Special Edition Of 'Heart and Soul' hosted by Charles Thomas, Evelyn Holmes

August 7, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Video - Heart and Soul - Originally aired Aug. 10, 2013
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Cheryl Burton and Jim Rose also contributed reports to this edition. An encore presentation will air Sunday, August 18th at 4:30 pm on ABC 7. HEART & SOUL is the winner of an Illinois Broadcasters Association's "Best Public Affairs Program" award.

HEART & SOUL shines the spotlight on a budding "Mahalia Jackson," who at the tender age of 12 has all the talent to become a star, according to her voice instructor. Bronzeville's own Mae Ya Carter Ryan was just an 8-year-old girl singing around the house when her mother realized there was something sensational about her daughter's voice. Mae Ya has sung at the Chicago Theater, DuSable Museum and even at this year's Inaugural festivities in Washington, D.C.

Next up, a Downer's Grove native said that she, like so many young girls, took ballet; but she never dreamed she could make a living at it. Fast forward to the present. Erica Lynette Edwards is one of the most senior dancers of the Joffrey Ballet. HEART & SOUL looks at Erica's amazing journey from ballet class to ballerina with a premier ballet company.

Then HEART & SOUL tracks the path of salesman turned champion of inner-city children. Hear the story of Dwayne Bryant who left his corporate job to work with kids. As founder of Vision International, Byrant not only serves as a motivational speaker for adults but helps implement intensive year-long programs to help students at many of Chicago's toughest schools.

Jackie Taylor is known throughout Chicago's arts community as the person who rose up and out of Cabrini Green housing projects to become a successful director, producer, actress and playwright. Taylor founded the Black Ensemble Theater with the goal of diminishing racism. HEART & SOUL will profile Jackie Taylor's amazing story and give viewers a behind the scenes experience of performances from this acclaimed theater company.

Neal Sales-Griffin and Mike McGee started out as roommates at Northwestern University but kept their relationship and ideas going after graduation. They are the brains behind The Starter League, one of the most successful 'tech training programs' around. HEART & SOUL talks to this dynamic duo about how their concept manages to inspire the least tech-savvy person and transform their ideas into viable apps and websites.

Finally, HEART & SOUL highlights a group of five artists from the South Side who came together in 1968 to form AFRICOBRA in an effort to artistically promote Black pride. H &S viewers get a chance to look at their new exhibition at the DuSable Museum of African American history. Arlene Turner-Crawford, one of the members of AFRICOBRA whose work is on display at DuSable, talks about the impact of the art.

HEART & SOUL is featured on-demand at abc7chicago.com. HEART & SOUL is produced by Holly Grisham and Rubye Wilson Lane.


ABC 7's Charles Thomas and Evelyn Holmes will host the next installment of HEART & SOUL, a series of specials that tap into Chicago's vibrant African American community; airing Saturday, August 10 at 6:00 pm. Cheryl Burton, Hosea Sanders and Jim Rose also contribute reports to this edition. The new exhibit, AFRICOBRA: Art and Impact at The DuSable Museum of African American History will serve as the backdrop for this episode.

Mae Ya Carter Ryan
Mae Ya Carter Ryan was just 8 years old when her mom first heard her singing upstairs in their Bronzeville home. Ina Carter couldn't believe her ears.... It was a childish tune but Ina says, her daughter could really sing. Their search for formal voice training began... that led them to The Merit School of Music in Chicago. Mae Ya has studied with Merit instructor, Jade Maze, for more than 3 years now. Mae Ya has sung at the Chicago Theater, DuSable Museum... even at this year's Inaugural festivities in Washington, D.C. Her longtime mentor and music producer, Bruce Thompson, describes her as a young Mahalia Jackson. Her voice instructor says 'the sky is the limit' for this now 12 year-old prodigy.

For more information, email:


For more information on the Merit School of Music:

Merit School of Music
38 S Peoria St
(312) 786-9428

Black Ensemble Theater
Jackie Taylor rose up out of her Cabrini Green upbringing to go on to become a successful director, producer, actress and playwright. 35 years ago, she founded the Black Ensemble Theater in Chicago, with the goal of ending racism. In 2011, the theater company opened the doors of its new complex in the Uptown neighborhood. Heart and Soul viewers get to see 'behind the scenes' of this acclaimed theater company that has brought the stories of Howlin' Wolf, Marvin Gaye, Jackie Wilson and Muddy Waters.. to the stage.

For more information:
Black Ensemble Theater
4450 N. Clark St.

Erica Lynette Edwards
This Downers Grove native says she took ballet as a child but never really thought of it as a profession. Now, she is one of the longtime, principal dancers of the Joffrey Ballet. Erica Lynette Edwards joined the company in 2000 after being one of the first dancers in the prestigious Arpino Apprentice program at the Joffrey. In 2001, the Chicago Sun-Times named Erica a "Black History Maker" and in 2003, Ebony Magazine featured her as a "Young Leader of the Future in the Arts".

For more information:

Joffrey Ballet
10 East Randolph St.

The Starter League
Neal Sales-Griffin and Mike McGee started out as roommates... now, these Northwestern University grads are the brains behind one of the most successful 'tech training programs' around. It is called The Starter League and the concept is simple... they take even the most non 'tech-savvy' person and teach them how to turn their ideas into viable 'apps' and websites in less than a year. It is no shock that The Starter League is set in the city's tech incubator in the Merchandise Mart, called 1871.

For more information:


Dwayne Bryant
Dwayne Bryant had a very successful Sales career with Johnson & Johnson when he decided to leave the corporate world behind to help kids. He went on to found Inner Vision International here in Chicago. Now, he works with his staff of educational consultants to motivate, educate and inspire others. Along with doing motivational speaking to adults, he also implements intensive year-long programs to help students at many of Chicago's inner city schools. One of his 'success stories' happened at Harlan Community Academy High School on the far South Side of Chicago. Due largely to his 28-week program, the students he worked with in 2011 turned in the highest attendance rates for the high school –and- garnered the school's Highest Academic Achievement award.

For more information:


AFRICOBRA(African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists)
Feeling there was no distinctly African American aesthetic on the art scene... a group of artists came together on Chicago's South Side to form AFRICOBRA in 1968. That collective of artists with the goal of depicting and promoting Black pride has grown from those original six and is still active today. In a new exhibition at the DuSable Museum of African American History, AFRICOBRA works are on display. You'll hear from an artist who studied with one of the core group, whose work is on display... Arlene Turner-Crawford... in "AFRICOBRA: Art and Impact".

To see the exhibit:

The Du Sable Museum of African American History
740 East 56th Pl

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