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STORYTELLERS

To best tell the visual story of Somebodyʻs Beloved, I collaborated with the One Family Memphis Foundation. Under the mentorship of its founder, Tom Shadyac, a team of black creative storytellers lovingly created a narrative music video to support their perspective of what it feels like to personally lose a beloved to systemic racism.

The two main characters in our story are powerfully portrayed in this video by talented
mother-daughter actresses 
Vermico and Minah Smith. 

THE MEMPHIS STORYTELLERS

Chris Dean
MALIK MARTIN
BRANDY TROXLER
CHRIS DEAN
Malik Martin
Joshua Cannon
Brandy Troxler
Elisha Jewell

Malik Martin — Director

Malik is a freelance photographer and visual storyteller and was one of the subjects of the short film Malik & Demond: A Memphis Rox Story (Mountainfilm 2020), which tells the story of how Malik helped shift the life of a young gunshot victim through the mentoring program at Memphis Rox. Malik is the resident social media director for One Family Memphis, and is working in conjunction with North Face to bring his unique perspective to their team. 

 

Chris Dean — Creative Producer

Chris was chosen to introduce Barak Obama when the then President  visited Memphis. This led to Chris getting recruited to work at the White House and chose to stay in Memphis afterwards to help grow the community. Chris is also the subject of and a collaborator on “ As I Am’: From the Streets of South Memphis to the White House and Back Again”, an Emmy-nominated short film about his

life in Memphis. 

 

Elisha Jewell — Creative Producer 

Elisha is a grad student at University of Tennessee, studying Information Science. She is deeply passionate about building community through the library system. She's also a gifted singer/songwriter and, prior to enrolling in graduate school, worked as an assistant manager at Memphis Rox.

 

Joshua Cannon — Producer

Joshua is a writer and filmmaker who, in partnership with Tom Shadyac, created the short film Malik & Demond: A Memphis Rox Story (Mountainfilm 2020), the story of how the opening of Memphis Rox has shaped the lives of those in an under-resourced community in Memphis. Joshua has directed and produced multiple music videos and short films to date.

 

Brandy Troxler — Editor

Brandy has been creating stories since she casually strolled out of her mother’s womb. Her obsession with film and TV led her to writing and directing her own short films and plays. As she got older she explored other methods of storytelling, such as photography and editing narrative and documentary-style short films. Brandy’s is an authentic storyteller with a versatile style. Her attention to detail, pace, and flow brings a strong narrative to every story she tells. His big hair is only eclipsed by her even bigger laugh. 

Tom Shadyac & One Family Memphis

Tom Shadyac worked as a mentor and advisor to the video project, fostering the talents of his team, He is one of Hollywood’s all-time leading writer/directors with credits including Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Nutty Professor, Patch Adams, Brian Banks, and documentaries I AM and The Happy Movie.

 

Tom left Hollywood to teach at the University of Memphis, and later at LeMoyne-Owen College where his students introduced him to the persistent challenges and pulsing promise of the Soulsville neighborhood. Soon after he purchased two bankrupt buildings that became the One Family Memphis Foundation, the first organization of its kind where art, recreation, and apprenticeships empower the next generation of artists, leaders and entrepreneurs. One Family Memphis has two main focuses:

 

Memphis Mountaintop Media provides storytelling opportunities for local Memphis community members and matcheds film crew members with a mentee, exposing the community to state of the art industry talent.

Memphis Rox is the premier pay-what-you-can, indoor climbing facility and restaurant bringing rehabilitation and healing to underserved communities by providing programs to foster relationships across cultural, racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.

PERFORMANCES

Somebody's Beloved ft. Bipolar Sunshine

(As Seen on The Kelly Clarkson Show)

In the face of the continued efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement, alongside the 150%  rise in acts of violence against the AAPI community this past year, Bipolar Sunshine and I got together for the first time since Covid to sing this visceral and intimate performance. Today, singing this song as an Asian American woman alongside a Black man holds more weight to me than ever. We hope this performance can help put words and bring catharsis to the complexity of emotions we're all feeling.

Milck + Amanda Gorman Collab

Last December I was introduced to Amanda Gorman. We decided to cocreate a piece in honor of the 5th Annual Racial Healing day, in partnership with The Kellogg Foundation. We immediately fangirled over each other. I could feel Amanda's wisdom and strength throughout the process. She created a poem that she reads over my song, “Somebody’s Beloved.” This collaboration is one of my most treasured projects. One of my favorite lines she includes in this poem is about calling people in, vs. calling them out. I hold that idea close to my heart as I navigate our times of growing anti-Asian sentiment, and continued struggles for Black and Brown communities. 

Somebody's Beloved Acapella

In partnership with Culture Surge, we have created an acapella arrangement for the song. We hope you enjoy this performance featuring MILCK, Elisha Jewell, Raye Zaragoza, and Ari Afsar