*Media personality Rocsi Diaz is best known as the former co-host of BET’s music show “106 & Park,” where she reached 85 million homes worldwide during her time on the hit series.
She has since gone to host “The Daily Share,” “Dating Naked,” “Behind The Movie,” “People TV’s Chatter” and most recently the new reality series, “Canonball“.
“Cannonball” is a 10-episode competition series that features contestants from all across America facing off in one of the biggest, wettest, slippery-est water sports competitions ever created. From sliding off a 100-foot waterslide to rocketing off one of the world’s fastest drop towers, contestants battle a variety of water obstacles to win a $10K cash prize, the press release states.
“If you haven’t seen Cannonball yet, you’re really, really missing out on some of the most hilarious facial expressions you’ve ever seen in television history. Cannonball’s a lot of fun. It is the biggest, wettest, wildest water competition show that you’ve ever witnessed on television,” Diaz tells EURweb.com. “We have an 80 foot mega slide, 80 feet up in the air, it’s so crazy and this thing can launch you 70 to 60 feet across our Cannonball Bay. It’s absolutely insane. But most importantly right now, it’s just the show that you want to watch right now with your family and have a good break away from the crazy reality that we’re living in today.”
Is there a memorable contestant or episode that was the most fun filming?
Every day was literally a surprise for us because we had no idea what was going to happen with the stars of our show, who are really our contestants. They come from all walks of life, all over the world. We had a pineapple enthusiast. We had a guy that had two cats at home and he called himself the cat daddy. The personalities on the show are hilarious. I remember we had one guy who wanted to win the $10,000 just so he could buy an engagement ring for his fiancé. There’s different stories and different people that you root for each and every episode.
Talk about your connection with game shows. My mom is a game show fanatic. She loves to watch the Game Show Network, but what say you? Are you a fan?
I’ve always been a fan of big competition shows. It’s always been on my vision board to be able to host and be a part of a big competition show as well. When this came around for the opportunity, I thought it was absolutely amazing. And then of course working with Mike, The Miz, and our sideline reporter, Simon Gibson, it really is an overall powerhouse team. The USA network, they’re known to bring great family content and it’s been a lot of fun to be able to be collaborating in such a great project with them.
— ⓇⓄⒸⓈⒾ (@rocsidiaz) August 14, 2020
You’ve been in the TV hosting game for a while, what’s the biggest challenge between hosting a standard pop culture/entertainment show compared to hosting a big game competition series like this?
It’s just a totally different world. I can’t even compare them because it’s just a different situation. This is so much fun. This wasn’t like going to work. We were literally watching people do belly flops and flipped in the air into the water. It was comedy, it was lighthearted and fun and it didn’t feel like work. The facial expressions that you guys see us making on TV that’s real life, there’s no scripted about it because it’s just the way you would react when you would see somebody totally cannonball into the water. It’s just a lot of fun, so less pressure. It’s just family fun.
It seems like the key to being successful at TV hosting is just being authentic, being your true self. When you take on a new hosting gigs, is it important to show a different side of your personality?
I think that the nature of hosting has definitely changed since I started on 106 & Park to where I am now at Cannonball. In the sense that we’re allowed to have a lot more personality and it’s not like that cookie cutter host that you used to have back in the day. With every new job comes a new opportunity to just bring my authentic personality and with Cannonball, that’s Mike and I up there just having fun, being silly. He’s like the big brother that I never had and just being goofy. And we give each other a hard time. We play pranks on each other. We clown each other. We just laugh the entire time. And I couldn’t ask for a better situation to partner up with someone, honestly. And he’s a professional as it is, and a superstar in his own right as well. It’s really a lot of fun to just have fun and be goofy.
With folks on lockdown due to COVID-19, do you think game shows are finding a new audience, especially competition shows like Cannonball?
I would like to say that regardless of the situation and the climate that we’re in right now, I think Cannonball is a show that would be really successful. Because it’s just that fun show that you watch with your family, especially right now that we’re all staying at home and spending more time with our family than we usually would. I think it is the show to watch. I always say to my friends, “Well do the kids see it? Do they like it?” And, when you have eight-year-olds that are having so much fun and yelling cannonball in the background, I know that we’re winning. And that’s what brings joy to me is the fact that families are really, really getting together and having dinner in front of the TV and watching Cannonball and having fun and then creating their own Cannonball parks in their own backyard with water, a garden hose and slip and slides.
