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Changemakers of the world



“ESCAPE” director and producer, Lisa Ranran Hu from China.

Viacom’s MTV just announced its honorees for the 2019 MTV EMA Generation Change Award that elevates and empowers fearless, original activists and youth leaders who are changing the world through music, storytelling and innovation.

Five changemakers from across the globe were selected for the award, which will be presented by iconic MTV personality Sway Calloway during the 2019 MTV EMAs live red carpet pre-show in Seville, Spain, on 3 November (4 November in the Philippines).

Among the awardees is 20-year-old Lisa Ranran Hu from China, who wrote, directed and produced an original feature film, Escape, that powerfully portrayed a young woman’s experiences of being transgender in China, which incited public discussion about the country’s stance on LGBTQIA+ issues.

Hu is a Chinese student filmmaker currently studying at University of California, Los Angeles. Her most recent, the 75-minute Escape, explores the journey of a young transgender teenager and created a huge stir online in China and made headlines in the international press. Hu was named one of Teen Vogue’s “21 Under 21,” as nominated by Emma Watson, Time magazine’s “30 Most Influential Teens” and Forbes Asia’s “30 Under 30.”

Other 2019 MTV EMA Generation Change Award winners include Alfredo “Danger” Martinez, Shiden Tekle, Kelvin Doe and Jamie Margolin.

Martinez, 33 years old, from Mexico, is a rap activist who uses hip-hop to empower youth in marginalized communities and inspires social transformation in Mexico. He spearheads workshops, school programs and events to equip young people with the ability to tell their stories and spread good through rap.

Tekle, 20 year old, from the United Kingdom, and his friends recreated famous movie and TV posters with all black actors and posted them around South London and social media. Created under the organization Legally Black UK, these striking visual displays gained global media attention and shed light on the lack of black British characters in entertainment and the issues of racial misrepresentation in media.

A self-taught engineer, entrepreneur and founder of the Kelvin Doe Foundation, Doe, 22 years old, from Sierra Leone, empowers young people in Africa to design innovative solutions to tackle the most critical problems in under-developed communities. At age 11, he used trash in his hometown for spare parts to build batteries, generators and transmitters to power his local community and built his own radio station, which he used to broadcast news and play music under the nickname, DJ Focus.

A powerful force of the youth climate movement, Margolin, 17 years old, from the United States, co-launched an international climate justice organization Zero Hour that led the 2018 Youth Climate Marches in Washington, DC and 25 cities around the world. Since then, Jamie and Zero Hour have organized revolutionary educational campaigns, youth voting initiatives, strikes, summits and climate action speaking tours.

The 2019 MTV EMA Generation Change campaign brings together the power of the MTV brand, Viacom’s resources and generational reach to engage with changemakers and MTV’s audiences on the issues that matter most to them.

To inspire and inform this campaign, Viacom conducted a global research study that found that 61 percent of young people believe it is their generation’s responsibility to fix the problems they’ve inherited. Whether in their local community or at an international level, lack of support and resources was also the number-one issue that young people said limits their power to create change. The data also reiterated the expectation and opportunity for corporations and brands to join young people in their quests for change.

MTV International will make a monetary donation to each honorees’ organization and amplify their transformational work and unique stories across the brand’s social and digital platforms in nearly 180 countries.

The 2019 MTV EMAs broadcasts live on MTV Asia today 4 November, starting with the red carpet premiere. The primetime encore telecast is at 8 p.m., today.