Mychal Scott is known in the hip hop community by the moniker Chuck Tayla. While away in college, Scott noticed that his hometown of Memphis, TN was receiving a lot of bad attention in the media and he began to take a stand for change. In 2009, the movement began with a song, “I Am Memphis” and grew into a movement promoting: unity, progress and prosperity through his non-profit organization. Through the power of a grassroots organization, Scott is reshaping the face of Memphis, one t-shirt at a time.
Introduction by Artieka Smith
Interview by Melissa Kimble
What inspires you to create?
Well I’ve been an artist (musically) since the age of 14 but the arts have played a roll in my life since I was 5 yrs old in art school.
I’ve always naturally been a creative person & I think what drives me to do so is I love seeing my thoughts come to fruition. Creativity = Originality & that’s exactly what I am.
Your I AM MEMPHIS campaign is mainly about improving the quality of life for young people and young professionals in Memphis. Why have you decided to take on such a huge task?
I just looked at it like this: Everyone in this city continually talks about change & what we have to do but no one was ever bold enough to actually be the one to follow through. I was tired of the trapped mindset of this city. I was tired of people believing that Memphis had nothing to offer, that Memphis was “holding them back”, that “because I’m here I can’t do anything to progress” mentality. I just wanted to encourage people to shed the defeated mindset & start working towards making this area a city that creates its own opportunities; I wanted Memphis to become a place that young professionals would migrate to, not migrate from. Simply put, someone had to have the courage to stand up & take action. So I did.
That the problem runs DEEP in the mindset of the average Memphian. And for this problem, I blame all of those in positions of power and influence from politicians to top-tier tastemakers (DJs, Radio/TV Program Directors, etc.). But I’ve also learned that there is hope. If you can attack & defeat or change the mindset, you’ve already started to win the battle. Memphis is a city that has become accustomed to & comfortable with the thought of following trends instead if setting them. At one point we were the trendsetters but since things have shifted in the last 15 yrs, it has people afraid to be themselves or set the trends they’re capable of. Memphis can be a fully self-sufficient city with a bustling economy. The problem is that Memphians have to BELIEVE it.
Creating a movement means that the fruits of your labor don’t come instantly. What milestones has the campaign reached that has helped you press forward?
Truth be told, the thing that kept me moving forward when I truly wanted to stop was the people of Memphis. Many of my original
supporters pushed me to continue & continually requested that I press up shirts because they continually bought them and also had their friends buying them as well. My vision was always bigger than just shirts and hoodies though. And many of my original supporters understood that, so they believed that they were supporting something that would inevitably become much bigger than it was. They saw the bigger picture even before it was painted so I credit them for keeping me going. As far as the accomplishments go, the first was being recognized by the Memphis Flyer; the second was being covered by The Commercial Appeal; then, meeting and being interviewed by Mayor AC Wharton; receiving the Key to the City was also a major highlight as well and also one of my proudest moments. Finally, partnering with the top urban retailer in the city, City Gear, has been our most recent and biggest accomplishment to date.
What is the ultimate goal of I AM MEMPHIS and how will you know if you’ve been a success?
How can people become involved in the movement?
Becoming involved with our movement is very easy. The easiest way is to support us and buy into our vision. Purchase some of our
merchandise at any Memphis area City Gear location or on our website at www.iammemphisonline.com, your online source for everything Memphis. If you’re interested in becoming one of our writers contact us at email@example.com. We’re currently looking for those interested in sports (Prep, Collegiate & Professional), Faith & Community Issues, Politics & Local Businesses.
For More on Myke:
Twitter (For Myke): https://twitter.com/ChuckTaylaBaby