[Interview] Andrew Jenks Shares What He Learned From ‘World of Jenks’

Photo: (MTV)

Photo: (MTV)

I have a routine I follow every Monday night. Once I finish all of my work for the day, I grab a Dr Pepper, make sure I have a box of Kleenex next to me, and settle down to watch “World of Jenks” on MTV. I’ve spent the last two and a half months with Andrew Jenks, Kaylin, Chad and D-Real, and last night, the show’s Season 2 finale, I had to say goodbye.

I’ve been hooked on the show since the first season, so when I heard the show was coming back, I was ecstatic I’d get to see what was going on in Chad’s life now. I was introduced to Kaylin, a talented fashion designer who had dealt with two different types of cancer, and D-Real, who was fighting gun violence on the streets of Oakland. Their lives couldn’t have been more different from mine, but that’s why I tuned in: perspective.

So it’s appropriate that when I finally got to catch up with Jenks on the phone today he echoed the same idea. This isn’t just a show about gun violence, autism or cancer — it’s a show about perspective and the lives these three young people are living. Since we only see a fraction of the time Jenks spent with Kaylin, Chad and D-Real, I wanted his insights on what he’s learned from the three of them while filming the show.

+ “Bullets Kill People”

Jenks revealed that since the show has wrapped, D-Real has had another baby and is still struggling to understand and cope with the death of his brother. D-Real has already spoken out about ending gun violence, so I wanted to hear what Jenks had to say about helping to decrease gun violence. He believes that it’s really our duty to “understand what gun violence really means.”  One line that struck a chord with Jenks is that “people don’t kill people; guns don’t kill people; bullets kill people.” He went on to say that it’s not about taking away anyone’s  Second Amendment rights, but about making sure no more young people die from the unnecessary violence that happens every single day. If you want to help fight gun violence by getting illegal guns off the streets, check out the MTV x Caliber collaboration.

+ The Word “Pimp” Is Not A Good Look

Kaylin might be a talented designer, but she also put her artistic skills to use to create a comic book that chronicles a satirical, fantasy-based take on dealing with cancer. In one part of the book, Kaylin’s character decides to add a ton of awesome features to her chemo chair. While filming, the word “pimp” was used to describe the improvements to the chair; when Jenks was editing the footage, he learned that mtvU has a campaign to fight human trafficking, in which they try to educate viewers on the role that pimps play in perpetuating this human rights atrocity. He said it was interesting “to hear how (the word) has become so much a part of everyone’s daily conversation,” especially now that slavery is “worse now than it ever has been before.” If you want to learn more about how to take action against modern-day slavery, check out Against Our Will and the Backstory.

+ Getting Schooled Matters

Jenks got a firsthand look at the funding cuts that are happening in schools around the country and how it’s affecting students. When I asked him what fans should do after the finale airs, the first thing he mentioned was tuning in to his YouTube channel to learn more about Chad’s amazing school, which made “Chad into the person he is” today. Westchester Exceptional Children’s School, which serves students from 36 school districts in New York and Connecticut, focuses “on meeting the educational, social and emotional need of students with autism, medically fragile children and students with communication and behavior disorders.” You can find more information about helping Chad’s school here.

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Photo: (MTV)

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