By Kristin Boza
Avery Kelley, a Beverly/Morgan Park resident and Keller Regional Gifted School 7th grader, already has an impressive resume. As a writer, director, producer, and filmmaker, Kelley hosts the weekly Tweendom Talk Show on YouTube, where she connects with others across the city who are doing great things in their communities.
“I first got the idea for the Tweendom Talk Show in February. As a filmmaker, my mind is gearing all the time and I’m always thinking of new ideas,” Kelley said. “My mom and I talked about doing a talk show for kids by kids. Covid threw a wrench in our plans for an in-person talk show, but we thought to still make this happen to get my mind and the viewers’ minds off of all the crazy things going on and bring some positivity into their homes every Friday.”
As a tween herself, Kelley knows what kids need and want to hear about their insecurities, bullying, or coping in a pandemic. She also highlights the positive impacts other kids are making.
“To find guests, I go on social media to do some research or I get ideas from my family and friends,” she said. “I also like to see what kids are into nowadays and I want to make sure I’m covering things that other people are interested in. It takes a lot of planning, research, and strategic thinking to get the show out each week.”
One of Keley’s favorite episodes included a panel of tweens and teens, and a doctor who discussed their different experiences with 2020 and having to stay socially distanced. Another favorite episode was an interview with Kayli Joy Cooper, the 16-year-old founder of Girl Well, a non-profit organization that serves under-sheltered teenage girls by providing them with self-care kits.
Many kids create videos on YouTube and other platforms; Kelley advises that they take the time to plan to ensure that the content is interesting and engaging. “It takes time and commitment to think of ways to keep the audience interested and make them want to come back each week,” she said. “Be creative, use your imagination, and make sure you are doing what you love.”
Kelley credits her family, friends, and teachers for guiding and supporting her with the talk show as well as other academic and extracurricular activities. “I’m grateful for the support from the community,” she said. “Friends and family are important in my life and to know they all support me means the world to me.”
The Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood has been a steady influence in Kelley’s life. She enjoys hanging out at Starbucks, Top Notch, Ohana Ice and Treats, and Crescent Park (in ordinary times). BAPA’s History Mystery Bike Tour, which she covered in one episode of her show, the Memorial Day Parade, and the Breast Cancer Walk are other favorites.
Up next in Kelley’s productive life is hearing back from negotiations on a distribution deal for her short film, “Back Row.” This is her second film; the first, the documentary “Soul Train, Soul Change” earned Kelley top honors at the National History Day National Contest and was featured online through the National Museum of African American History and Culture. It can be viewed at Kelley’s website, InspiredMelanin.com.
Don’t miss rising star Avery Kelley; check out Tweendom Talk Show on YouTube.