Saturday, May 29, 2010

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 for Conversations Magazine/Shadow Play Entertainment

The man called the “Morris Day of Hip Hop” is relishing in the acclaim his singles “The Way I Rock My Clothes” and "I'm Your DJ" are 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.” He also understands what it takes to make it in a business like the music industry that changes everyday. "You have to love what you do. If you are doing it for any reason other than your love of the music, it's not going to work."

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 with his career.

You can hear Funkghost's interview on Conversations LIVE! with host Cyrus Webb by clicking here. To find out more about Funkghost, go to or follow him on Twitter at

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cyrus Webb Launches National Campaign to Compete In Oprah TV Challenge

(NOTE: To go directly to the voting site, click here. )

For political pundits, "Super Tuesday" in November 2010 is the date they are watching to see what change will come to America, however, Mississippi native and multi-media personality Cyrus Webb is more interested in Saturday, July 3, 2010. That is the final day of voting in the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity being offered by media mogul Oprah Winfrey. The reward? Five individuals who have the most votes on that date will be finalists in her competition to find the next big tv star. Winfrey has partnered with the celebrated producer of Survivor and The Apprentice to create a competition for her new network,the Oprah Winfrey Network or OWN, and 34-year old Webb believes he has a shot.

"It's not so much about thinking I am better than anyone," says Webb, who has been active in the arts and education-related projects for over a decade. "I just believe that I have been blessed with the ability to help others find and share their voices as well as encourage others to do the same."

In 2003 Webb became the host of his own radio show Conversations with C. A. Webb (now called Conversations LIVE). Since 2003 he has interviewed over 800 guests including some of the biggest names in the arts, entertainment and world of literature and those on the rise, as well as brought attention to issues that matter to everyday individuals. In 2005 Webb followed the radio show with the launch of his local tv show Conversations with C. A. Webb on the ABC affilliate in Mississippi. In 2006 Webb launched what is now the largest co-ed book club in the country: Conversations Book Club. The book club covers all genres and has garnered national attention. Webb has also contributed articles and interviews to over a dozen online and print publications including Mississippi's own Clarion Ledger, Jackson Advocate and The Mississippi Link.

When Webb heard about the competition Oprah was hosting, he knew that it was something he had to do. The contest was announced on Friday, May 14, 2010 and by the 19th Webb had submitted his audition video and was asking for votes.

To help Webb in his endeavor to be one of the 5 finalists on Sat. July 3rd, he is rolling out a national campaign with individuals across the country to make sure the word gets out. He has also launched to allow people a place to learn about him, vote and also do something else: vote for others, too!

"We can't make it in this world alone," Webb explains. "Yes, it is a competition, but I want to help others as they pursue their dreams as well. This is an opportunity for all of us to bring attention to what matters most to us." Because of this, friends of Webb who have entered the competition are also linked on so visitors can vote for them.

Webb is using social networking sites to get the word out and will also be leading an offline campaign complete with t-shirts and posters to remind people to vote all the way to the deadline. "It's all about consistancy," he says. "It's not about how strong you start. It's the finish that matters."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mrs. Jacqueline Bolden of Peeples Middle School: Teaching From The Heart To Reach The Heart

by Cyrus Webb, Conversations Magazine/ Shadow Play Entertainment

She has been a teacher in the public school system for only two years. For Mrs. Jacqueline Bolden, however, her journey to being an educator at Peeples Middle School began many years ago. "It was bound to happen that I would end up teaching," she says with a smile. "When I was little, my grandma called me a school teacher." Referencing her mother and grandmother when it comes to what led her into the schools shows that her family was a major influence in her life. It was that push that led her into childcare first and now where she is today. "Learning has always been important to me."

Learning may have always been a priority, but during Mrs. Bolden's college years, there was some doubt. "I wasted some time," she admits, but in the end I looked at all of the hard work I had put it and knew I had to keep going in order to accomplish my goals."

That goal includes what she is doing today in Jackson, Mississippi. She teaches five classes of students, but anyone who spends time in her classroom know that it's a give and take that gets the students involved. How does she get and keep their attention? "If they know you have passion," says Mrs. Bolden,"they are going to recognize that you are doing this for them. I am a firm believer that if it comes from the heart it goes to the heart."

She also realizes its not just about talking at them. It takes getting involved in their lives as well. "I get respect from the students because I give it to them. I let them know I am here for them." Another thing that separates her classes from others is that she welomes the community's involvement through special guests. In 2010 along she has hosted several indivdiuals that have spoken to her students including Texas authors Jermnine Demouchette and Mr. Mean Mug, California author Herndon Davis and recording artist Lo Watts of Playa Connected. Mrs. Bolden says that this helps them to see that more than just the teachers and the school cares. They see the community and others outside their everyday circle care as well.

It is this attitude that makes her a favorite of those in her classes and a model for others in the public school system to emulate.

Monday, May 17, 2010

(Mon. May 17, 2010) News From Shadow Play Entertainment

Since January 2010, clients of Shadow Play Entertainment have appeared in over 50 stories online and in print as well as on radio an tv programs. With Spring here and Summertime approaching, Shadow Play President Cyrus Webb is excited about what is in the works for the rest of the year as well as things yet to come. In this newsletter you will get a snapshot of current activities and ongoing projects.

