Profiles in Regeneration: Emmanuel, 18, U.S.
I saw the grip MTV’s TRL had on pop culture and how it impacted the youth. After seeing this, I thought about the good the show could’ve done if they advocated for different issues going on in the world.
Young people all around the world are working to build a regenerative future. At 18, Emmanuel Wright is one of those people. He wants to create a web show, similar to the classic telethon, that showcases artists and supports unique causes every episode.
Regenerative Futures: How are you feeling right now?
Emmanuel Wright: I’m honestly feeling very uneasy. I just read deep into the Elijah McClain story and I cannot believe that this is continuing to happen.
RF: What’s a secret your search history can tell us about you?
EW: If you look through my search history, you’ll find out that I’ve lately been obsessed with America’s Next Top Model. It’s not really a secret. I’m an open book, so that’s the closest I could get.
RF: What are you reading/learning about at the moment?
EW: Being that I can’t go to the recording studio due to the pandemic, I’ve been trying to learn how to mix and master my own music, and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever taken on. In regards to reading, I’ve been reading up and educating myself on the concept of defunding the police in America, because that’s a change I’d like to see put into action.
RF: Who is your favorite human and why?
EW: My favorite human would have to be Lady Gaga. I know that it’s stereotypical for a gay person to love her, but she deserves all the praise. Not only is that woman an amazing performer, but she works her ass off advocating for so many different causes. Most recently, she helped put together the One World: Together at Home benefit concert, and I’ve always wanted to do something like that, so I’m glad she did.
RF: Which key moment inspired you to start your project?
EW: I’ve been obsessed with early 2000s culture, and a big part of that era was MTV’s TRL. I would stay up late watching old clips from the show, and I saw the grip that the show had on pop culture and how it impacted the youth. After seeing this, I thought about the good the show could’ve done if they advocated for different issues going on in the world, which is what inspired my idea.
RF: In two years' time, what would success with your project look like?
EW: In two years' time, I would want my project to have started production and to have raised a minimum of $100,000 for a cause. That’s what success looks like to a small-town boy like me. I really think that if my project is given the proper promotion and funding, it could become something great.
RF: If you could focus a large percentage of government funding on one industry or project for the next five to ten years, which you choose and why?
EW: I would dedicate a large percentage to climate-change research, and focus on the production of clean energy. All the progress Gen Z has been making won’t matter if the very planet we inhabit is dead.
RF: What is the best and worst thing about the education system in your country?
EW: I think the worst thing about education in America is the lack of focus on how the government actually works, and of course, the actual history of African Americans here. We’re given this bare-minimum, cookie-cutter government course that barely teaches you anything. I shouldn’t have to learn more about how the government works outside of school, and on top of that, we shouldn’t be given one unit on African-American history. It should be present throughout every semester because we have had such a raw and prevalent history and America would be nothing without us.
RF: Do you have a message for a person your age living in the year 2060?
EW: My message would be as follows: you are the world’s future. Do not let anyone tell you that you’re too young to make a change. Don’t let anyone tell you to stop fighting. You’re fighting for a world that will soon be passed down to you, so make sure it’s a place you’d want to live and raise a family. It’s all up to you.
RF: What inspires or frightens you most about the future?
EW: I’m extremely inspired by the fighting that has often been seen in the last decade for justice against police brutality in America. Our generation has not given up once, through countless deaths due to school shootings, police brutality, and a pandemic. I could not be more proud and excited to see the change that Gen Z is pushing for. I’m not frightened because I know we won’t give up. That’s what truly inspires me about the future.
Emmanuel Wright is a Regenerative List Finalist.