Thursday, December 24, 2009

Oprah Inspires A Man's Mission To Live His Best Life Now

A male media mogul inspired by the Queen of Talk? The initial thought might seem somewhat unlikely, however, a 34 year old man from Oprah Winfrey’s home state of Mississippi, is proving that there is truly no limit to those who look up to and hope to emulate the reach of her brand.

Cyrus A. Webb (known in artistic circles as C. A. Webb) has been following the path of Oprah for the past decade. After dealing with some internal as well as external challenges in his life, Webb began to use his love of the arts to share his personal story and encourage others to follow their dreams.

As a visual artist, spoken word artist, public speaker, mentor, publicist, radio and television show host, online magazine publisher, columnist and President of Conversations Book Club and its chapters, C. A. Webb works daily to encourage, inspire and learn. Through his various projects, it is his goal that others will use their own artistic voices to make a difference. What told him that he could achieve all that he had over the past 10 years? It was Oprah.

“Oprah’s story is not just a woman’s story,” Webb says. “It is an American story and an example of what one can do not only for themselves but in the lives of others.” Though the brand he is building is based on his own interests, Webb has brought others into his organization that expands his reach. Case in point, when listeners to his radio show wanted information about subjects such as sports and cooking, Webb was able to bring in individuals such as Herschel Dixon (now the host of “Herschel D’s Weekly Sports Wrap-Up) and Chef Bruce Tretter (now the host of “Quick & Easy Cooking with Bruce Tretter) to do weekly segments. Both have been a welcomed addition.

One feat that Webb is tackling now that Oprah hasn’t is writing a book. Currently he is working on a serialized novel called BLESSED with another entrepreneur and fellow Mississippian Stanley Clark.

Webb also wants others to know that there are men who are not just about themselves but are trying to make a difference as well. “We have enough examples of what men are doing wrong,” Webb says. “I wanted to show that good guys can finish first and succeed as well.”

To connect all of his projects together, Webb launched the website Through it blogs about experiences, shares updates for his organization as well as information about his clients and upcoming projects. There are also featured book reviews on the site as well as commentaries on current events.

“With a new year we are able to start fresh in the way we tackle life and the challenges we face,” says Webb. That is what I hope to continue to do, and I hope others will glean something from my work that encourages them the way that Oprah has encouraged me.”

For more information about Cyrus Webb and his projects, visit You can also contact him at or 601.896.5616.

BLESSED: The Serialized Novel by C. A. Webb

Pastor Ezekiel James has enjoyed a historic legacy that is amplified by the remarkable success of his family. For almost 40 years he has been one of the most recognizable faces and names of faith around the world, and that favor seemed to be passed on to his seed, fraternal twins Rebecca and his namesake Ezekiel.

Born with the world seemingly at their feet, Ezekiel continued in the example of his father while Rebecca chose politics, a course that would introduce her to Jeremiah Reynolds. He wants to see a change come to the country. With the support of the James family, Jeremiah would gain influence that leads him to the office of Mayor, Governor and even the White House, becoming the first man of color to become President.

As Reynolds enters his second year in the Oval Office, two wars are waging around the world; however, the United States is more worried about a mysterious flu that is targeting the elderly and youth with deadly consequences. When it threatens the youngest of the James family and even the First Family, a secret is revealed that threatens to destroy not just the trust of a family and The White House but the safety, security and souls of the entire world...

BLESSED: The new serial novel written by C. A. Webb with a special introduction by Stanley Clark.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Conversation with Ricky Spann, author of MAN-UP

Of all of the books I have read in 2009, few had the power to affect me personally like MAN-UP by Ricky Spann. A native of Michigan, Spann now calls Stone Mountain, GA home and has put a lot of thought into his first printed work. His book was chosen as one of Conversations Book Club's Top 100 Books of 2009, but why? What was his objective in writing this book about the roles of black men in America and how all races have to work together? We discuss this and more. Here is our conversation...

Rick, thanks for talking with Conversations for our Take Ten segment. Before we get into your book MAN-UP I want to say it has been great having you on the radio show in 2009 to address some of the issues of the day. Have you always found it easy or in your nature to express yourself the way you do?

