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June 6, 2024 30 mins
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Episode Transcript

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(00:00):
All right, everybody, it's timefor the pulse. I am Stormy with
you, keeping our fingertips on thepulse of our community. You guys,
listen, I've got another special gueston the show. Thank you for joining
me this weekend. Christy Chandler ishere. Hey Christy, Hey Stormy.
Yeah, I am doing good.Welcome back, thank you. Yeah,

(00:20):
you've been here before and so nowyou're back. I'm back. Yeah,
Christy. Tell everybody, I guesswho you are, what it is you
do, all that good stuff.Okay, I'm Christy Chandler with the Young
Actors Gil. I have been inassistance for thirty three years. We're celebrating
thirty three years in the arts wherewe help children train develop their talents,

(00:42):
home their natural talents and singing,dancing, and acting and music. We
are located in the heart of OrangeMouth. We renovated a fire station and
now we are in gear ready fora year. Thirty four, thirty five,
thirty six. Wow yea, Sowe have a summer camp going on
right now. Okay, okay,Now, I know you guys do a

(01:03):
lot in the community. Yes,and because you've told me, You've told
me, and I followed you guys, I follow you on social media.
As a matter of fact, wasthat yesterday you had a program. I
saw the kids live on Facebook andthey were stepping up telling everybody who they
were. And I loved how theyintroduced themselves, y'all. It was fabulous,
I mean creative, very Yeah.They were not afraid. It was

(01:26):
not Yeah, it was none ofthat. They were very confident in their
speech and introducing, in their introductions. I thought it was wonderful, right
right, Yeah. So they lovebeing creative. They don't do anything that's
normal. You know, we areartsy. Yeah, they outside the box.
Yeah. And I saw some ofthose kids talked about how long they've

(01:47):
been with the program since they werelike ten eleven years of age some of
them and now they're seniors or andsome of them out of school in high
school. Yes, and they comeback and volunteer in the summer time.
Wow. Yes, wow. Andwe have some children that are on Broadway.
We have one of our students,Jalen Hunter, who is with the
Michael Jackson movie that's coming out intwenty twenty five. What he's playing Little

(02:09):
Marlin. Yes, So he startedwith us when he was like eight years
old. He's he's from Memphis,the Memphis Connection all over connection, yes,
yes, okay, Jalen Hunter.Okay, we got to look him
up, yes, and start followingsocial media here so yeah, right now,

(02:30):
he just finished filming in California,so he's taking a break. So
okay, so he's here now,so try to get him on here.
Yeah, you were the first personto tell me about Edie McKinny. Yes,
yes, yes, yes, Edgieevery started with us when she was
a little girl as well. Sowe try to take him early as earliest

(02:52):
eight and just try to develop themand get them ready for the real world.
Okay. So we always say,you know, we want to give
it to you before the real worldgive it to you. So we train
them and how to perform, howto present themselves, and we always say
only ten percent is talent, soyou have that other ninety and that's character

(03:15):
development, personality as well. Sothat's what we try to do. We
try to keep them as long aswe can. Yeah, so when they
fly, they fly. Yeah.I like that you're not just developing,
you're developing the whole child or tryingto help us try it with all the
other skills I saw Adele and shewas talking about talent and how you know,

(03:36):
talent can get you in a room, but it may not keep you
there if your character isn't in check. You know what I'm saying. I
thought, Wow, that is sopowerful and something you sometimes don't think about,
right, And maybe some people don'tthink about it, but it's interesting
that you would say that that's somethingthat you do at YAG Young Actors Guilds

(03:57):
right here in Memphis. Yeah,we take them on college tour. We
have career readiness programs, SWELL teambuilding, so we do the whole gamut
of trying to get them prepared.So it's not just on stage, it's
off stage too. How does itfeel, though, to have or to
know you got young people that likeEviie McKinnie that's been through your program in

(04:18):
Jalen Hunter, How does that feelwhen you see them go on to do
amazing things. I know they're more, yes, there are more, but
just knowing that they are there andthat they wanted to follow their dreams.
Especially Ebbie. When everyone was sixyears old, she used to walk behind
me and said, I'm here becausemy brother Gideon was with me. So

(04:39):
I love both of them yes,so talented they are. Oh no,
the whole family, yeah, hopefeel The dad was Tony McKinney that a
lot of people do not know.But he wrote, if loving you is
wrong with lutha, so he's asorry right. So they followed in his
footsteps. Like I said, thatwhole family is multi talented, all of
them. But whenever it was sixyears old, she would walk behind me.