* Shadow Play Enertainment's pride and joy, Conversations LIVE! Radio, is gearing up for it's 7th year of interviews and discussions in July 2010. To prepare, the program is taking a hiatus beginning Monday, June 7, 2010 until Friday, June 25, 2010. When the program returns it will continue to host Chef Bruce Tretter's "Quick and Easy Cooking", Herschel Dixon's "Weekly Sports Wrap-Up" and Gail Ambeau's "Fashion Forward". New to the line-up will be an exciting new program called "Inspirational Conversations" with Cyrus Webb and co-host Mary Gilder, author of A MISREPRESENTATION OF MYSELF. It will air live on Sunday mornings at 10:30a.m. EST (9:30a.m. CST/7:30a.m. PT) and include an musical selection, words of inspiration for the week by Gilder and either a guest or book selection from Webb. Look for more details soon at

* On Thursday, May 20, 2010, J. Nicole Spencer (author of SARAH'S SECRETS) will be an in-studio guest on The Angie Strader Show. Details are at or

* Ladies, are you looking for something that visually expresses the beauty you feel about yourself on the inside? Then fashion designer Gail Ambeau has something for you. Introducing Ambeau's Affirmations, and the first t-shirt, I AM BEAUTIFUL, is now available. See the shirt and get details at and purchase yours here:

* Throughout May 2010 and continuing throughout September 2010, a body of talented authors are "touring" the world with Shadow Play Entertainment through interviews, profiles and book discussions in what is called the Conference Call Conversations Tour. Visit for all the details about how you can "book" any of them today. You can also purchase their book directly from the site through Participating authors include Electa Rome Parks (DIARY OF A STALKER), Jermaine Demouchette (JAMES DEMOUCHETTE VS. THE STATE OF TEXAS), J. Nicole Spencer (SARAH'S SECRETS), Andre Johnson (YEARNING FOR CONTROL), Deborah Gary (TEENAGE MOTHER'S GUIDE TO SURVIVAL: Rising Above The Odds), D. D. Turner (CHRONICLES OF A HIP HOP LEGEND), Steve Hyppolite (A WARRIOR'S PASSAGE), Mary E. Gilder (A MISREPRESENTATION OF MYSELF), Mr. Mean Mug (TATTOO TEARS), Maria Stewart (LOOKING FOR CLOSURE), Mark Eller (TRAITOR), Gary Kaschak (LIFESTONE), Rita B. Davis (OVERWHELMED), Joseph Henderson (I DON'T WANT TO DIE ALL ALONE), Patricia A. Thomas (GOD REVEALS A MYSTERY), H. Michael Harvey (PAPER PUZZLE), T. C. Alexander (CONSEQUENCES OF ADULTERY), Dr. Diane Hassan (ANGELS AMONG US...EVEN IN IRAQ), DeLa Sandra McKnight (THE SPIRIT OF NEW ORLEANS) and Tray Chaney (THE TRUTH YOU CAN'T BETRAY).

* In May 2010 Cyrus Webb visited Mrs. Jacqueline Bolden's classes at Peeples Middle School in Jackson, MS to talk about who they are, how the world sees them and what their plans are for the future. The project was called "What Makes Me ME" and resulted in the students pouring out their hearts on paper for the world to see. Read their amazing stories here:

* Ever since USA Today profiled Cyrus Webb's forum on the Presidential election in 2008, his series "Cyrus Webb Presents..." has gotten national attention. Now with them being carried not only with in-person events but through his radio show Conversations LIVE!, people everywhere are paying attention and getting involved. See which conversations you missed and what's coming up at this link:

For more information about any of the above, contact Cyrus Webb at or 601.896.5616. You can also find out additional information at or

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shadow Play Entertainment Presents "What Makes Me ME" Volume 1

They're only four words, but they can be a question or an absolute expression of who you are: "What Makes Me ME". That was the assignment that multi-media personality Cyrus Webb of Shadow Play Entertainment presented to Mrs. Jacqueline Bolden's students at Peeples Middle School in Jackson, MS on May 4th and 5th of 2010. Regardless of what they thought their fellow classmates knew about them or what others might have said about them, this was their opportunity to share with the world who they were in their own words.

It was a challenging assignment, but one that most of the students took hold of and completed. They were not told what to share. They were not told how much to write. They were just asked to tell you about them.

Here you will find the essays that will be part of a special project that Shadow Play Entertainment and Cyrus Webb are calling "What Makes Me ME, Volume 1". Enjoy!


"Making good grades and being a football player makes me me. First, school and education come first before any sports. Education is important, because it can get you somewhere. Playing sports is great, too, but I still go with education. Football is my favorite sport, and I will go pro."

"I am very quiet. I don't like talking to alot of people, because I don't know how to hold a conversation. I love playing video games, because I don't get to go outside. My parents are very protective of me. My plans when I grow up is to become a game designer. One of my biggest goals is to learn how to talk to people without being shy. Everybody always tell me that I will come out of it. I also love animals."

"What makes me me? I like playing basketball. I play for Peeples Middle School. I like making good decisions. I am in the 8th grade and will be going to Terry High School."

"I like teasing. I'm doing good at school. I'm passing all of my classes, and I already know how to drive."