First of all Cyrus it is good to be on your show and I definitely appreciated the opportunity to come and share my views.  It's always been easy to express myself, especially in a small setting and regarding what I am most passionate about – the social, political and economic issues as they relate to the black community.  I enjoy discussions surrounding black leadership past and present, and where we have failed our community as black Americans.  I also find it very easy to talk on a spiritual basis, which is a theme for another book idea that I am drafting.

When did you realize that you had a book you wanted to write, and was there any fear about the subject matter?

Since I was in high school I have always had something to say and wanted to put it down on paper.  I remember English literature and all the classes where you have to do interpretive reading; and I always admired how the people were able to take what was near and dear to them and put it in the written word.  From that time on I've always wanted to write.  I've always had certain fear and reservations because in my mind only great grammarians and English majors could write.  Then I realized that it's about those who have something to say…that what a writer is someone who can take their ideals and thoughts and put them on paper.  Once you put them on paper there was always the fear that the subject matter might be too hard for the day.  At a time for political correctness, I thought my word might be too hard because the topic would cause black people to look at the truth of our responsibility of ourselves.   I believe that this is  something that we haven't quite dealt with historically and I think we have a tendency to blame others for our plight…though others are truly at fault to some degree.  My message places a large responsibility on the black people to understand the root causes and solve our own issues.  I didn't think that message would go over real well and so I was a bit apprehensive and uncertain as to how it would go over in the black community.

Rick, many say that in order to be a good writer you have to be a good reader. What role has books played in your life over the years?

Well books have had a very important role in my life.  I can remember one of my first experiences with realizing that I enjoyed reading was when I was transferred from the 3rd to the 4th grade and my homeroom teacher happened to be the librarian, Ms. Henderson.  She noticed that I always liked to read the titles of the books and open up books and read passages, and would always volunteer to stand up and read out loud in class.  So Ms. Henderson really encouraged me.  Unfortunately, being a new student in that school I would often get laughed at and picked on for always wanting to stand up and read before the class.  As a young man new to the school, my tendency was to succumb to the peer pressure and not volunteer to read and let anyone know that I really enjoyed reading.   Once Ms. Henderson detected my phobia, she took me aside and said don't let the other boys influence you and cause you to stop reading or reading in class.  She explained to me that reading is a gift and more people should do more of it, and that reading would truly lead to greater understanding and greater wisdom.  She explained that most of your great readers where avid readers such as Malcom X, Martin Luther King and Gaundi, etc.

We are living in a new time in America right now with the country electing its first black President. How has that changed your perception of the work that blacks have ahead of them if at all?

Personally, it hasn't changed my perception at all.  In fact, I think the fact that America has elected a black president can actually be a setback to the challenges that face the black community.  What I mean by that is that so often blacks tend to get emotionally involved in issues without understanding why or being not deeply emerged enough into issues to prevent them.  Actually I think that electing a black president has given black people a sense of arrival, and that is not the case.  I think that black people have a tendency to become complacent once an emotional hurdle has been achieved and they take their eyes off the larger issues of future political, social, economic and spiritual parody with all of mankind.  So I think that blacks don't want to hear the message that electing a black president at the wrong time is tantamount to racial demise.  By that I mean the entire black community's future seems to rest on whether or not the current president can solve everyone's problems.  The favor that a white president would get, President Obama will not get; and consequently his failures will be failures of the black community.  An analogy that I use is that in sports, such as the NFL, the argument is that black athletes do not make great quarterbacks, when in reality as black athletes become more and more comfortable playing the position of quarterback from little league to the pros, then their performance of quarterback will be as great as any other race. 

Do you think that some minorities will take success for granted since there is a man of color in the White House?

I don't think they'll take it for granted.  In  a broader since I don't think most minorities understand what success is.  Black America tends to think that success is getting a good paying job or a descent business and making a lot of money from an individual standpoint.  They fail to realize that success on such a small scale as an individual form of achievement is short-lived and serves no purpose in perpetuating the successful survivability of the race.  So the message that blacks get having a black president is that we as black individuals can achieve great heights is such a shallow message, and vastly overrated and misunderstood.

Rick for those who haven't read the book, tell us what Man-Up is about.

