Master T: a community icon

If you’re expecting former MuchMusic VJ Master T to come back on television to host an urban show and interview Lil’ Wayne – think again.  Master T isn’t that type of kat and his legendary show Da Mix wasn’t a program promoting commercial talent – it was about connecting with the black community. 

Master T who’s real name is Tony Young, was adamant in providing quality programming for his audience during his 11 year run as host of Da Mix (formerly known as X-Tendamix).  It was routine for him and his wife Paula, to spend hours in Much’s video tape library searching for quality videos for their viewership.  T was on to something big, he realized the void in the Canadian television landscape and he was willing to fill it.   He knew what the community wanted and he felt obligated to produce intelligent programming and to service the then budding urban music scene. 

Although Da Mix came off the air in 2001, T until this day has a massive grass roots following and fans constantly stop him in the streets to give him props for bringing urban talent to the forefront.

 But since his show came off the air, many viewers noticed an obvious void and this became apparent to T also.

“The community doesn’t have a connection anymore.  It saddens me because we don’t have that experience.  And I’m not praising myself for being the only connection.  It’s sad when I left, that was one of things that were lost,” he said.

As a consequence, there wasn’t a viable venue for urban programming.  Executives embraced commercialized shows to appeal to tweens.

“I call it manufactured programming.  Not everybody wants to see programs like that.  People still want content…some meat and potatoes.  For a lot of people that’s what’s missing.  Television stations are just feeding what is cheap to actually produce,” said T.

And this trend is disturbing to Master T.  So much so, T and his wife have created a black focused production company to address the emptiness.  The husband and wife team is currently producing a series of pilots and documentaries to address the needs of the black community.  Their production company, Esor Productions Inc. is in the process of trying to find a suitable network to launch a variety of shows (Kiddie Jam, Every Ting Reggae, Connexx and FebonOpus).

Although Black Entertainment Television (BET) came to Canada in the late 1990’s, T has yet to see programming he’s willing to embrace.

“I would love to see the content change.  I think BET is all about hits.  For me to sit here and bash BET, I don’t think it’s worth it.  I think they could provide much more for the black community,” he said.

And this is something; Master T has always been passionate about – the focus on community.

“People in their 30’s or 40’s were watching MuchMusic religiously.  Da Mix became a connection for family.  It became a real connection for us in the community and that’s how people relate to me,” said T.

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~ by Natasha C. on November 1, 2008.

2 Responses to “Master T: a community icon”

  1. Great Article Tash! I agree there is a void in entertainment television. I find that a lot of shows just capitalize on the reality t.v. (which isn’t always reality) or countdowns that don’t show the different sides of music. It feels real empty these days. We need diversity and a connection to the culture and to the community. Some may say this is just from people who are getting older and don’t know what the young tweens, teens and young 20 somethings want, but I see these same people in these categories complain that what’s out there is all the same. BET especially lately gets on my nerves and sometimes they show the same loop of songs or cut out songs or shows and then they are on again in minutes. I wonder if anyone is really paying attention over there! Muchmusic and Flow have their issues at times as well. It’s great to see that T and his wife are trying to come up with other views of entertainment for the community to see though.

  2. I used to watch Much back in the day because of Da Mix and other urban programming and now it’s wack. Why would i watch it? Why anyone older than a tween want to watch Much? It’s not targetted to anyone but tweens. Much and other stations like this have ignored other demographics. It’s unfortunate and I hope someone will rise up and create the programming needed to address this void.

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