— ⓇⓄⒸⓈⒾ (@rocsidiaz) August 14, 2020
Is COVID influencing the way you as a host have to brand yourself and remain relevant?
Thankfully with Cannonball, we did shoot this last year in October, so by the time season two comes around, cross our fingers, we’ll be able to go back to production as usual. But, I think that in reflection to the time that we’re in right now, I think we’ve seen some people really use their creativity, using social media and creating their own lane and their own shows. Yes, you do have to adapt with the times but that’s not just with a pandemic going on, that’s with having to keep up with the Joneses no matter what and reinventing yourself. It maybe gave you a swift kick in the rear to get the game up but yeah, I think that a lot of creativity has come out of this situation and a lot of people are really, really starting to shine as well.
How are you maintaining peace of mind and a healthy wellbeing amid the pandemic? Are you following any specific beauty or wellness tips or trends?
Well, actually, I’ve been really, really enjoying not having to do the beauty thing, the beauty routine and hair and makeup all the time. My hair has gotten longer, I haven’t put heat to it, I don’t wear makeup that much. And I’ve been more comfortable being seen out without makeup than when I was constantly always putting on the show.. I think that a lot of female peers of mine, we’ve actually inhabited that I don’t care and less is more, mentality. And I think that’s really great because we were turning into cake monsters and watching more influencers just take on more and more makeup and it’s, “How much can you go?” It’s nice to see everybody go back to their natural selves now and that’s the trend that I’ve been following, and I see a lot on social media as well.
What are some of your guilty pleasures right now? Binge watch anything lately?
Yeah, I’ve now gotten into the rabbit hole of watching my cohost, Mike The Miz’s, old wrestling moves. It’s been a lot of fun, so I have more ammunition for more jokes when we come back for season two, God-willing.
What about The Real World? Have you seen any of his season?
Yeah. I used to watch him when he was on The Real World, so it’s really funny but now, seeing him as a wrestler, I got more jokes for him now about his costume changes and wardrobe. He’s really The Miz now. During The Real World, he was still being created. Yeah, working next to The Miz is just craziness. It’s hilarious.
Watch “Cannonball” Thursdays at 8/7c on USA.
‘It’s Been Difficult,’ Says ‘Spell’ Director Mark Tonderai Who’s Holding Nothing Back
Director Mark Tonderai gets real during interview for the Halloween mystery thriller film Spell featuring Omari Hardwick and the oh so talented Loretta Devine.
“Spell” follows Marquis Woods (Omari Hardwick) while flying his family to his father’s funeral in rural Appalachia. An intense storm hits causing Woods to lose control of the plane. He soon awakens wounded, alone, and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic. Eloise claims she can nurse him back to health with a hoodoo figure she’s made from his blood and skin. Unable to call for help, Marquis desperately tries to break free from her dark magic and save his family from a sinister ritual before the rise of the blood moon.
EURweb correspondent Monique Loveless caught up with the director himself. Mark was open and honest about being black in the entertainment industry and Loretta Devine not getting the recognition she so deserves.
“Miss Loretta, she’s like on a different level.” Tonderai speaks about Loretta Devine taking on a different role from her norm, “That lady, she’s incredibly underrated. I’ve been talking to journalists and saying, look, you know, get on the back of the bandwagon for some sort of award for her because she’s a national treasure.” Mark even gets honest saying, “If she was white, they’d be respecting the hell out of her. She deserves respect and awards.”
On the television front, Tonderai continues to dominate. Directing episodic series for major streamers and networks, including Netflix’s “Locke and Key,” Hulu’s “Castle Rock,” and Fox’s “Gotham.” His directorial work on the BBC’s “Doctor Who” earned his episode the Visionary Arts Organisation Award for Television Show of the Year at the 2019 BAFTA in London.
“I think there is this kind of like, you know, racial Renaissance happening, where now people listening to our stories because a lot of us have been held back,” The Gotham director speaks climbing the ladder in the film industry, “It’s been very, very difficult, frankly, to, to get a film, I just go into TV, and I wait for the perfect storm of films,” Tonderai goes on to say, “There’s no way they’re going to hire me to do a $60 million film, they’re going to have the whiz kids that just come up from commercials, that’s the undergraduate level.”
