By RODNEY HO/ email@example.com, originally filed Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Atlanta actors Christopher and Kyle Massey are being honored by the Georgia General Assembly Thursday for their outstanding humanitarian work and achievements in entertainment.
The two brothers, who are buddies with Justin Bieber, grew up as Nickelodeon stars and are now in their mid-20s.
According to a press release, the brothers are recognized for being the first siblings and African Americans to be nominated simultaneously for an Emmy in the same category of Outstanding Children’s Programming. Kyle was nominated for his role as Cory Baxter on the Disney Channel show, “That’s So Raven,” and Chris for playing Michael Barrett on Nickelodeon’s “Zoe 101.”
"It's a great honor," said Christopher in an interview Tuesday. "It came out of nowhere. It's pretty ecstatic. It's our home state!" (He thinks Rep. Valencia Stovall may have been behind this.)
The Commerce Club will celebrate the brothers at a meet-and-greet Thursday, Feb. 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at their headquarters near downtown Atlanta.
Both brothers live bi-coastal between L.A. and Atlanta. "Atlanta is home base," Christopher said. "We'll never fully pack up and leave home."
Fortunately, opportunities have grown sharply in Georgia in recent years. Kyle, for instance, had a recurring role season two of BET's "Being Mary Jane." (I interviewed Massey back in 2010 when he competed on 'Dancing With the Stars" and ultimately finished runner up, beaten by "Dirty Dancing" star Jennifer Grey.) When they were kid actors along with Dakota Fanning working under talent agent Joy Pervis more than a decade ago, they had to leave Atlanta and pursue their dreams.
In Atlanta, Christopher said, "we have a very good foundation and a sense of self and community. Everything is about Southern hospitality. You're not having paparazzi in your face every five minutes or people wondering who you're dating. People here mind their own business. And my grandmother makes sure I take out the trash when I'm there! It keeps you grounded."
Both are also very active in philanthropy. Christopher estimates they set aside 25 to 35 percent of their time working for charities. One of their biggest causes is Starkey Hearing Foundation, which provides hearing aids to people in need. They've done mission trips all over world, including South Africa, Vietnam and China. They also help the Steve Harvey Foundation, which mentors young boys, and the Christian Care Foundation in Union City.
Christopher is currently directing a new Nickelodeon show "Game Shakers." He said he isn't keen on following his younger brother's footsteps on "Dancing With the Stars" given how well Kyle did. But he insists he's a much better singer.
What he'd love to do is a role like Jack Nicholson's "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" where he could be totally "out there and unhinged." He also wouldn't mind joining "The Walking Dead." (Who wouldn't?) "I want to kill me some zombies!"
Their mom Angel Massey, an entertainment consultant, is also holding a seminar for anyone interested in getting into show business on Feb. 27 in Riverdale. The brothers plan to be there. Details here.
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Credit: Georgia Department of Economic Development