(05:02):
Are ready to get on stage?I said, no, We've got
to be eight, because you know, at six you think that's what mom
and dad want them to do.But at eight they kind of know.
So soon as I put on thisstage, she sang amazing grace and it
was on ever since. Wow,oh my goodness. So you said a
lot of the kids that come throughyour program, they actually come back to

(05:25):
give back to the program. Tellme about that. Okay, So we
have a something like I said,we have a summer camp program. And
so during the summertime, the collegestudents, they all come back and some
of them who are not college students, they come back and they volunteer and
they work with our children. Becausewe do productions. Will be at the
Cannon Center doing All Eyes on Memphison July to twentieth. Okay, and

(05:48):
so they are come back helped withchoreography, they help with training and vocals,
acting skills, team building, collegereadiness, anything that they learned,
and they can come back and giveto us. Okay, Okay, Christy
Chandler, Ladies and gentlemen on theshow today, tell me how young after

(06:11):
this skill came about? Oh wow. So I used to do performing arts
in my backyard and I'm from SouthMemphis, and I used to do plays
with my neighborhood friends and my momwould make the lemonade and the cookies in
the I would like a whole neighborhoodfrom Castilia, Glen View, what the

(06:33):
morning on God, everybody would comeorange Mouth. So I would have because
we had a pretty big backyard andwe had a patio in the backyard,
so we were on the patio.Of course my dad would be on this
I look it out the window.But my mom, you know, she
did all the concessions, you know, with his cookies and lemonade. And
so I would have all my students, all my friends to come out and

(06:53):
we would put on Michael Jackson Downthe Rocks Temptations. My first play was
Little red Riding Hood, and ofcourse we didn't charge. We just wanted
them to see us because that wassomething that we wanted to do as children.
Because we didn't want to be bored. We always stayed busy, you
know, they say a itle mindthat workshop and we you know, we

(07:15):
were South Memphis, so we wouldget in some things, but we wanted
to make sure that we stayed activeand our passion was theater, especially my
And I mentioned to you before thethings that I went through. I had
a dark side growing up as achild, going through things, and that
used to help me escape the negativityand what was going on with me.

(07:41):
And yeah, I think, youknow, for creative people and people that
love the arts and theater, Ithink often it may be something that grows
or is birthed from trauma. Yesit is. And now you know,
you wouldn't think that because I mean, actors are really good at acting,

(08:03):
and sometimes it's because they've been actingall their lives. You know, they
had some and not just actors.It could be a dj Okay or somebody
you know that's that's out in thepublic, in the public sector or whatever.
And you think, man, theydon't go through anything, but what
you need to know, especially youngpeople, that everybody's got a story.
Everybody, they just don't talk aboutit, and you'd be surprised when you

(08:26):
hear somebody else's story. That's why, you know, it's difficult for me
to, you know, judge peoplebecause exactly you don't know what you know,
You don't know what people have beenthrough. Even with summer camp.
Not only like I said, whatI went through, but we have students
like I would say maybe about fouror five. The one yesterday her I

(08:48):
guess it's her grandma. She cameand said her mom just just died.
So and then we have children whohave been killed in front of their parents
and it's just a lot of traumathat they go through. We have a
lot. We have a new generation. We call it the post pandemic children,
and they went through so much.We were asking them today how old

(09:11):
were you all when you all wentthrough and when the pandemic hit and someone
said it was in the third gradeor whatever, you know, because they
were at that time. We didnot close our doors. We pivot.
We still did the internet, Imean, you know zoom, so we
were still we were doing cavenger hunts. Yeah, so we never never stopped

(09:33):
because we had to because our childrenwere going to counseling and they just couldn't
handle it. There was another outletfor them, you're right. And then
we had seniors who couldn't go tothe prom, so we had to be
real creative with that. Yeah.Yeah, that's our aim for I guess
for this year to do a documentaryon the pandemic. Children during the pandemic,

