this is "nightline." >> tonight, vibing and thriving on tiktok. influencers celebrating their disabilities. shining a light on those often overlooked. >> people ask, where has this community been this whole time? like, it's here, the whole time. >> getting real on what privilege and inclusivity look like. plus reliving the summer of soul. >> are yo ready, black people, are you ready? >> the groundbreaking documentary doing more than taking audiences back to the age of acare yus. ♪ the age of aquarius ♪ >> it's like we get a chance to hop in a delorean and go back in time and see. >> touching lives. helping many discover long-lost
relatives on screen. >> hey, that looks like that might be your great grandfather. find your rhythm. your happy place. find your breaking point. then break it. every emergen-c gives you a potent blend of nutrients so you can emerge your best with emergen-c. small businesses like yours make gift-giving possible. now, comcast business has an exclusive gift for you. introducing the gift of savings sale.
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barriers for the disability community, creating their own space on tiktok, challenging the way the world sees them. >> reporter: it's here on her family farm in franklinville, new jersey, where mckenzie trush comes alive. >> growing up here has been such a really fun, unique way to grow up. >> reporter: it's one big, happy family. >> these are my pets, and like my family. >> reporter: mckenzie's upbringing has been unique in more ways than one. she was born with a rare form of dwarfism, called semd, one of only 175 documented cases in history. she's had to find ways to adapt her whole life. competing in equestrian shows. now the aspiring actress making her own path on social media. >> to go from growing up on a farm to this past year, you've kind of turned into a pretty big tiktok star. >> yeah, been a bit of a really
welcome, fun change. >> what's that like for you? >> so like quarantine started, it was like, now is the time to do the thing i always say i'm going to do, make a tiktok, and post kind of educational but fun videos. and so i just made one. ♪ ♪ >> i felt silly posting it, but i woke up to a couple of thousand views and it's been a roller coaster since. >> reporter: she's not alone. for what seems like the first time, disabled content creators have a genuine audience like never before. >> my video has over 200 million views. we thought, there's something to this, this is an audience we haven't tapped into before. >> reporter: using tiktok, influencers ranging in all kinds
of disabilities have tapped into a younger and more eager audience. >> it's exciting to see a second-generation of online disability advocates on tiktok. they are so passionate and so well versed. >> reporter: disabled creators are using the app to tell their stories in their own words, dissecting privilege within a media landscape that's otherwise ignored them. >> having access to other disabled people telling stories in a variety of platforms is community-building. >> oftentimes, society tries to put us in a box. for me, it was, see yourself as nondisabled, don't be gay. everything changed for me when i leaned into my disability, came out as gay, and started finding happiness in my own way. >> spencer west has been a star long before tiktok. >> i wanted to share some words with you. >> reporter: a youtuber, inspirational speaker, spencer
gives audiences a sense of what it's like to live life with no legs. >> what does that mean? time for a lesson. this stuff here? didn't touch it. this stuff here? didn't touch it. i hope that clears up any confusion, thank you. >> reporter: he's built a following and made a famous friend along the way. demi lovato. it wasn't until spencer got on tiktok that things took off. 3 million followers. he's using his space to educate and wants audiences to know it's okay to be proud of your disability. >> i grew up in the '80s and early '90s. at that time to be seen as disabled was sort of taboo. you wanted to be seen just like everyone else, that your disability didn't define you or limit you in those ways. and now we're sort of learning, that's a terrible way to think. i'm proud to have a disability, and it is a part of me. >> reporter: imani couldn't agree more. >> i don't have a problem with
being disabled, you have a problem with me being disabled. one of those things is a problem. and it sound like it's yours. >> reporter: she's an activist and a writer who focuses on the intersection of race and disability. >> we represent so many different things, political backgrounds. i wish that we would no longer be seen as a monolith. >> if i'm going to pull up your tiktok page what can i expect? >> the truth. my videos are very much so geared towards not sugarcoating disabili disability. >> 40% of prisoners have a disability -- >> reporter: an uncompromising, honest take on the life of a black disabled woman with cerebral policy. >> we're calling you out. >> reporter: she's ready for a change in the way society represents both black and disabled people. >> oh my god, i am so glad that you agree. we should have way more disabled people in media, in film, in tv, in all of it. >> no, not you.
