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From Moss Side to Hollywood - Adesuwa McCalla

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Moss Side, Manchester, UK


Youth Charter

“One of the most evident factors I saw were the problems facing young people born into the deprived communities and the social problems caused by a lack of interest in young people by society in general. Young people today need a source of inspiration to point them in the right direction and give them positive motive to strive to succeed.” Adesuwa McCalla, on her experiences from Moss Side to Hollywood

One of the earliest interventions by the Youth Charter involved a reciprocal visit by a group of young people from Hulme and Moss Side to Los Angeles. A group of 20 Los Angelina’s initiated a visit to the UK following the 1993 LA riots. The group representing the most diverse multi - cultural group of young people to leave American shores visited the U.K. to develop the leadership and experience that would see them return to their communities better equipped to assist their development and every day life.

The purpose of the exchange was to provide each young person with a sporting, artistic, cultural, political and economic experience that will result in a rewarding personal and positive contribution to their communities. In particular the young people would see the role that sport and arts was playing in one of the most socially disadvantaged neighbourhood communities where anti social and gang culture was sadly a way of life.

Adesuwa McCalla was a disillusioned 14 year old sufficiently inspired by her inclusion on the exchange to follow her dreams:

“I always wanted to work in the entertainment industry, but there weren’t many opportunities for a black girl from Moss Side. The Youth Charter gave me the opportunities a nd when I was 14, they arranged a trip to Los Angeles. As soon as I got there, I just knew it was where I wanted to be. It was such an inspiration. When I came home to Manchester, I focused on going back.”

Upon leaving school Adesuwa secured work experience at the BBC and Granada in Manchester, but reflecting that her opportunities were limited in Britain, decided to study at Howard University in Washington for which the Youth Charter helped secure funding. She won a scholarship whilst there, graduated in 2000 and got a job with Nickelodeon, the children’s TV channel before moving to MTV in New York.

Adesuwa McCalla is principal of literary management firm MetaMorphic Entertainment, where she identifies
under-the-radar fresh voices that reflect different worlds and perspectives with a literary talent for recognizing great material for her roster of clients. These span award-winning and critically acclaimed film and TV writers and directors whose projects include the Oscar-nominated “Hotel Rwanda,” Emmy-winning “Star Trek: Picard”, as well as series “Bigger,” “All-American,” “13 Reasons Why,” “Unsolved: The Murders of Notorious B.I.G & Tupac,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” “The Flash” and “Tell Me a Story.” She previously worked at the BBC, ITV, Nickelodeon, and MTV in various roles and collaborated with prolific actor-writer-director Bill Duke to identify marketable fan-engaging series which ultimately propelled her to a programming role at The WB, where she shepherded the groundbreaking series “Angel,” “Smallville,” and “Grounded for Life.”

But she admits she would not be where she is today if it were not for the support of the Youth Charter.

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Stakeholder Partners

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Young People or Participants

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Social Coaches

Legacy Development Goals

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1. EDUCATION - attendance, attainment and performance

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5. FURTHER & HIGHER, EMPLOYMENT & ENTREPRENERSHIP - skills training, internships and apprenticeships

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