My name is Tyrone Edwards AKA TRexXx, I'm a blogger, TV personality and Dad. Five years ago I was unemployed, I had no children, I had never been on TV and I was a blogger.
Promoting parties came first... And then in 2007 I created 1LoveTO for the mayor at the time, mayor Miller. He was participating in the 40th anniversary of Caribana and I found out about it the night before and so I wanted to come up with an idea that would speak to the mayor's role in the city and a message that he would be able to stand behind and also a concept that I thought was cool enough to lend my face to. And so the idea is celebrating the diversity of the city, the people that make it up, the idea that we're the world in one city, the idea of really encouraging an exchange versus just tolerating people.
The city needs pride in itself. Civic pride, identity, self worth.
We always used to say that we need exposure, but we have exposure. We don't even really need it as much as we need to understand the contents of this city; like how cool and talented the people are, how much of a benefit it is to grow up in a city like this that is so culturally diverse. I feel like Toronto really needs to expose themselves to each other. And then connect and build.
FF- Who are five people in Toronto to look out for?
TE- Bryan Espiritu from the Legends League is already very accomplished but I just know that there’s so much more that he’s going to do. There’s this young girl named Killa, she’s a DJ but I just know this... she’ll do well in that, some people just have that it factor. She'll be great. Also, I love Shannon Boodram, we have great conversations, she's the shit. Oh! the modelWinnie Harlowof course! And then one more...PReign, because he’s a great rapper but overall, he’s a leader. And even though he’s a gangster he’s one of the reason why a lot of people are united and not fighting within Toronto. He’s an influencer, he’s super smart, he’s cocky as shit; he just has all the right ingredients to do amazing things.
FF- Would you say 1LoveTO was the vision that kind of broke you out of the freshmen field?
TE- Yeah, it was one of the first things that I was noticed and recognized and praised for something that came from my mind.. and from my heart. At the time when I did that pitch to Mayor Miller he told me right away you need to trademark this. And I didn't know anything about intellectual property lawyers but, you know, I sourced the information and figured it out and got it done. To be honest, that platform that I created is, I think, the reason why I even got hired on TV. Because there was people at Much following my blog and then when there was an opportunity that they thought I was suitable for they thought of that guy from 1LoveTO.
I didn't go to college with the intent or the idea that I was gonna do any of this but what I did take in college helped out. I mean, first I started out as a kinesiologist, but then when I became a student athlete I actually appreciated learning and the opportunity of going to school for free, on a scholarship for basketball. I really challenged myself and asked myself what it was that I liked... I became an English major, I took some business courses, then a lot of speech courses so I ended up declaring as a speech major, because the courses were more interesting.
The school that I was going to at the time was a private school in Michigan and they had alum that were working for NBC, and there's people that worked on Capitol Hill and DC so I thought some sort of public speaking role might be a good route for me. So yeah, they all kinda just came together in the end.
But what I learned from that was I just needed to do what I felt like doing, like what I was actually passionate about, what I couldn't really go two weeks without doing, without feeling that itch. And
once I started to follow that energy is when, I believe, everything started coming together.
Because it ultimately is who I am and what I've always been interested in. So I planted those seeds and now I'm just trying my best to nurture them.
FF- Do you feel like a freshman, sophomore or senior in your field?
TE- I think I'm a sophomore. I started off in music television with Much Music, where I felt like I was in my junior year, like I was about to graduate. And then I changed my program and went into movies with E!, so a lot like my education, I made the switch before I could graduate. So last year was my first year going to the Golden Globes and the MTV movie awards and really participating in that whole award show season and so I was a freshman, again. And now I'm kind of a sophomore, because there's still a couple things I need to do here... A part of the reason I haven't left Toronto yet is because I understand and feel the pulse of this city. And
there is no Puff Daddy of Toronto,
there is no... well, we'll just leave it at that. There's a lot to be done here.
FF- Do you consider yourself an artist?
TE- In a sense, there’s an art to what I do. And some of my closest friends want me to be a little more strategic and figure out exactly those intricate details of the art of what I do. But I just do. I just make it. I gotta do what feels right. It’s just constantly being humble and being open and wanting more. Wanting more and doing more, you know? My boys and I created this basketball camp years ago called Concrete Hoops and we started off small here in Toronto and then we went to Africa and Brazil but the idea was that we would always be teaching the older guys how to coach as well as play. So they plan and direct and facilitate and create a real infrastructure. Something that can live long after... So that’s what I wanna do with all the other seeds I’ve planted. It’s like.. I have this tattoo on my ribs and LIFE is the prominent thing that you see in big letters. And then around it, it says create... love... live... so I can keep on adding different words. I hate unfinished tattoos but that’s the one tattoo that will always be unfinished because I will constantly be adding to it. And that’s a metaphor for my life, that's what I want to end...
FF- So when it’s all done where do you see yourself?You’re 85, where and what are you doing?
TE- I wanna be in love with one woman, I wanna be in love with my children, I wanna be in love with my legacy, I wanna be able to see my work, I want to create opportunities for other people to do their work.
you can check out Tyrone's blog here and follow him on twitter and instagram.
as told to: Olivia Seally // photos: Karim Ash