DJ Traci Steele has been in the radio game for over 15 years and has positioned herself to become the most sought after female DJ in the country. Steele pulled herself out of her neighborhood in Bronx, New York and enlisted in the Air Force all while pursuing her dreams of becoming a radio personality. After Traci left the Air Force, she continued her dreams and got her first gig at a college radio station and never looked back.
Sixteen years later, Traci Steele has molded her career not just as a radio personality/DJ for one of the top stations in Atlanta but also as a businesswoman. And now, after leaving the reality television world behind, this DJ is taking on her next role—co-host of TV One’s new late night talk show, “Donnie After Dark” which premieres Thanksgiving night. This mother of one sat down with EGL in an exclusive interview to talk about her role on the show, how it is working with living legend Donnie Simpson and she even touched on life after “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,” dating, politics and why the African American community should really support this new late night talk show.
EGL: Thank you so much for taking the time to sit down and talk with EGL today! Let’s get started! What have you been up to since leaving ‘Love & Hip Hop Atlanta?’
Traci: Before ‘Love & Hip Hop,’ I was a businesswoman. I owned a bunch of properties and I was into radio before I got there. For some reason, people forget that I was a businesswoman, a DJ and a radio personality. They kind of figure that I was doing it after the show but I been in radio for 16,17 years now. I had my hands in a lot of different ventures before ‘Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta’ and after the show it just escalated because I had a bigger platform to go by. Now that I have a late night talk show, I don’t want to be considered a reality star personality. I wanted to get away from that completely. And I know that’s going to take a long time to do but you know ‘Love & Hip Hop’ was great for what it was. It was a great platform and the fanbase was awesome but now I’m moving into a whole another role and I like to be looked at in terms of that.
EGL: Do you ever think you will do reality television again?
Traci: Oh no! (laughs)
EGL: You’re doing a new show with the legendary Donnie Simpson, “Donnie After Dark.” What is your role and how did you become involved with the show?
Traci: They reached out to me. TV One reached out to me and said they wanted a social butterfly so to speak. But they also wanted a slightly younger demographic to tune in. You know, I’m all about social media. I’m on everything. So I thought this was a great opportunity. And this is a co-hosting opportunity. This is just not me talking about twitter. I also get to ask questions and interview the guests that come on. So it’s a great opportunity for me to branch out and I love that Donnie gave me this chance.
EGL: How is it working with Donnie Simpson?
Traci: *Screams* First of all, Donnie is like my dad. He’s so cool, he’s so relaxed but he also wants to take care of you. Like he wants to make sure you’re good at all times, are you happy? If you want to talk about things, he wants you to be you. That’s the thing he stressed on this show. He was like “Be you Traci! Be who you want to be.” And I just love him for that. He’s embracing different personalities; he’s embracing different standpoints in life because we’re clearly from different generations. Donnie has to be one of the dopest people I have ever met in life.
EGL: What should we expect from the show?
Traci: FUN! Listen…not just because I got paid (Laughs) to be on there. I really enjoyed filming. I really had a lot of fun. Because a lot of the guests had me laughing and we also touched on social issues and touched on what’s going on in the community. I really appreciate those episodes where we talked about the black community and where our challenges are and what we’re facing and how we really feel because a lot of times in the media that’s not portrayed. A lot of times they just make it seem like we’re violent racists who are just shooting in the community all the time and that’s it, and that’s all you really see on the broad scale, but with this we really get to sit down and discuss what African Americans are going through with police brutality, but for the most part…it’s just a lot of fun and we really enjoyed ourselves filming. We had some great guests, some great performers. It’s music, it’s fun, it’s laughter, it’s a little bit of politics, it’s black community and it’s love.
EGL: What are your thoughts about Donald Trump becoming our 45th president?
Traci: There’s nothing we can do about it. I didn’t vote for him, clearly. It can either go one of two ways. He can either do well as President and we say, “Thank God, we were so concerned and so worried that he wouldn’t do a great job.” Or, he can fail and we can say, “See! I told you so!” and four years from now we won’t elect him as our President. So, those are the only two ways it could go right now. And I want to be more on the optimistic side to believe even though he’s a little crazy and running around town grabbing pu**ies, maybe he’ll do something positive for the economy, increasing jobs as he said he was going to do and bring back jobs to America. So I’m going to stay optimistic and think Maybe Donald will do a good job.
EGL: Switching gears, let’s get into your personal life a little bit. Are you dating right now? What are you looking for in a man?
Traci: ummmmm….I’m going on dinner dates every now and then. I’m not in a relationship but I do go on dinner dates now and then with someone. And I’m looking for someone who is secure in himself and secure in what I do because sometimes it gets a little tough, I’ve seen men in previous years, they didn’t want their woman to be more successful than them which is shocking but they were honest about it. So I need to find someone who is secure in my position and with what I do as well as be secure with himself. So just a basic guy, a great guy who is sweet, caring, loving and who accepts my son as his own and treats him as his own. You can throw in tall and sexy (laughs) tall and sexy works…
EGL: We also want to know what’s your favorite song right now? Favorite artist?
Traci: YFN Lucci…*starts singing* I woke up feeling like a boss! (laughs) THAT IS MY ANTHEM!!!! I live and breathe that song. He made a hit with that song! Of course, Ro James because we go way back, so I’m going to support him. I’m loving Drake right now because he’s singing his a** off. Everybody thinks he’s a rapper but he’s a singer. I’m liking a lot of the new artists coming out. I like 21 Savage; I think he’s pretty dope.
EGL: Make sure you tune into “Donnie After Dark.” Traci let us know if we can expect any surprises on the series premiere.
Traci: No surprises. ( laughs) I just want everybody to watch and I think it’s perfect for Thanksgiving night because you’re going to eat up a storm, you gonna catch the itis, you gonna lay on the couch and you can watch “Unsung” and right after, we come on and you get to laugh with us. So Thanksgiving night is perfect. I’m excited about ‘Donnie After Dark’ coming out and I hope everybody else gets excited especially because again there are no African American late night talk shows. We need to support each other at the end of day.
We want to thank Traci for such a dope interview and make sure you watch her new show with radio legend Donnie Simpson on Thanksgiving night, right on TV One.
Written By: Jnelle Belle