"What makes me, me? I've been through alot in my life, but when we discovered that my dad had Alzheimer’s, it was a heartbreaker. What makes me me is that I'm not afraid to say that I actually have emotions. As I stated before, I have been through alot."

"Have you ever felt that you miss something so much that you want to give up all hope? Well, I used to live in Florida with my mom and my brother until we got the news about my dad. I guess the stress was too much on my mom, and we then discovered she had congested heart failure. My feelings are skin deep, and once again the fact that I've been through alot, and I can honestly say I'm a real man. That's what makes me me."

"What makes me me is just by staying to myself. I don't hang around the bad kids. I hang with myself sometimes or with the good kids. When I was in the seventh grade, I got jumped by some kids. This was at Siwell Middle School. I am the one that always get picked on."

"I am very unique. I have my own style. I plan to attend college. When I graduate from college I would like to be a doctor or lawyer. I want to be very successful in my career. I wish that my family had alot of money. If we had that money, I would make our community better and do many more things in the city of Jackson. I hope all my friends go to High School and attend college to make something out of themselves. I also hope they have a good job. This is a little about me. I plan to achieve all of my goals."

"The things that make me Me are the things that have happened in my life. I have been through so much stuff that goes as far as my mother and her decisions. The boys that I have let take part in my life have taught me alot. The girls I used to call my friends are no longer my friends. There is a reason for everything, but sometimes I just can't find it. My sisters and brothers also make me who I am. There are four special people in my life that have made me the person I am today. I love them for everything they do and have done. Another thing That is great in my life is school. If I wasn't in school, I wouldn't be where I am today. I try to ignore the ignorance, and I live for what I want. Life is what you make it."

"I love singing and dancing. My mom is always telling me to stop making all that noise. I try my best at school to make As and Bs on my report card and progress reports. I always try to beat my Step dad at games we play on Xbox 360 all the time."

"In my life sometimes I go through things, but when I go through things, I pray to God. Children have called me out of my name since I was in Elementary School, but I still just move on. The friends I hang around cause me to go the wrong way. I try to stay on the right track and not mess up, but some comes my way every time. At home I sometimes feel sad, because you have to clean, do other things, school, and this and that. Sometimes I just want to go away. It's alot, but I just keep it all in. I let some of it out by crying and my heart just be hurting. The only time I'm happy is when I talk to my boyfriend. He makes me smile, laugh and everything. And we talk on positive things, nothing negative. These are just some of the problems I have in my life."

"What makes me me is the fact that I don't let alot of stuff get to me. I do play alot at times. I have a nonchalant attitude. I'm originally from Gulfport, MS. Since I was in the 4th grade, I've had to from my point of view look out for myself. My mom is just now stepping in my brother's, sisters and my life. My grandparents raised us most of our lives. While living in Clinton (MS), my grandparents gave my sister the choice to either stay with them or stay with my mom. So my brother and me were going to Gulfport with our grandparents. My brother and me lived in Gulfport for about two years, then we moved to Jackson. That's what makes me me."

"I was born in Flowood, MS in River Oaks Hospital on August 28th. My mom told me I was the best things that ever happened to her. Later on when I was two years old, my parents got a divorce, so I moved out to a new house that I know call home. I have two brothers. I love my brothers with all my heart, but they get on my nerves. For 1st through 3rd grade I was in Catholic school. The tuition got too high, and I was sent to public school. I got to fighting with my friend in 4th grade, . I was later suspended and couldn't go to the dance. Middle School has been fun. I have had arguments with a couple of my friends. I have learned when people talk about you that you shouldn't take it to heart, because they most likely are insecure and need to talk about others to make themselves feel better."

"What makes me me is... ME. I have my own way of life, my own swagger. My mom and dad are in my life. My dad is not visible, but he is heard everyday at night. He is overseas on a contractor job, so my mom is at home with me trying to make due until my dad comes home. I actually don't like my home, because my mom treats me like I was the stepchild, and because my sister is pregnant. She is the royal child. I think that she should be the stepchild for getting pregnant. My big brother lives with us, too. I can't wait until my dad comes home, because when he is here a whole lot of things change. I am the person that makes me me."

"If I had a chance to make a difference in my life, I would turn my life around by not cussing and acting like a child. I am a quiet, confident person, and the one true dream that I really want to accomplish is becoming a rapper. I love to rap. I could rap about anything and everything. When I was younger, I used to write stories but now I love to rhyme so I'm going to stick to tat one true dream."

"In my life I am having problems with my mom. She treats my younger three brothers better than she treats me. Sometimes that hurts. In my future I want to work with animals. I love to be around and help animals. I plan on owning my own vet, but I also want to follow in the career of drawing. Basically I am torn in between the two."

"My mom is what makes me. I say this, because no matter what I do she will support me no matter what is said. I have also told her that after I leave college that I would like to start my own daycare. She said that she would do all that she could do to help me. She has even helped me now by telling her friends about my babysitting."

"For my high school year I will be attending Forest Hill High School. I am on their drill team for 2010-2011. My favorite hobby is dancing."

"I am from New Orleans, LA. I like to dance and do hair. I've had so many deaths in my family. It been kind of hard for me to get back on track. I like to read various types of books with lots of drama. I really do not have problems, but I have family issues I have to deal with until it gets taken care of. When I get older, I want to have my own shop full of hair products."