(09:56):
we had some that discovered their artists. We haven't met our art We
still have those up and in yourprogram, your summer program? Is that
free to children to come? No, it's not free. It's free to
the Orange Maule community. Okay,to the Orange Orange Mound. Okay,
Yes, we give scholarships to theOrange maun community, but we offer it

(10:16):
to ages eight to seventeen. Okay, okay, okay. Yeah, and
you you do, like you've toldme before, you do a lot of
events with those kids that you have, Yes, in that community. Yes,
we do. Like you got somethingcoming up you said, July,
Yes, July the twentieth, We'regonna be at the Cannon Center. Okay,
all eyes on Memphis. That's atribute to Memphis. Just recognizing the

(10:39):
good in Memphis, not the negativity, but the good in Memphis. Showcasing
who came from Memphis, like EverieMcKinny, like the Barcade, like our
Green you know. So we're doingand of course we at the end,
when you work with teenagers, gotto meet them halfway. So we bringing
on the hip hop against the boothsand the globes. Yeah, yeah,

(11:03):
so that's the our finalite. Yeah. So we're just recognizing Memphis. And
that's why we call them all eyeson Memphis because people want to talk about
Memphis on Negga talk about the positives. Absolutely, I say that all the
time because we always talk about negativethings that happen around here. But there's
so much positive, so much thatMemphis has so much culture, and uh,

(11:24):
there's still a lot of good thingshappening. You're talking about kids getting
scholarships and you know all the amazingthings that they're going to. They're going
to YAG, they're going to lYe, They're going to all of these
different programs all over the city.Many of them. You guys have kids
that are actively involved. Everybody ain'tin the street, not at all,

(11:48):
not conjacking. You are everybody's notdoing that. If they come by a
summer camp, they will see allthese boys. I mean it's just some
mad teenage boys. We're not talkingabout just little boys. We have so
many teenage boys and then we employedand we give them jobs. And how
did it affect you though? Whenthat situation happened in Orange Mound with the
shooting at the park, Well,it was funny. We were at the

(12:09):
Canada Center looking at college last show. So we took about twenty children from
the Orange Mound community and from differentcommunities, and we had them to dress
up. So we were there atthe Canada Center. So when we got
in the parking lot, one ofthe grandmothers called the little girl said,

(12:31):
oh, go all right now,don't go all right now, because what
had happened. And and I guessit didn't affect us, affect us because
it happens everywhere in Memphis, youknow, it's not just Orange Mound.
So but everybody was you know,of course we prayed for them and everything,
but it didn't affect, it didn'teffect, it didn't stop anything.

(12:54):
Children. We have over eighty childrenin our summer count. That's a lot
of kids. Yeah, that's alot of kids. So so it's everywhere.
We don't have that. Where weare, we haven't seen it,
you know, not saying that itwon't happen, but we have security.
We have been gated, gate fenceand everything. But it I mean,

(13:16):
of course, we were saying wedidn't know any of the children because well
we heard they weren't from the Orangeboutarea, the ones who did the shooting.
Yeah, so that I think itwas just territorial more so than anything.
Yeah, I know it had tobe tough for the kids though.
They have to, you know,post pandemic. It just seems like they

(13:37):
see more of that now than theirmule. You think it may be,
I think so, and social mediaprobably has them that way as well.
But now when you have them cometo the studio, Christie, they got
to put them phones down. Howyou know how you know I have five
at the table right now. Theparents can pick it up. Yeah,

(13:58):
yeah, we don't do that.We don't do TikTok and we don't do
our phones. Yeah, laptops.One little girl out the car this morning
with the pen of the laptop.I said, okay, that's fancy,
but you have to leave that atthe table right, because you don't want
the computer to think for you.It's creative. We want you to think,
yes, yes, exactly, Sowe don't do that. They be

(14:22):
so tired when they get home.Parents send us a picture and said,
look at my child. She tooka picture on the back seat. She
hadn't even made it out of theparking lot and she knocked out. So
they sleep from time to get home, maybe about seven o'clock. And they
said they don't wake up and eatdinner anything. They wake up the next
morning. Wow, that's how much. Yeah, because see we also giving
that good old bida ben k fromoutside their son. That's what children don't

