“We must be supporting younger artists. How to guide the younger generation and use their gifts. To push culture forward, to say something positive, to move the needle back where it’s supposed to go. Dr. King understood that. He supported artists throughout the whole civil rights movement because he understood we had a voice, that people listen to us, that we were able to move a nation,” said Keynote Speaker Terrance C. Carson at LCCC’s annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The event “Living The Dream” was set up by the Student Senate and was accompanied with music from the Lydian Jazz Band on Jan. 29.
Carson is an actor, voice-over actor, singer and dancer. He is most known for his role as Kyle Barker in the sitcom television show “Living Single” (1993-1998) and Mace Windu on “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (2008-2015). Carson started off doing music but each opportunity he took advantage of kept leading to more. “I started with music. Music led to dance and theater. Theater led to film and television so it was all just a progression,” Carson stated. “Growing up we all were Michael Jackson fans. Everyone wanted to be Michael. When I was younger I would sing in bands and sing his songs until my voice changed. So that wasn’t happening any more.” Even though he may have stopped singing classical Michael Jackson songs, that did not stop his music career. “I got two albums out. The latest one is called T.C. Carson: Live in Beverly Hills and there is an all original album, that is the first one, and that one is called Truth.” Both albums are now currently available on all streaming platforms.
Carson had role models he molded his career path around because of their work ethic and how they were able to do many things. “Ben Vereen who was a theater, dancer and singer. André De Shields was another one who was able to do everything and I think that’s what I saw more than anything. It was possible to be able to sing, dance and act. You just didn’t have to do one thing. You can do all three.” Ben Vereen is remembered for his role as Chicken George in the ground breaking miniseries “Roots” (1977) and won a Tony as Best Actor in a Musical as Pippin in the Broadway
musical “Pippin”. André De Shields is profoundly known for his huge role as The Wiz in “The Wiz” (1983).“The biggest thing people see is that you don’t have to do just one thing. You can do more than one thing and kinda be successful at the things you love to do.”
“Living Single was the biggest break. I have done a couple TV shows before that and had been doing music and stuff but Living Single was the biggest break. It provided me a platform to reach a wider audience of people,” said Carson on his reflection of what was the biggest moment in his productive endured career. “Being part of a show (Living Single) that was culturally relevant; that was able to show us in a different light. It was kind of like the Cosby Show when it first came out. We didn’t see that kind of family before so now we understood that those families do exist and the families who were like that were like yea that’s my family. So to be on a show where people go ‘Wow! those black people do exist. I got someone like Khadijah (Queen Latifah), I know someone like Kyle.’ It makes it tangible and it makes it aspirational for my community.”
“Inspire some young people on their journey,” said Carson on what his presence and message is here. “Having conversations like this. Going to colleges. Hopefully starting to work with people in the jazz band so that they can get my knowledge and I can feed off of what they are bringing. The thing about it is when you hang around old people, you get old. But when you make sure you have young people in your life they keep you abreast, they keep you current, they help you with vitality. I love hanging out with younger people and hopefully I can impart some type of wisdom to them that can help them,” he continued. To his surprise he found out he has also inspired his generation as well. “The brother who played bass in the band( Lydian Jazz Band). He said he watched me and he dealt with women differently because of how I dealt with the girls on the show. He dressed differently because of how I dressed on the show. It made him inspired to be better, which is what I wanted.”
Carson wants to not only inspire the upcoming generation, but also lead them to where they want to be. “We see people on our phones and on TV all the time but very rarely do we get the chance to sit across from somebody that we have been watching and actually have a conversation with them. So I think it’s important to have those moments with young people and young artists,” said Carson on how significant it is for role models to talk to the youth.
“Open up the door so we can have a real conversation about life and about how to move forward. What can help you and what can be a detriment to you. We lived it. We have the experience that you’re gonna have. So in order to help you, we have a conversation. Young people have to be willing and open enough to receive a conversation and older people have to be able to talk to them in a way that they’ll hear. That’s a problem too. We have to be able to speak the language.”