"My past is what makes me me. My mother is a very strict woman. My mother was beaten by my stepfather around 2006. Ever since then she's gotten even more strict. When I was twelve, I did think about suicide. I couldn't take living any longer. People were spreading rumors, and I had gotten punished for getting suspended. That's what made me the man I am, and I've been dreaming big since then. When I grow up I want to become an attorney. I am going to pursue my dreams to the fullest."

"I'm a funny and cool person to hang around. I love being with my friends and on the phone."

"What makes me me is that I have not had the greatest childhood. My dad used to beat on my mom. I have seen my friends do drugs, and have had one of my friends shot in the head. I have been bit by a pit bull on my arm. I have a cousin who was shot in front of his house. I am still positive about the future. When I grow up, I would like to become a pro football player."

"What made me me? What made me me is how my mother stays on my tail. My mother wants everything to be perfect. She always tells e that I can do better, but I like the way she stays on me. It helps me to do better as I grow up in the big world. It getting easier as I get older."

"The only one bad thing that I can actually remember is that a person close to me has gotten beaten. I actually remember we were going to the park and my grandma and her boyfriend stayed in the car. I saw him beat her while in the car. I'm glad to say that she got out of it and now is an ordained minister. Since I see that she turned her life around and is doing something good, that inspires me to just listen to my elders and stay on the right track. I also want to be a best-selling author."

"What I want to do for now is get a car and play football then get a house and live my life on from there."

"What makes me me is that I do things that some kids don't do. The person that made me who I am today is my grandma. I am the second oldest sibling, and I stay with my grandma and my oldest sister. I lost my dad while in the 4th grade. I lost his mother (my other grandma) in the 3rd grade. Every night before I go to sleep, I sometimes crazy. I always had somebody to talk to, but now they're gone. My grandma on my mother's side is trying to stay strong for me. I always was with my dad every day after school. I remember what my daddy told me. He said, 'Whenever a door closes, God always opens a window or another.' I sometimes cry when I talk about the things that we did. I was at Blackburn Middle School before I came to Peeples. I really like it here at Peeples because I made alot of friends. So all I got to say is R.I.P. to my Dad and my grandma. I love both of you no matter what. I will always do what you told me. I will watch over my sisters and brothers like I promised. So I love you both and will never do anything to disappoint you."

"I am a racer. I will go for anything that can make me successful in life. I want to be an engineer, lawyer and maybe a film producer. I got a dirt bike that take names like that hot rod or ninja. That little green bike can move faster than a car. I will take any challenge in life. Live on, kids, and follow your dream."

"The first major thing happened to me 5 years ago when my mom's fiancé was shot 16 times at his job. The second thing that happened to me was 8 years ago when I was 6 years ago when I was 6 years old. I was hit by an Explorer truck. I had an abusive stepmother and instead of hitting me, she ran over me. The only person I could talk to died when I was in the hospital, so that really hurt, too. What I want to do is talk to children and help them make good decisions when they get older. I also want to be a lawyer to make sure people get treated fairly. I want to be the First Lady President. I want to be a congresswoman. I feel like there's alot I can do to help my community and everyone in it. All the money I make will go towards rebuilding my community and helping the disabled adults and children. God is love, and love is hope that we will succeed."

"I grew up in Raymond, MS, living with my grandparents. I used to live in an abusive household with my father beating on my mother. Every since then I told my mom I will never go through what she went through. As a child getting older, I didn't understand why he did what he did, so I treated him different. Then during my sixth grade year in school the most tragic thing happened to me: my dad died at the age of 38. I was only 12 when it happened. Every since then I have always dreamed of being a doctor."

"I am in the band at Peeples Middle School. I want to become a businessman and run my own company."

"I am a great person. Sometimes I act foolish, but I have a very good life. I want to become a very successful person and graduate college. From here I want to go on and fulfill my dream to become a pro football player. I also want to become a loving and caring father."

"The struggle in my economy and family are what make me who I am today. The pain also makes me who I am. I want to be a well known football star that everyone knows."

"As a little girl, I participated in pageants. I was Little Miss America. Nobody wanted their daughters to compete against me. They always used to ask my mom for tips and advice, but she never told them too much. In middle school I participated in drill team and track. At first I couldn't really dance, but I eventually learned how. In track I was the truth. It's almost like I'm an Energizer Bunny because after a race in like 5 min. I would be ready to run again. When I grow up I plan on going pro in track and look up to my role model Wilma Rudolph."

"I was born in November 1995 in Jackson, MS. I attend Peeples Middle School. When I finish with middle school, I would like to attend Forest Hill High School. After that I would like to attend Mississippi State University. I want to become a successful pediatrician when I finish college."

"I'm a very young gentleman who loves school, and I'm very active. I want to become a famous NBA All-Star, but if I don't make it there, I will become an architect."

"I am smart, and I want to play football when I grow up. I have played it ever since I was little. When I get to the Pros, I'm going to make a lot of money and take care of my family because it is the right thing to do. I want to play for the New Orleans Saints because that is one of my favorite teams."

"I'm kind of a mama's boy. My favorite sport is football, and yes I kills in that. I also enjoy boxing. Someday I would like to become a professional boxer, and yeah I'm going to be undefeatable. That's just me."