(14:46):
do anymore. And that's why they'reso happy, because the son makes you
happy. Yes it does. Sowe have happy children. So that's why
you saw that. Because we spendsome time outside as well. Yeah,
and that's good, especially in ata time when a lot of kids don't
want to go outside. Yeah.Yeah, but they go outside. That
long time ago. We first usedto take them outside. Oh it's a

(15:07):
worm. Yeah, worms live outside. But now they love it outside because
we do non traditional sports as well, and so we so what kind of
non traditional sports Okay, so weare in the process right now of getting
our chests. So we considered thatas chess, like a chess club,

(15:28):
pickleball, yes, yes, yes, and I don't know soccer would be
considered as non traditional, but forus, it's non traditional, so things
like that. But we also havethe traditional the basketball and the football,
but we have the teams teachings,so it's peer to peer. So like
I said, we implore the children. Okay, so not only do you

(15:52):
give them an opportunity to do somethingin Orange Bound for the summer, but
you also employ some of them aswell. Oh yes, you really are
giving back to the community. Yes, yeah, yeah, yeah we do
because that's what children want, ism on n e y at the end
of the day. Indead they spendit on concessions or they spend it,
but they're just like the feeling ofheaven the money. Yeah yeah, it's

(16:15):
an opportunity for them to grow andfor them to learn how to you know,
use it properly as well. Yeah, so yeah, you're giving back
Christy And like, yes, sohow big has young actors skill become in
the community? How big is itnow? Real big? So when I
first started, I think I hadlike ten students and then it started growing.

(16:38):
And then and night No. Twentyeleven, I believe I had an
aneurysm and three open heart surgeries andI was like, I can't do this
anymore. And then along came Sabrinanor What that's my executive director, and
she was like, you know,we can grow this, so you can

(16:59):
do this. And she came inand she helped, you know, grow
the program. She's still with metoday and literally in the room, in
the room, and we just startedgrowing. And when we were riding down
the street, Lamar it's Lamar Pendingthat crazy section, Lamar Pendton Kimball.

(17:23):
So we saw this dilapidated building justthere and we went for it and the
mayor donated to us for a dollar. Oh wow. Yeah, it was
like a six hundred thousand dollars renovation. We had no loans. We did
everything grassroots. We fundraised, thechildren helped us fundraise, We did popcor

(17:48):
selles, we did concession stance sales, any kind of fundraising, but it
was all the children were involved.So they are part of the history with
that as well. And that's whywe give back to Orange Mound. Yeah,
and they've got something to be proudof it and the people in the
community. Because I love Orangebound,you do, yes, you know,

(18:10):
right around the corner. Yeah,I was in the All my boyfriends were
orange Bound Cherokee Bowling Alley everywhere,you know, So that's what we hung
out. Yeah, we love orangeIt's so historical. Yeah. Yeah.
Orange Mound, from what I hear, was where all the black wealthy people
were back in the day exactly.You know, the first black person built

(18:32):
by yeah, right, yeah,so it's got some rich history, it
does. Yeah. And then withthe amazing library they just built. That's
right, they just built the library. So they're doing some amazing things.
Is that the Old Male Yeah,the Old Male Road beautiful and it's so
beautiful. Wow, that's awesome.We got to go by and see the

(18:53):
lies. Yes, I saw andtalked about it because they were you know,
of course, talked about it onthe news, and then I saw
some things on social media and weposted some things on you know, our
stations as well about that library.We got to go check it out.
We get we Yeah, Orange Boundsdoing some see that's the stuff. That's

(19:14):
what we were talking about. Howthere's so much positive happening in the midst
of the negativity. There's so muchpositive. It's so much positive, and
that's why we're doing the All Eyeson Memphis. Let's focus on that,
on the goods. How did thekids feel about All Eyes on Memphis.
They are they're excited about it.They are very excited about it because they

(19:36):
love to perform. Yeah, sothey wouldn't care we're doing Little Red Briderhood.
They just want to get on stageand they'd love to perform. They
have the same dance. Yeah.It's something about it when you are in
you know, into acting and singingand all that stuff. There's something that

(19:57):
excited about it and excit and somethingexciting about having the opportunity to showcase your
talents. Because it's one thing toknow that you're talented, but it's another
when other people notice it as well. Right, And they love with mom
and that's mama day out there peeping. That's what they really want to impress.