Man-Up is about mankind, and specifically black americans' position in the scheme of creation.  It's not about racial divide or prejudice.  It's about all men are created equal and all men's responsibility is to do the best they can do the greater good of all mankind.  It gives a spiritual road map for the healing that must occur and the forgiveness that must occur before blacks as a people can transcend a carnal existence to the spiritual existence, and become true cohabitants of this world and worlds to come.

If you had to decide on a particular group of people that your book is most targeted towards, who would it be and why?

First and foremost it is targeted toward the black community.  It's a how-to self-help book of developing strategies and subsequent plans to solve the social, political, economic and spiritual problems that are currently inhibiting the advancement of the black race, and fulfilling our God-giveen purpose.

Have you been surprised at the response you have gotten so far? 

No.  I expected the responses to be mixed and they have.  Some blacks, even prominent blacks think that the book is too harsh on black people.  Other blacks think that it's about time someone gives a how-to as oppose to a what's wrong with us approach to addressing the political, social, economic and spiritual ills of the black community.

What message do you hope readers get from the book overall, and how do you hope they can apply what you share?

That whether we succeed or whether we fail, we have to take responsibility for our own success and survival and also we have to realize that we are only a part of  God's plan and not the totality.  As such, we have a duty and obligation to seek our role in the universe as it relates to other races and other creatures that God has created.  I think that we cheat ourselves when we denigrate God's creation along racial divide.

Now that you have one book under your belt, what's next for you?

The goal is to write 10 books with various themes around the spiritual, social, economic development of the black community.  Each book will give a more finite plan, milestones and phased approach to becoming self sufficient and globally relevant and justifiably equal to all mankind.

Rick, thanks again for talking with us. Continued success to you. How can our readers keep up with you online and through the social networks?

I'm on FB and also have a webpage at  and my twitter site.  You can email me directly via my webpage.  You can also order my Man-Up: A Plan for the Organization and Spiritual Retooling of Black America at or


Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Write Stuff Literacy Campaign In 2009: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

In November 2008,The Write Stuff Literacy Campaign ( announced it was taking a place on the world scene to vigorously promote literacy and bring individuals as well as organizations to the battlefield, combining forces against the worldwide problem of illiteracy and apathy.

In December 2009, Founder/Mississippi native Cyrus Webb is pleased to announce that the first year of the project has been a tremendous success.

"We have worked with our literary partners across the country and reached out to others across the globe to show we are willing to do whatever we can to highlight the importance of reading," says Webb, 34. Coming from a state known for its problems with school drop-outs and illiteracy, Webb considers it an honor to be on the frontline of this important war.

Using the national platform of his radio show Conversations LIVE! (, the influence of his co-ed book club Conversations ( and his webisodes created by The Write Stuff, Webb has seen tremendous support from literally every state in the country and individuals in the United Kingdom, Africa, Australia and Canada.This was evident when The Write Stuff hosted its 1st National Day of Reading that was held on Sat. November 21, 2009. The goal was to host events in all 50 states during the same time as a way to show unity on the cause of promoting reading. 40 states were able to participate, bringing together people of all backgrounds, walks of life and interests. (see )

During the final months of 2009, Webb created Do The Write Thang ( to combine his literary efforsts under one roof. Through it, he has reached out to and garnered support from many well-known celebrities and up-and-coming forces who want to use their influence to promote reading as well. Sponsors and supporters also included For The People Productions, Crunk Magazine, Hype Magazine, NuSouth Magazine, Industry Standard Magazine, Poetic Monthly, AG Press, HHH Magazine, HunidRacks Energy Drinks, Vitaminwater (Louisville, KY) and others.

As 2009 comes to an end, Webb is already looking forward to the events scheduled for 2010. Through his new website, he hopes to show that the influence and example of a person like Oprah---also from Mississippi---can be seen and felt in men as well. He will also continue his outreach to literary supporters across the globe, showcasing what can be done when people work together to achieve a common good.

For more information about The Write Stuff Literacy Campaign, contact Cyrus Webb at or 601.896.5616.

Friday, December 18, 2009

REVIEW: "Electric Honey" by Author Sam Love

I have read many books over the past several years, but it takes a special type of book to make me revisit it and take the time to reread it. "Electric Honey", however, has become one of those books.

We see it all the time: two people are a part of the same event or conversation, yet both come away with different perspectives depending on what they perceive as most important to them.