"I want to become a mathematician. I love math. My attitude makes me me. I have a smart mouth which makes me fun. Also people who talk about me makes me who I am, because it makes me stronger."

"My father did drugs and tried to himself many times. One day he supposedly succeeded. That was about 5 years ago. Ever since, I have been lonely. I tried to kill myself once, but I stopped myself. I feel as if I have been abandoned, so tend to keep to myself. I like to be alone, but I always want someone there for me. I feel as if no one cares about me, and no one loves me. Even though I am going through this, I still wish to be somebody. I don't really know what I want to be when I grow up, but I want to explore different things and find what's best for me."

"Most of the time at school I am very loud and fun to be around. I think I have alot of friends because of my happy and funny spirit. I think I am a very intelligent and beautiful young lady that can be anything I put my mind to. I have always wanted to become a beautician since I can remember. I do my hair, my family's hair and even my friends. I'm very good at what I do. It has been my dream to own my own beauty shop or be a stylist. I know that I can and will make my dream come true. I don't take no as an answer."

"I grew up in Jackson (MS) and lived with my grandparents most of my younger childhood. I lived on the inside of abuse done by my father towards my mother. I saw many different cruel acts done against the people I love and because of that I became depressed. I also tried to commit suicide twice. But by the grace of God, I realize that I could be better than that. I love school, and I want to get a good education. I have big dreams for myself. I want to open outreach centers for young girls with stories like mine. I also want to be a general surgeon. I know that I can do anything I try."

"I am a charming, gregarious 8th grader with big dreams. I love dancing, playing, drawing and hanging out with my friends. As the youngest of 4 siblings, I have to make the grades, because I know that my brothers and sisters have already thrown their lives away. Later in life, I want to become a J-Sette of Jackson State. I also would love to become a lawyer."

"I am a cool, funny, smart and crazy girl. When I come to school I have many friends talking to me and clowning around every day. Also, when I am at home, I like to go outside and play with my friends and chill with them. One day I found out that my cousin was in a car accident because he was drinking alcohol, and it made me want to commit suicide. Then I had to think about what would happen to my life. I want to be a basketball player when I get older, and I can't have that dream come true if I die."

"I am a smart, sophisticated, loving girl that attends Peeples Middle School. When I come to school people see me as a smart, funny and crazy girl. At home I'm the coolest person you can ever know. My second aunt was raped and beaten nearly to death. Everyday I think about her screaming it makes me sad. When I grow older I want to become a Federal Marshall."

"I love my life. I love to play football, basketball, soccer and baseball. I have a great family and great friends. I like to hang out with them. I would like to become a pro football player."

"I am a very confident and mature person. I love to be with my family and friends. When I am with my friends, we always have fun---and I am often loud. I am a very outgoing and fun person to be around. I can be silly and goofy, but when it's time to be serious, I can be very serious. I believe I can do anything I get my mind to and that nobody can stop me or put me down. I am not sure what I want to be, but I know I love to be photographed. I know I want to be someone that helps people and make a difference. I want to help people through problems."

"Different things have happened in my life that I wished hadn't happened. My father has diabetes, and my grandpa does too.. Usually they have to go to the hospital alot, and I worry about them alot. My family wants me to make something out of myself. They want me to be better and do things better than what they did. I want to be a singer when I grow up, but if that doesn't really work out, I want to be a lawyer and set examples for other young people that want to reach their dreams."

"I was born in Michigan. My mom was a great woman, but my dad beat on her and always tried to strangle her. By grace she didn't die. My dad used to always tell someone he was going to shoot them...and that's how he died. My dad was in a gang. He lived by the gun and died by the gun. After he died we moved from place to place. We finally got stable and moved to Mississippi. After a few months our step dad moved in. he beat us for everything. One day my sister called (child) services on him, and we were interviewed but nothing happened.. My sister and I ran away one time. They put us in a shelter separating me from my sister, and then we moved in with my aunt. I stayed there about 2 years. This time I believe I'm at the right place. I have won many certificates, and I am ready to go to college to major in Biology and become an orthodontist or dermatologist."

"What makes me me is being criticized by everyone everywhere I go. I have girls who look at me everyday like they're disgusted at me when I haven't done anything to anyone. Boys pick on me because I am smaller than they are, and I don't have the courage to speak up for myself. I can honestly say, though, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger. For years now my family has been having issues with one another. When they get like this, it takes a toll on the whole family. We can't see each other or talk to each other. My aunt lost her mother when she was younger and hasn't been the same since. My mom is scarred along with my uncle and aunt because my cousin was murdered. Some boys jumped him, put a sock in his mouth, and they burned the sock. My sperm donor was never a part of my life. I wish I could call him daddy. It's a little late for that. My stepfather is all the dad I need..."

"Born in September 1996...I attended private school about eight years, then I came to public school..."

"I have to go through alot of things. My dad was shot in the chest. He died in 2004. Then in 2008 my aunt was stabbed numerous times and run over by her boyfriend. In 2009 my grandma and grandfather died. It was hard to see my grandmother leave first and two days later my grandfather died. I was once beat by my mom's boyfriend. Sometimes I would just want to run away. He would sometimes tell me I won't be anything, but he don't know what I can be. He can't stop me from becoming a teacher. That's what I have wanted to be. When my dad passed away, in school my As and Bs became Cs and Ds. It was hard for me to stay focused on my school work. It's hard when you lose your loved ones..."