>> i thought you said -- >> excuse me, i have no time for this, i am about to profit off of representations that bill create stereotypes that you will have to live by, without including you at all. >> in terms of media it's all about making ability, - nondisabled people feel better about themselves by comparison. our bodies are litmus tests for how much worse yours could, how much more grateful you should be, because you could be us. i really hope black and brown disabled people see themselves reflected on social media at least needing to be seen by the public and by society, because we exist, and we are here. >> reporter: representation of disabled people in hollywood and the media, or lack thereof, is a glaring problem when you look at the numbers. while 26% of the adult population in the united states is living with a pidisability, study done on the top 100 grossing films of 2019 found 2.3% of speaking characters had a disability. >> if film is the only place
that you can access or you have seen a disabled person, then that story becomes the only narrative that you learn about. it carries so much more weight in shaping your understanding of what disability might be like. >> my disability appears in a story, it always serves a function. >> reporter: dr. alison coproduced the film "code of the freaks," an in-depth exploration of how movies treat disability on screen. >> stories are everywhere and hollywood gets ahold of our stories, they want to shove it into these really set kind of stereotypical narratives. >> reporter: there are more nuanced roles for disabled actors. r.j. mitty, who has cerebral palsy, playing walt jr. on "breaking bad." >> are they too tight? >> they're -- they're pretty shrunk. >> reporter: and steve wegg, who lives with muscular dystrophy, on the hulu comedy show
"romedy." >> you don't really see people like me on television, or if you see someone who is supposed to be me, they don't look like me. and their stories are not truly what we go through. >> reporter: back on the farm in jersey, there's still work to be done. and mckenzie's made a promise to herself that she won't take roles that make her disability a punchline. >> eight as i got older and was offered roles in commercials, but like you're going to be playing an elf. it was just portraying that stereotype even further. it's not helping, that's hurting the community. i would not be able to sleep knowing that i contributed to that. and i know i'm privileged to be able to say that, i can say no to that. i'm proud of my consent. i like to tell myself that maybe someone in the back of their mind, the video will stick with them. >> reporter: it's just a 15-second video. but these creators are making sure that with each tiktok,
they're forging a more inclusive future for not just the disabled community but for everyone. >> it's always funny when people ask, where's this community been this whole time? right here. the whole time. we've been here the whole time. i think it's our time, i really do. >> our thanks to ashan. up next, summer of soul. the special meaning the documentary has given some families. ♪ the age of aquarius age of aquarius ♪ is struggling to manage your type 2 diabetes knocking you out of your zone? lowering your a1c with once-weekly ozempic® can help you get back in it. oh, oh, oh, ozempic®! my zone... lowering my a1c, cv risk, and losing some weight... now, back to the game! ozempic® is proven to lower a1c. most people who took ozempic® reached an a1c under 7 and maintained it. and you may lose weight. adults lost on average up to 12 pounds. in adults also with known heart disease,
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in the documentary "summer of soul," 1969's harlem cultural festival comes to lives. for some families, a surprising glimpse of loved ones gone but not lost. here's abc's chris connelly. ♪ gonna take you higher ♪ >> reporter: 2021's best-loved documentary is more than 50 years in the league, and it's already in the oscar conversation. ♪ this is the dawning of the age of aquarius ♪ ♪ age of aquarius ♪ ♪ aquarius ♪ >> reporter: capturing all-time greats performing on stage in harlem at their shimmering best in 1969. the spectacular "summer of soul." ♪ i've got sunshine on a cloudy day ♪ >> reporter: directed by roots drummer and all-around music maven questlove. >> it's like we get a chance to hop in a delorean and go back in
time and see these artists right on the verge of genius. but in '69, we're watching all of them on the precipice of what they're about to be. >> reporter: from a 19-year-old stevie wonder, just bursting with creativity -- ♪ oh happy days ♪ >> reporter: to the edwin hawkins singers, lifting gospel to new heights. to nina simone's stirring performance. >> are you ready, black people, are you ready? >> reporter: smartly done segments define the era and bring additional meaning to the music, performed at the harlem cultural festival over six sundays in the summer of '69 and captured for posterity on 40 hours of long-neglected film. then pored over for months. >> this played on 40-hour loop for five months in a row. so i didn't sit down and study and watch it, but because it was on constantly, 24/7, in those
five months if i happened to be, you know, on my phone or asleep and something -- wait, what was that? i took note of it. >> reporter: it earned best documentary honors at sundance this winter. once it got on hulu, a remarkable thing happened. some viewers were thrilled to discover on screen beloved family members they hadn't laid eyes on in decades. >> i became speechless. i was filled with a lot of emotion. i mean, i was really hyper and excited. >> reporter: lee tyler says his brother, james washington, died more than a half century ago. yet he saw james in the "summer of soul" crowd. >> straighten out our problems -- >> it was like, wow. i knew immediately that was him. >> reporter: james passed at age 29. his niece ebony tyler says her family has no photos of him, but now their loved one is a part of history. >> i'm really proud that my