Written by native Southerner Sam Love, Electric Honey takes that premise to a new level as he writes about a mother and daughter's adventures during the colorful years of the 1960s - and how they actually had more in common than they realized.

Love was a student at Mississippi State during the 60s and was active in anti-war organizing and other events of the time. Though the book is a work of fiction, it does draw from some of his experience of the events and social ideals of the period.

When the story opens, we find Peach, one of the main characters, discovering her mother's diaries while clearing out the attic in preparation for the home being sold.

The book is written in Peach's voice, so we are able to hear her thoughts as she reads about her mother's at the same time.

It's a brilliant way of comparing and contrasting, because we are getting the pure truth from both women. A truth that would not be evident any other way.

If I'm to be honest here, I have never been very interested in the '60s. Occasionally you hear people mention some of the craziness that is normally associated with that time, but I never cared much.

This book, however, made me want to know more.

In reading it, I saw what Peach came to realize as she poured over her mother's journals - there really is nothing new under the sun.

There are so many parallels to what happened 40 or so years ago to what is going on today, that you can see why parents can appreciate some of the madness we are experiencing, while others panic and are ready to admit defeat. Sam Love shows us that such was the case then as well.

You had individuals who were so concerned about keeping order and stability that they were willing to raise all kinds of havoc to do so.

At the same time you had young, wide-eyed young people who were willing to question and understand things outside of their comfort zone, and instead of being encouraged, some tried to crush them. Sound familiar?

What Peach comes to understand at the end of the book is that she really wasn't so different from her mother after all. They both had their own sense of curiosity, adventure and substance; but at the time, they seemed to focus on the things that separated them.

I think we have all learned that is never the way. I should mention that when we do meet Peach, she is not only a mother, but a grandmother and with these milestones behind her. I suspect this has done much to refine her ideals as well.

The lessons I took from Electric Honey?

Things are not always as they appear to be, no matter how "informed" you think you might be on a particular subject. Instead of focusing so much time on what separates us, let's take a little time to look for some common ground.

By doing this, someone we once looked at as an enemy might just end up as one of our closest friends.

Find out more about the author by visit

Saturday, December 12, 2009

REVIEW: “A Voice Behind Thunder” by Carrie Elizabeth Greene

“A Voice Behind Thunder” by Carrie Elizabeth Greene

(Note: Cyrus Webb interviewed the author on Conversations LIVE! Radio. You can hear the interview at this link: His print interview with the author can be read here:

We all have been there: faced with a decision that could either be the greatest move in our lives or one of the most disastrous. Try as we might to weigh both sides and make a sensible decision there is always something inside that tells us what way we are supposed to go. Some call it our conscience. I have heard others refer to it as “the little voice”. The latter came to me as I finished reading the debut novel by Mississippi author Carrie Elizabeth Greene called A Voice Behind Thunder.

She has managed to craft together a storyline that is not only universal but somber in its message. We meet a couple who like many are trying to balance their personal lives with their faith and daily responsibilities. It’s not easy as we know, but they are trying to please each other while being true to their faith. You have the husband, Donovan, who believes there is a place for everything and everything should be in its place. In his efforts to be all things to all people, though, he unwittingly leaves his wife, Rachel, unattended and easy prey for temptation which comes in the form of a manipulator named Marcus.

The chain of events that occur next threaten to destroy them all, but hope is not lost. Remember, Donovan does want to do the right thing, and though he is confronted with challenges that could end his life he remains true to what he believes to be his calling: helping others. When the truth begins to unfold he has a conversation with Marcus that underscores what I believe to be the message of the entire book.

“Marcus, you are the only one who can make the difference,” Donovan says during a heated exchange. “Only you have the power to calm this raging storm. There is a small voice; if we listen we can hear it speaking softly to us. Far behind the thunder in our minds, it’s speaking to our hearts. Listen to the voice, Marcus, and God will help you do the right thing.”

Marcus’ next words mirror the feelings of some who have hardened their hearts: “I stopped listening a long time ago, and I don’t want to heart it anyway. I like what I’m doing. I did a lot to accomplish this, I don’t want to change.” (p. 180)

I don’t want to give the rest of the story away, but I think all of us do well to read this book and see how we can best respond to that ‘voice’ we are faced with from time to time. Kudos to Greene for helping us to realize that with all the hustle and bustle we face in life, when it seems we are all alone maybe it’s because we just aren’t listening hard enough. Don’t worry, though. There is still time, so let’s begin right now.