"What makes me me is staying positive and staying focused. What I have been through in the past is very sad. I lost alot of people. Everybody I was close to died. Every time I think about it I just want to die. I hate the way I look and my size. People talk about my weight and make me want to crawl in a corner and die. I tried to cut my wrists and overdose on pills. I used to smoke weed and was out of control. I talked back to the teachers and said I didn't care. Now I have decided that I don't want to kill myself like my best friend did. We did everything together and now she is dead. So now I'm trying to be a better person. Now I pray every night and tell God to watch over my loved ones and me. I am 15 years old."

"I was born in California and am the youngest in my family. When I was seven years old, my mother died in her sleep. After that, it seemed like nothing was going to get better. I've been talked about, beat on and lied on. It all seemed to happen everyday of my life, but it's one thing I always think of: I'm still here."

"I went through alot in my life. My granddaddy died when I was twelve, and my aunt was shot in the head when I was fourteen. (I am now 15.) My aunt was the closest thing to me. She taught me how to do hair, and she had her own hair salon. I wanted to be just like her when I was little. She would always tell me to think about school and not something that would get me in trouble. One weekend she was at her hair salon, and she went to the club and dropped me off at home. At one o'clock that night she called my momma and told her she got in a fight with some girls at the club. My momma told her just to go home and call her when she gets home. We didn't hear from my aunt in 2 days. We called the police, and they found her in her car shot in the head twice. That was the worst day of my life. I wanted to kill whoever did it."

"What makes me ME? That's a good question. What makes me is my drive and determination. Another thing that makes me ME is the music in my head, the music that surrounds me, and the music I play. Most days I sit in my recliner at home and think about life when mine started, and how it's going to end. I've been through alot over the past 5 years. First it started with the death of my great-grandfather when I was eight. I thought I wasn't going to be sad, but I felt it later on. Then my Uncle died in a car crash. I cried for two days. Now I'm hearing about my (other) uncle dying and now I'm going to have to go to his funeral... After all that, I'm still going to overcome it all. I sit and think of what's going to be my next step to me achieving my dream."

"Dad left my mom when I was only 2 months old, because he was too young and afraid to be a father. It still hurts to know that I grew up without a father. Even though that doesn't matter right now. Growing up with 2 sisters that were very mean and hateful is nothing nice. It was all about jealousy. The older sister was jealous of me because I was the baby. The middle sister was jealous of me because I got more attention from our mother. All this went on everyday until I was 8 years old. When I turned 8, I had to take care of my grandma who was suffering from cancer, diabeties,etc. My aunt was so special to me. I watch both my grandma and aunt suffer. I really thought I was watching and making them die, because I didn't really know how to take care of anyone---not even myself. After they both died in March and May of 2007, my mom began to see the light. She is still grieving today because she has no one to vent to. She tries to encourage us all. I want to be a psychiatrist, but my real passion is art. It help me get away from all the anxiety people dish out to me. Psychiatry is a passion also because all the things that I have been through. I would like to help someone. I want someone to come to me and say that I changed their life, and I made a difference. Still today I am suffering but I think of them as my joy because if I didn't have problems who would I be? Would I even be me?"

"It was hard growing up without food and no clean clothes. As I got older I became successful. I can give my sisters what I didn't have and show them a better life. If my mother doesn't have what they need or can't help them with anything, I am there for them, and I will always be there through thick and thin. If they need anyone to talk to, they an count on me. My mother has been beaten by her boyfriend and then turn around and go back to them. I used to be mad at her... It was tough growing up seeing things happened to my mother when you're not that old and can't help. Now I will lay down my life for my family. If anything happens to them, I will be next. My mother will try to do anything that she could to help us."

"I am a young girl with alot of dreams, potential and integrity. Over the years I have been through alot. Starting with drugs, to crime, to deaths. As I grew up I promised myself that I would not let these problems overwhelm me. I am a person who is very sensitive and caring, but I am someone who strives to do and be the best I can be. My mother grew up in a full household. She has also been through alot. She has taught me to remember that as I grow up there are going to be tons of obstacles that try to derail me, but I have to remember that I am of royal priesthood with nothing missing, nothing broken. I am powerful! That means alot to me. Not too long ago I used to think that I wasn't good for anything or that I couldn't achieve anything. After a while I came to realize that I am who I am. I can be whoever I want to be as long as I keep my trust in God. That has made a difference."

"I don't know what's going to happen when I wake up or close my eyes. If you ask me, the world that we live in can really change a person's like. I was born in Jackson, raised in the deep country without the mind to dream big. You would never know what's going to happen in the next stage in your life. The way males see me, I seem to never know if they come just for me and not for what I have. Boys come and go. They say all kinds of things to me that feel all good and special inside, but they already know what their purpose is---and I don't have a clue. In my household, my mom always says that boys only want one thing, but you know when you get this feeling that always tell you he's different, and you may take up for him until he breaks your heart. I just want the right person to come for me with a good purpose: to love me and not what they see."