family, you know -- a member of my family was at the concert, and now that the documentary is being shown to the world. >> i'll say that at least 90% of anyone that's spoken to me has mentioned they cried. which i don't know if that would have had the same effect if this came out in 1974, '75. >> i think part of the magic is that even though you're the drummer and you are in touch with the music, you put so much of the focus on the audience. on the people who were there. why was that so important to you? >> there were four cameras at the harlem cultural festival. and by far my favorite camera of all was camera four, which strictly told the story of that day. >> my name is musa jackson, and i attended the harlem culture festival in 1969 when i was 4. >> reporter: musa jackson found himself awakened to childhood memories. >> i felt love permeating throughout this space that was
here in harlem in this park. >> musa jackson was our very first interview. we're like, tell us everything you remember. he was like, this is the very first memory of my life i have, so i'll tell you exactly everything. as he's describing this, we're looking at each other from behind the camera, like yo. this is not on the internet, right? literally he was just describing things that only he would know. ♪ when the moon is in the southern sky ♪ >> reporter: from searchlight pictures, which like abc news is part of disney, "summer of soul" has led musa to connect with other attendees, like darrell lewis, who was 19 in 1969. >> music helped during the late '60s. so much of the music back then told the story of what was happening to the country. ♪ >> reporter: as musa and darrell
walk through what's now marcus garvey park, where the festival took place, memories come flooding back. >> i can remember sometimes being almost at the base of the stage -- >> right, right. >> -- by the time the main act would come, they pushed me back. >> they pushed you back? >> yeah, i could never hold, i always got pushed. >> it was so incredible. even though it was thousands of people and we were doing our thing, i never felt lost. >> yeah. because they got you. >> they got me, the strangers got me, my family got me. >> reporter: family connections re-established by "summer of soul." >> maurice king, musical director. he's kind of our family's quincy jones, for sure. >> reporter: 35-year-old rapper joshua smith cherishes the photos he has of his late great grandfather, a legend at motown records. >> maurice king was pivotal in helping the temptations and the supremes, gladys knight, really
helping them own their craft. >> reporter: but he'd never seen the legend in action until he oked osclas knight! >> reporter: at the band leader behind gladys knight and the pips. >> me and my wife were watching segments with gladys knight. ♪ i heard it through the grapevine ♪ ♪ not much longer would you be mine. >> she says, hey, that looks like that might be your great grandfather. ♪ i heard it through the grapevine ♪ >> reporter: and there he was. joshua took to social media to share the joy of spotting a family member at the festival. >> he was this really sweet man who always took time to spend time with his great grandchildren. >> reporter: for questlove, stories like that one make it all worthwhile. >> i love the accolades, but for me the payoff is, without a doubt, just the opportunity to connect people, for people to see what their grandma looked
like as a 19-year-old. i think at the end of the day, this movie makes people feel seen. ♪ going to harlem ♪ >> our thanks again to chris. up next, the indigenous food warriors taking their rightful place at the thanksgiving table. there's a different way to treat hiv. it's once-monthly injectable cabenuva. cabenuva is the only once-a-month, complete hiv treatment for adults who are undetectable. cabenuva helps keep me undetectable. it's two injections, given by a healthcare provider once a month. hiv pills aren't on my mind. i love being able to pick up and go. don't receive cabenuva if you're allergic to its ingredients or taking certain medicines, which may interact with cabenuva. serious side effects include allergic reactions post-injection reactions, liver problems,...and depression. if you have a rash and other allergic reaction symptoms, stop cabenuva and get medical help right away.
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♪ finally tonight on this thanksgiving, celebrating the original american cuisine. >> native american people, native american food, is here. >> chef crystal waupepa bringing authentic native american foods at the heart of east oakland, california. >> for me, being born and raised as a kikapoo native american and also african-american, from east oakland, if i can do it, you can too. >> prepping her thanksgiving menu. >> we call it a wild rice cake. blue corn turkey and waffles. it's one of my favorites. we're calling this the ancient
porridges, when is quinoa, amaranth, and wild rice. >> crediting her >> it's always about making someone else's food. so this is the opportunity to kind of make my food. >> chef waupepa calling her team "indigenous food warriors," fighting for native cuisine's rightful place. that's "nightline" for this evening. catch our full episodes on hulu. we'll see you right back there same time tomorrow. thanks for