Review written by Cyrus A. Webb, President of Conversations Book Club and host of Conversations LIVE! Radio. He can be reached at

FUNKGHOST: Using Influences From The Past To Create Music For The Future

FUNKGHOST: Using Influences From The Past To Create Music For The Future by Cyrus Webb

The man called the “Morris Day of Hip Hop” is relishing in the acclaim his single “The Way I Rock My Clothes” is getting, but remains focused on the goal of just giving the world good music. Known in the business as Funkghost, the Tampa, FL native has always been around beats. His father was a part-time dj, and Funkghost was a fan of the 8 tracks around him and was drawn to music made by artists like Run DMC.

Throughout the years he has always tried to show his support for any creative endeavor, looking for ways to build on his personal brand. As he began to build his reputation, Funkghost knew it was just as important to sell who you are as a person as it is to get your music out to the masses.

Over the years he has been asked for his advice by new artists who are trying to break into the business or that are looking for staying power. What does he tell them? “Don’t sign anything with anyone until you have your paperwork and yourself together legally. You have to protect your name and your image at the same time.”

Funkghost also draws on his own means of staying grounded for the next tip. “Surround yourself with successful people. Relationships are key. Make sure you are in a position where you are keeping all options and doors open.”

Looking back over his career in the entertainment business, Funkghost sees himself as a more seasoned artist and definitely more confident in who he is and what he represents. Above anything, he believes in being true to himself.

When asked how he defines success, Funkghost says it is getting new people to know who he is and to hear his music. Because of this, he is always taking advantage of new and innovative ways of connecting with people such as the social networking sites. He sees them as an invaluable way of reaching new heights as he continues forward into the New Year.

Find out more about Funkghost at or follow him on Twitter at

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cyrus Webb Tells You What's Next For The Conversations Brand

2009 has been a great year for promoting reading, and Cyrus Webb of The Write Stuff Literacy Campaign has been taking advantage of every opportunity to sound the alarm about the importance of books. Here are some of the announcements Webb wants you to be aware of...




Over the past six years, Cyrus Webb and Conversations LIVE! Radio have talked to some of the biggest names in arts and entertainment. Now at the end of 2009 and going into Season Seven of the show, they bring their listening audience conversations you don't want to miss...

SUN. DEC. 13, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (6p.m. CST/4p.m. PT) --- Dr. Neal Hall talks about race, the state of the United States and his new book NIGGER FOR LIFE.

Mon. Dec. 14, 2009 @ 8p.m. EST (7p.m. CST/5p.m. PT) --- Constantine Markides is the host of the first blog-based reality show Fourth Fiction. He talk about the inspiration for the show, and some of the contestants from the first season will join him to share their experience.

Listen to the shows live at




It is one of those lists that is a way of recognizing great books and also the authors who write them: Conversations Book Club's "Top 100 Books of 2009". Compiled by Cyrus A. Webb, this is just one way that the literary organization shows why it is one of the best for those looking for best in literature.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Dec. 1: World AIDS Day" by Cyrus Webb

(Listen to the audio of this poem here: )

This day should be committed to memory,
A symbol dedicated to it for all to see
So that we never forget what it represents.
It's one of those issues that we all must face,
Ignoring its influence doesn't begin to erase
The number of lives that have been affected or lost in the years since this social war began.

So now we have a day to recognize,
To get together not only to socialize but remember that every 30 seconds another name is added to the growing list of casualties.

Yet the war wages on, and we have been drafted to the front lines,
Helping others find a reason to join the cause.
And to do that, we must sound the alarm.

Alarm those around us and beyond how risky behavior can harm them--or worse.
We have to consider the role we play and
How to behave so respect can become just as important as our feelings of regret.

This day has been set so none of us forget that we could be among the number referred to in statistics.
The battle is real. HIV is real, and I feel that though the message is being spread, it can be said how important repeating it is.

So this poem is my way of doing just that.
By stating the facts, I react to the pandemic with words put to the page.
And I hope that no matter what the age of the reader, it will help them begin to better respond to their role in the battle--fighting to win.