"I have had a great life so far. Well, I grew up with my dad in jail, but my step dad took care of my mom and us. We always went to see my dad, my sister and me. I have 1 sister and 5 brothers. My dad has a girl and 4 boys and my mom has 1 girl and 5 brothers. When my dad got out, we started to go over to his house all the time."

"I was brought up in Flora and Jackson, MS. When I was younger, I lived with my great grandma and I saw a lot. My uncle sold crack and was in and out of jail. My grandma didn't have alot of money to take care of us. My mom really wasn't around when I was younger. I moved with her when I was in the 3rd grade. I always wanted to run away because she treated her friends better than us. I learned how to channel my anger when I started to play football. My grades started to fall because I was always mad. During last summer I got to fighting with my mom and dad. She sent me to D. C. I really never had motherly love. That's why I think I love everybody I get close to like Mrs. Bolden."

"I have witnessed a gun being pulled on my older brother and I hear about my brothers getting into trouble. They would get into altercations with people and they would think nothing of it, but they learned the hard way. On March 14th of 2009 we were in the house asleep, and we heard something that sounded like fire crackers. Someone was shooting in our house! When the police came they said that they had found over 67 bullet shells in front our yard. My mom could not believe that no one was hurt, because there were so many bullet holes through the house. My brothers are getting into trouble until this day."

"My mom is in jail for 17 years. She got there because of being abused by my little brother's father. She ended up stabbing him during one of their fights. I have tried to put it in the back of my head, but it just plays over and over in my mind. People say I'm mean, but it's just that I have a lot to deal with and I sometimes don't won't to be bothered. I want so badly to be a J-Sette at Jackson State, and my mom does too! I don't want to mess up my future thinking about my mom and where she is. Her being in prison isn't going to stop me from going to college and dancing. You wanted to know why I'm mean sometimes, kind of empty-headed at times, mad, crying and tense. Well now you know. No one knows my struggle, but I feel it every day."

"My life is what makes me ME. I have a life where everything is good. I have a mom, sisters and step-father that love me, and I love my family."

"Growing up I was very shy. Didn't talk much. Then I began to come out of my little shell and make friends. At a young age I began to see how easily a person could ruin their whole life. I've seen people drop out of school, lose jobs, have a child and do drugs. Seeing all the struggles others went through made me strive for excellence. I try to do my best in school, stay abstinent and at the same time keep others from destroying their lives. As a result I hope to be a psychologist. This is what makes Me ME."

"I have lost alot of family members: my sister, brother and my dad. My mom is in Iraq, and I live with my other sister. My brother was shot nine times, because he was selling drugs. That really worried me. When I get older I want to be a lawyer. Nobody will tell me that I'm not going to be a lawyer, because I'm positive."

"I was born in Houston, TX in November 1995. I have one sister, and she's the oldest. I have been living in Mississippi for 10 years and so far I don't like it...."

"What makes me me is my personality. I am different than other people. I am a talented young lady, and I love to act. I want to be an actress and a model. I love to take pictures. I love to listen to music. The type of music I listen to is pop and rap. My next stage in life is to go to acting summer camp and take pictures for a portfolio. I want to always be remembered in life just like Michael Jackson. My favorite singer is Rihanna. I idolize her. I also like Trey Songz. he is the most sexiest man I know. The most sexiest wrestler is John Morrison. I love to watch him fight."

"There are many things I can tell you about me. First off, I was born to beautiful people: my mother who is a teacher and my father who is deceased due to a car accident. I am in many extra curricular activities in and out of school. At school I play in the band and I play soccer. At home I play baseball and football for two community teams. I guess that makes me an all round guy. I am also very good at academics. I am in APAC, and I am doing well in all my classes. Other than that everything is normal for me. I have a great school, family and personal life---and I couldn't ask for anything better."

"I attend Peeples Middle School in the eighth grade. This school is one of the best. My goal is to become a pro football player. I've wanted to play football ever since I was little."

"I am different from others I know. I am unique and talented. I have a different attitude than others. I guess I just have a different look at the world. I know I live in the state that is the poorest, fattest and crime-ridden. You have to see my world the way I see it. Just because it seems like it's an awful place doesn't mean it is. When I graduate I want to attend UCLA in the medical field. When I finish, I plan to come back down here to help my hometown. I will help bring my city up and take care of it. To me everyone can help make my town even more beautiful. You can't judge a book by its cover."

"I like to play football. I also like to play basketball. I am going to Wingfield High School."

"In my mind I am one of the most famous people on earth, according to my dreams. I am very normal in my sight which some people don't see. I am very careless about violence, rumors and crimes as long as I'm not committing them. I will be a director, producer, actor and filmmaker. Most of all I will be one of the most creative minds on earth. I can do it all."

"What makes me me is my smarts and my being a nice person. I believe my being the way I am can get me everywhere. My smarts can come in handy one day."

"When I was growing up I was dealing with my anger management problem, and I had a bad temper sometimes. I don't like when people try to yell at me. That made me mad. When I grow up I will try to lose my temper and management problem. I will go to college for 2 to 4 years to get my license to be a police officer."

"In the future I plan on attending Southern Miss. I am going there to become an engineer. In my life I have had trials and tribulations, and God has helped me to overcome them."

"What makes me me is playing sports and video games. What makes me me is the fact that I am nice. What makes me m is that I like play sports."

