Person

Troi “Star” Torain

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

Media Personality, Nonprofit President

Organization:

The Snitch Network

Troi “Star” Torain is a libertarian-leaning former executive in the music industry, media personality, trailer park developer, founder of the “Start Snitching” movement, host of Hip Hop Police, and president of the nonprofit Snitch Network.

Background

Troi Torain played in various rock bands in New York City during the early 1980s before securing a position in the mailroom of MTV. However, in 1987, Torain left MTV and took up work as a carpenter, framing houses in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. During this period, according to Torain’s website, he “found time to absorb Ayn Rand’s Philosophy Objectivism.” [1]

In 1989, Torain moved back to New York City to work as a marketing representative for Warner Electra Atlantic (now known as Warner Music Group). [2] In the early 1990s Torain became national director of Virgin Records and began publishing a (now defunct) magazine, Around the Way, which, according to Torain’s website, “led to appearances” on talk shows such as the “Phil Donahue Show,” “Geraldo,” and “Ricki Lake.” [3]

In 1995, Torain began working with The Source, an American hip hop magazine, to write a “Reality Check” column for which he developed the characters “Star” and “Buc Wild.” Later, based on these two characters, Torain produced, along with his half-brother Timothy Joseph, the “Star & Buc Wild Show” on Manhattan Neighborhood Network Television, a nonprofit public-access television cable station in Manhattan, New York. [4] [5]

In 1999, Torain and Joseph continued to collaborate, first as hosts of MTV’s “Beat Suite” program, and (in character as “Star” and “Buc Wild”) as hosts of the New York radio station HOT97’s morning show. In the decades to follow, according to Torain’s website, he appeared as a media personality on outlets including Clear, Hip Hop weekly, Pulse 87, VH1, VLADTV, Radio One, Dash Radio, Complex Media (also known as Everyday Struggle), and the Beasely Broadcast Group. [6]

In 2001, Torain became the developer and sole proprietor of a property in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, eventually turning it into a trailer park community. However, in 2017, he sold the business and property in order to “relocate to Atlanta, Georgia to explore new opportunities.” [7]

Arrest

On May 3, 2006, Torain, while working under the media alias “D.J. Star” at WWPR-FM, a New York city radio station (also known as Power105), made a series of on-air threating remarks about tracking down and sexually abusing the 4-year-old daughter of rival media personality, D.J. Envy, then employed with WQHT-FM. Soon after the remarks were made, Envy’s wife contacted members of the New York City Council, playing them a recording of Torain’s threats. Torain was fired from WWPR-FM, was ordered by police to surrender his pistol target license and a handgun, and was arrested by the department’s Hate Crimes Unit. [8]

Start Snitching Movement

In the summer of 2011, during his tenure as “Star” of “Star & Buc Wild,” Torain started the “Start Snitching” movement, a nation-wide campaign to encourage individuals to speak to their local police departments about violent crimes affecting their communities. [9] To that end, Torain started a “Start Snitching” Twitter account. Roughly a year after beginning the movement in a February 6, 2012 interview with NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate about his motivations, Torain notes that he has been a “cop supporter” for “most” of his life, and even once applied to be a Philadelphia police officer. [10]

The Snitch Network

In April 2019, in connection with the “Start Snitching” movement, Torain founded the nonprofit Snitch Network (registered as the Snitch Network Corporation) in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. [11] According to Torain’s website, the aim of the organization is to broadly promote community growth while cultivating better relationships between law enforcement professionals and civilians as reform the ways in which information is collected and used in connection with use of force. [12] To that end, the organization maintains a website featuring curated links to reports on various crimes, hotlines, and news agencies. [13]

Hip Hop Police

In December of 2021, Torain, announced his intention to start a new show, “Hip Hop Police,” and released a short trailer of the first episode on YouTube and Spotify. As of February 23, 2022, four episodes of the show have been released, each featuring Torain as host along with two retired law enforcement professionals from the New York Police Department: the first, Corey Pegues, a former deputy inspector, and the second, who on the show goes by the stage name, “Under Cover,” a former detective. Generally, each episode is oriented around a discussion on either law enforcement reform or topical news in the law enforcement community, including “Should All Drugs Be Legalized In America” and “NYPD to roll out new Neighborhood Safety Team.” [14] [15]

References

  1. “About.” TroiTorain.org. Accessed February 22, 2022. https://troitorain.org/ ^
  2. “Warner Music Group.” Music Business Worldwide. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/companies/access-industries/warner-music-group/ ^
  3. “About.” TroiTorain.org. Accessed February 22, 2022. https://troitorain.org/ ^
  4. “About.” TroiTorain.org. Accessed February 22, 2022. https://troitorain.org/ ^
  5. “About.” Manhattan Neighborhood Network Television. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://www.mnn.org/about ^
  6. “About.” TroiTorain.org. Accessed February 22, 2022. https://troitorain.org/ ^
  7. “About.” TroiTorain.org. Accessed February 22, 2022. https://troitorain.org/ ^
  8.  Baker, Al. “Hip-Hop Radio D.J. Arrested for On-Air Threats.” New York Times. May 12, 2006. Accessed February 22, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/12/nyregion/12cnd-dj.html ^
  9. Chang, David and Brandon Rook. “Radio Host Snitches to NBC Philly.” NBC Philadelphia 10. July 13, 2021. Accessed February 22, 2022. https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/radio-host-snitches-to-nbc-philly/1906991/ ^
  10.  “Chang, David. ‘Start Snitching’ Movement Still Going Strong.” NBC Philadelphia 10. February 6, 2012. Accessed February 22, 2022. https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/start-snitching-movement-still-going-strong/2106878/ ^
  11. “Snitch Network Corporation.” ProPublica. Accessed February 22, 2022. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/821993541 ^
  12. “About.” TroiTorain.org. Accessed February 22, 2022. https://troitorain.org/ ^
  13. Homepage. SnitchNetwork.org. Accessed February 22, 2022. https://snitchnetwork.org/ ^
  14. “Watch the Trailer for Star’s New Series ‘Hip Hop Police’.” OnSmash. December 8, 2021. Accessed February 23, 2022. http://onsmash.com/music/star-hip-hop-police-youtube-trailer-video/ ^
  15. “Videos.” YouTube: Hip Hop Police. Accessed February 23, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/c/STARBOYMEDIA/videos ^
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