacent. Eventually, she plans to continue singing and, hopefully, branch off into acting. But right now, her focus is boning up her hosting skills.
“I just want to become a better TV host. I grew up singing and doing theater, but hosting is very different. I’m the one that was used to being interviewed and now here I am interviewing so many great actresses and artists and models,” she says.
“I’m an entertainer and I just want to do it all.”
She believes the independent tour, YouTube videos and teaching — it helps to know how to work a crowded room — prepared her for this gig.
“I want people to know that this didn’t happen overnight. I’ve been grinding, working very, very hard for many, many years.”
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