Tony ‘Master T’ Young, MuchMusic VJ. Born: England
Tony was born in Leeds, England. He came to Canada in 1974, with his mother and brother. They resided in Kitchener, Ontario. He is blessed with two great parents who supported his journey.
He remembers his father being a very special man; full of personality, style and wit, which he believes his father passed down to both his brother and him. His mother, Angie, showed him a level of strength and perseverance through her graceful and elegant life’s journey. And one of his middle school teachers, as one of the people who helped him to survive the change of environment. This teacher recognized his dramatic and artistic potential when he was type-casted for the role of Washington in the middle school’s version of ‘Welcome Back Kotter,’ and encouraged him to pursue this pathway. His getting involved helped him to break the ice as far as making friends and relating to Canada was concerned.
Tony attended Kitchener –Waterloo Collegiate & Vocational School in Ontario. Along with his dramatic and artistic ability, he was an ardent soccer player. In his final year at high school, the team made it to O.F.S.S.A. This is one of his more memorable experiences during that time. Tony also met his wife Paula, during his high school years. However, he said he needed to be mature and finish his first year of College before they started dating. They got married in 1989, they now have two boys, aged 15 and soon to be 9. Tony says watching his kids grow up and celebrating life with his soul mate and the love of his life is what this journey is really all about.
He attended Mohawk College for TV Broadcasting in Hamilton for 3 years. In Tony’s words, he experienced all that life had to offer; the good, the bad, and the exhilaration of the pursuit.
Tony reveals that as a young black man in Canada, he is always aware of two things; his colour and the power of excellence that he possesses. He believes, he has accepted the challenges that are laid out before him and continues to push through with the support of his wife and family. He shares that he has come across many obstacles and struggles, but the outcome depends on how you choose to deal with the situations. Tony views racism in Canada as a chess match. You always have to keep thinking 2 or 3 moves ahead, working consistently and then allowing the creator to dream a bigger dream than you could ever imagine.
Tony says he became a V-J by circumstances. He was actually trying to become an actor. At the time he was working at Much Music as a camera man, his wife Paula suggested to him that he try doing things on air at Much Music. Consequently, he began acting out small vignettes with his camera partner Gord Mcwatters, who was working on the production side of things. After a while their work got the attention of Moses Znaimer, they were pleased about the recognition and to his surprise (timing is everything, he said) an opportunity arose. This opportunity came in the form of a weekend slot of a 3 hour dance show that was scheduled to air presenting just videos without a host. Tony and his wife seized the moment and put together a pilot piece for the dance show, with Tony as the host and submitted it. From there was birthed his very own 3 hour show called ‘x-tendamix’. “I was over the moon with excitement”.
Even through living out this amazing dream of being able to show off his acting skills, interviewing some of the best up and coming, as well as seasoned musical artists in the world, Moses Znaimer still wanted him to work as a cameramen. It took sometime before the show went to air but he tackled doing both jobs for a year and a half until he started having heart palpitations (that’s another story). Moses gave the green light for Tony to “shake my locks” as he said and reach my community. This he did with exuberance. He saw the power of the music and culture far surpassing people’s expectations.
Tony’s physician at the time, informed his employer that they had to make choice as to which job they wanted him doing; host or cameraman, but under no circumstances could he be doing both. He was officially appointed host and producer of x-tendamix a couple days after and the rest is history.
Throughout his life, Tony has accomplished and has been awarded various accolades. Some of which are a Toronto Bob Marley award, Mohawk College Alumni of Distinction award. He received a Diamond (1 million sold) plaque for the Much Dance Mix compilations, Men of Distinction Award, and Ghanaian Community Award, to name a few. He has also received countless certificates and awards for speaking to high school students and community centers across the nation.
Tony was asked if he would ever go back into Vj-ing. With a distant look in his eyes, he remarked that he had managed to interview some of the biggest stars in pop culture and he felt honored that he had contributed in a positive way. However, he was satisfied with what he had done and would not look back to that path; the world of Vj-ing is over in a sense because you would actually have to play music videos more frequently which would require a VJ to introduce and entertain, but with YouTube, that original concept is lost for now. He says it’s more of a singular journey that concerns him a lot.
Currently, Tony and his wife are working on putting into place the ‘Master T and Roxy’s Foundation for the Arts’. They feel it’s time for the youth to be embraced and encouraged in the various media art forms.