The film, which stars a predominately Black cast and is one of the first to explore Hoodoo culture. Spell is set to release in select theaters and at-home on PVOD on October 30, 2020.
EUR Exclusive | ‘Spells’ Omari Hardwick Will Have Your Feet Clutching! (Watch)
*This Friday, Omari Hardwick (Marquis T. Woods) awakens wounded, alone and trapped in Ms. Eloise’s (Loretta Devine) attic in Paramount Pictures’ “Spell.“
EUR reporter Fahnia Thomas talked to the actor about telepathy, parking lots and the subconscious mind.
FT: Clairvoyants and tarot cards – yea or nay?
OH: Nay, I don’t get down with it – it carries crazy energy. Words carry a lot of energy so there is no way tarot cards and Ouija boards don’t.
FT: What’s the last thing you manifested?
OH: I’m good at manifesting parking spots. For years Jae (Pfautch) has said, [jokingly] ‘Omari has slept with the parking attendant.’ I’ve guessed all three of the kids genders, we’ve never had a doctor tell us. But being a poet I don’t know if you have a little bit of that prophetic gift. For sure my career…a lot of it has been manifested by my energy and what I put out but there’s still a lot of craft and a lot of worth ethic.
FT: What was it like on set working with Loretta Devine?
OH: What’s in a name…she’s Divine! Our previous relationship working on Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls” connected us. Both of us come from [the theater world] and we have a level of respect for one another. It’s a beautiful thing to say you love someone and not in the proverbial [adolescent] ‘love you! Mean it!’ We were really on some like, ‘Yo, I love you!’ Her family was there and my family was there in South Africa. It was a big deal.
FT: What are your thoughts about fans who won’t let you get away from your James ‘Ghost’ St Patrick character?
OH: The subconscious is a very deep thing. Subconsciously we as a people [God bless us] aren’t as aware of how much we have needed to matter. I don’t get the same thing from my African, Haitian, Canadian or white fans. The fans who look like you and I…remind me of what we’ve had to endure [in America]…I think it comes from the fact they’ve never seen a person – no slight to what Wesley Snipes did for Nino Brown in “New Jack City” – who was such an anti-hero, hero. Ghost was loving, doting, a killer and a dreamer but he looked cool doing it. We made a white guy look like the bad guy…I guess, I nailed it enough to make people go so far subconsciously…why would we want to let him go? I forgive it. Does it frustrate me? Hell, yeah! But I forgive it!
For more details about “Spell” follow #watchspell or click here.
Sammie Talks Hosting HBCU Virtual Event ‘We Are The Culture’
*Urban One kicked off their exclusive virtual HBCU experience called One Yard. Bringing HBCU students, alumni, and fans a month to remember. With celebs such as Sammie, Lance Gross, and Keisha Knight Pulliam celebrating being black, young, and gifted.
EURweb correspondent Monique Loveless caught up with Sammie to talk to him about hosting One Yard’s Battle of the Beats, his new candle collection, and the new music he’s working on.
“We’re so powerful. We’re so excellent. We are the culture. We are the swagger. We are the epitome of I feel godliness.” Sammie says, “When I graduated high school I was if I didn’t return back to the music business, going to attend FAMU,” He goes on, “It’s always been a part of me to just keep that alive and to keep that energy going. So it’s imperative and I’m happy to be a part.”
It has always been HBCU’s culture to take pride and celebrate homecoming. One Yard is a platform that embraces technology and innovation to ensure that audiences are able to enjoy the myriad experiences that Black Colleges and Universities offer wherever they are. Throughout this experience, guests will be hosted by HBCU alumni all-time favorite celebrities and influencers, to bring them these exclusive events.
“Yes, a homecoming ordeal is a big deal. This is like huge, you know what I’m saying?” The singer goes on, “I don’t get excited about a lot of things. That’s the emotion that I kind of lack. But I am excited to be a part of this because I missed out on the college experience.”
I’m pretty sure this isn’t the only thing the Friend’s Zone singer is excited about. As he has officially become a business owner, opening his very first candle store in Conners, Georgia called Simply Naked Candles. He is also releasing his sixth studio album in 2021 called Sunset. In the meantime, while you’re waiting on his next album, grab your Simply Naked Candles and check out him hosting One Yard.
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