(20:18):
They want to impress. And thenwe have a lot of children that
are raised by grandmas. Yeah,and they have gone through so much Falster
children as well. Yeah, sothey have being the odds. Yeah,
and shout out to those grandmamas whoare raising their grandchild out and yeah,
shout out to to y'all, andshout out to the you know, the

(20:44):
foster parents and you know, anddefinitely to the moms and dads who are
you know, just fostering the environmentfor their children to flourish and and grain.
To you, yeah, for whatyou do. You and Sabrina,
y'all doing God's work helping these babies, yeah, babies. Yeah, and
teaching them that there are other thingsto do that they you know, to

(21:07):
hone their talents. Yeah. Yeah, because they have hidden talents and they'll
be like, a way, youknow, I can do this. Always
it did helps. Yeah, theyalways have hidden talents. Yeah. We
have some students that are breaking thethirty Act. Why we have a student
now at Duke, have one goingto Howard Wind in the fall, so

(21:32):
they're they're doing things right out ofOrange Mound, right out the Orange Mound
was well, we are located inOrangebound, but I have to say we
do have students that come from otherareas that come over to Orangebund. But
still at the end of the day, Yeah, because of you, the
work that you're doing in their parents, we have we have some real good

(21:56):
parents. I have to shout outto our parents and grandparents and our fosse
parent. Yeah, because it tastesa village. It does. So it's
not just me. It's not justa brand, it's not It tastes everybody.
Now, the disconnect is when they'renot on the same page with us.
So and we try, you know, like sometimes we'll tell the child,

(22:17):
can you do this? And itmay take too long. That's what
spreading now we're talking about. Andthen we just do it ourselves and that's
where the disconnect comes. So weare very they say, I've gotten soft
as I've gotten older, but stillwe try to push them into doing it
and not just be handicapped. Yeah, because they are not going to have

(22:38):
us for the rest of their life, right right, Yeah. Yeah.
So the seniors that come back toYAG Young Actors Guil, I'm talking to
Christy Chandler, you guys, thefounder founder Young Actors Guilt right here in
MFIs in the Orange Bound community.So the seniors that come back, what
do they say about being a partof, you know, helping the kids.

(23:00):
What do they generally say? Arethey roaring to do it when they
come back and die get took awatching them because it's like they'll say,
just like when I was here andif Miss Christy told me to do something
or Miss Brandy told me to dosomething, Yeah, I may have had
an attitude, but you all justwait after eighteen and nobody's gonna baby you

(23:22):
all. So they are mimicking me. They even did a they mimiced me
yesterday and this it was so far. It's like, man, is that
me? But yeah, so theyso, so they've learned, they've learned
and persevered. So they come backto children and they talk. We do
girls talk. Oh yeah, soyou're talking about and they don't let me

(23:47):
in what, which is good becauseit's peer to peer. They're not gonna
of course, they're not gonna tellme how did this and I did that?
Yeah, so they we let themtalk to the college students, you
know. Yeah, yeah, sothey don't talk to me about things like
that, you know, things likethat. Yeah, they got to get
it out and to have that,you know, avenue because you never know

(24:08):
what some child is going to theirhome and who they can talk to or
they can't, you know, cansometimes you know, they're fickleed like that.
They may not share it with withmom or they but it's good to
have that avenue, you know,or to allow them space to share,
you know, with their peers.I think that's awesome. Right, they

(24:29):
want to talk to somebody more theirage, but they know they come to
us if they want some lunch moneyor they like that, which is good.
Yeah, but if their relationships uhhuh whatever, you know. To
with Suberanna myself, they say,I don't have a boyfriend, miss I
don't. You know, that's right, but they'll tell them the peer to

(24:51):
peer. But now when we bringpeople, they say, oh my god,
we're so glad we talked to them. So there's a lot they need
to learn. Yeah, yeah,it's a lot they need to learn.
Yeah, yeah, it is whenit kids men. But it's just good
you're to have that avenue, likeI said, because probably for me and

(25:11):
you, we used theater when wewere younger, and they're using theater,
but you're giving them so much morebecause you didn't have that with theater,
you know, I you know,just went to school and was in the
plays and stuff. It wasn't nottalking and all that, right, right,
Yeah, And so I'm glad thoughthat you offer this for kids and
young people, young women, youngmen in our community. You're giving them

(25:33):
what we didn't have. Is thatwhy you did young actors gil in the
first place? Well, really Idid when I came back to Memphis after
college and I would see students justwalking down the street. I went to
Hamilton and we used to call itthe Tracks, and it would just see
them just walking and not doing anything. After school. We used to have

(25:53):
to be involved in some extra curricularactivity. Then I found out they couldn't.
A Yeah, it was like whenI was in school, we only
paid seventy five dollars for the wholeyear for uniforms. Now they are paying
like three thousand, four thousand dollarsand so some of these students can't afford
it. So at first I wasthinking they just didn't want to. So

(26:14):
I wanted to start an affordable program. I wasn't charging death. I was
just paying it out of my pocket. So as we grew, of course
I had to bring on choreographers,I had to bring on teachers and any
things. But it's still affordable.Our price is very very We're not even
in the hundreds of a month,right, So we still kind of give

(26:37):
back. It's really a buy in. But that was why I started,
because the students could not be acheerleader or a major read or a flag
girl, or on the track teoror in the band because it's so it's
so costly, and so I wantedto give them something that they can still
participate in, Yeah, and beproud of and be proud of. Wow,

(27:00):
that's awesome. That's awesome. Giveme a success story or a story
something that you've been very proud ofsince you started Young Actors Guild. Oh,
it was so many. I knewit was so many proud of.
Oh, so I'm very proud ofthe firehouse renovation. Yeah, it was

(27:22):
like today when I was at camp. I was just sitting outside. I
always sit outside in the morning,just watched the cars pull up, and
I looked back and I was lookingat the children in the in the we
call it the engine room and theinjine room, just playing and happy and
laughing, and I was like,wow, Wow, we did this.
And that was because you know,it was hard. It was hard doing

(27:45):
it. Really. It took threeyears to renovate. Yeah, and we
renovated through a pandemic, so ithit right after we were granted the building.
Yeah, then the pandemic hit.Wow, So we were like waiting
on supplies to be shipped in orwhatever. And then when the door's open,
just watching the children just come in, have a place. Then we

(28:07):
didn't have to go to from Wewas at churches, we were at community
centers, we were in backyards,right. We were going from place to
place just asking people to, youknow, give us a place to have
Young Actors guild. But now wehave our own, and I think that's
what I'm proud of the most.I love it, you know. And

(28:29):
hearing you talk about your sister andhow you guys. You've told me that
story before, but hearing you talkabout it again reminds me of Viola Davis.
I don't know if you've met herread her biography, but she talked
about her and her sister because hersister is an actor too. I don't
know if she's still acting, buther and her sister used to do plays,

(28:52):
and she talked about how good theywere when they were little and they
had no idea and the trauma thatthey went through as children. Okay,
oh yeah, it's it's something toread. So it reminded me of your
story, reminds me of her story. Yeah, she did exactly what you
did. Yeah, it's online,it's everywhere. Viola Davis, her biography,

(29:12):
it's everywhere. It's an interesting readhow you can come from nothing and
become as successful as you want tobe. Yeah, and it will definitely
give people hope when they hear herstory and yours. Right. Yeah,
Yeah, I've always wanted to besuccessful but not famous, if that makes

(29:37):
sense. Yeah, it does.I want the children to be famous,
but I wanted it to be successful. Yeah sounds like you are. Yeah,
you are. I want them tobe famous. Awesome. Christy Chandler,
you guys young actors, Gil thefounder of that organization in the Orange
Mount community. Thank you for comingby today. Thank you for inviting me,

(30:00):
Thank you for being here. Ilove having you here, love being
here. Thank you for sharing yourstory and all that you do in your
community. Yes, ma'am and Sabrinaas well. Thank you guys for what
you do. Thank you. Weappreciate you. We do, we do.
I'm storming, y'all, it's thepulse. We got to get out
of here. But thank you Christyfor a stopping by Christy Chandler, Ladies

(30:21):
and gentlemen, young actors, Gil, thank you, thank you all right,
we'll see you guys next week.We keep our fingertips on the pulse
of our community, and we willsee you next week, same time,
same station. God bless you havea great week.
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