"What makes me me is when I love to obey my parents. I love to read, write and play basketball. What makes me me when I have good grades on my report card. I am very athletic. what makes me me is when I am kind to everybody I see."

"I went to Oak Forest Elementary, and I went to John Hopkins in 5th grade. I plan on going to Jim Hill High School next year. My favorite sports are football and basketball. My favorite hobby is playing my games. My favorite rapper is Lila' Boosie."

"When I'm at home I play basketball half the day. I always wear Jordan’s or Nikes. I stay in South Jackson. I have two sisters and no brothers. My favorite color is blue. My favorite rapper is Lil' Boosie."

"I'm a teenage girl that thinks success is impossible, beauty is not within and attention will never be given. Therefore I wonder what is the need of being my best if it will never be noticed. My favorite subject is Math. I dream of being a Math Teacher. Will that ever happen? I wonder. I am a very gregarious person, but will I ever have true friends? Will I ever get the attention I always wanted from my family? I wonder about my future life every moment, because I'm scared that I might not make it."

"What makes me me is acting like I have good sense. The children at school call me Shawty Lo because I always get low. I got saved when I was 14 years old. I stay representing my hood everywhere I go. I have plenty of talent that I can show the world. When I grow up I am going to become a successful lawyer and cosmetologist. After I graduate from college I plan on going back to get my masters degree. In my family there are plenty of pastors, missionaries and evangelists. My family is the best thing that ever happened to me. I don't let anything or anybody get me down. I have a praying and loving family that stays together. One thing about me is that I’m not going to let anyone mess with my family. I am a little crazy, but I can have fun, too. I love to party all the time. I am a respectful young lady. I carry myself well. I don't like being messy or hanging with messy kids."

"I am an 8th grader at Peeples Middle School, and as I grew up in Jackson it wasn't the most exciting thing. My life as a child wasn't the best, but my mother always tried to make it the best. Growing up with a single parent is hard, but as I got older it began to get better. What makes me me is my love and respect for people, my intelligence and my individuality. I respect people because in return I would want respect back. When I grow up I would like to become the first black female President of the United States. Before becoming President, I am going to become a lawyer."

"I have always had an extraordinary life. There re so many wonderful goals I have for my future. Something that no one knows about is that I want to be an actress. It has always been my dream to be an actress, and I know my family will support me on my decision. My family will always support me in any career or goal I choose. I have always been a fortunate person when it comes to my family in the past and present. There has also been hard times in my family, like death. Even though I'm not perfect, I know that I will always have my family to fall back on.

"What makes me me is my personality. I love myself no matter how much someone else may hate me. I love myself even though my childhood was rough. I love me. I went through alot with my dad and step mom, but I still love them both. I moved in with my mom when I was 8 years old. I lost my Grandma at the age of 11 and my Granddad at the age of 4. I miss them both, but I have to remember they are in a better place. I am the 4th child out of 5. I want to be a doctor and handle babies, because I love them so much. I want to play basketball in college, and that is what makes me me!"

"When I was young I had a rough childhood. I was always picked on by my older siblings, and no one ever said anything about it. I was picked on because I was the smallest, but as the years passed I started to grow. One night we were moving, and my older cousin tripped me, so I ran up to him and started beating him. I developed an anger problem, but that was my past. Now I'm in Middle School, and I plan on joining the Army or become a veterinarian. I want to go to Texas Tech University."

Monday, May 10, 2010

INTRODUCING "Cyrus Webb Presents..."

Since 1999, artist/author/columnist, radio and television show host Cyrus A. Webb has been hosting events that have kept people talking. You are now invited to join him for a special series of discussions geared towards sparking conversation and addressing hot button issues. "Cyrus Webb Presents..." will have something for everyone, but more importantly, it will allow the public to be involved. Using an interactive chat room and taking calls, the entire program will let you be heard.

Below is a listing of topics discussed and events centered around them:

* (MISSION ACCOMPLISHED) Thurs. July 16, 2009: "Hip Hop Under Obama: Change We Can Believe In?",Part One with Taj Longino of Hype Magazine

* (MISSION ACCOMPLISHED) Sun. July 26, 2009: "A Tribute To E. Lynn Harris"

* Mon. Aug. 10, 2009 - "Faith & Literature" / Bestselling authors Evie Rhodes, Kenneth Worth and Don Greco discuss the role that their faith plays in the books they write.

* Thurs. Aug. 20, 2009 - "RACIAL PRIDE: A Thin Line Between Love & Hate"

* Thurs. Aug. 27, 2009 -"HOW SPORTS LOVERS BALL WITH BOOKS" Featuring guest authors Kurtis Scaletta, Sherry Hill and more!

* Thurs. Sept. 3, 2009 - "Discussion of the book 'Unsigned Hype'" with special guest author Booker T. Mattison

* Sun. Sept. 6, 2009 --- "SEPARATE BUT EQUAL: African American Authors in Today's Bookstores, Part 1" with authors Gloria Mallette, Bernice McFadden and Margaret Johnson Hodge

* Sun. Sept. 13, 2009 --- "SEPARATE BUT EQUAL: African American Authors In Today's Bookstores, Part 2" featuring authors Carleen Brice, Evie Rhodes, Roy Glenn and Tony Lindsay

* Thurs. Sept. 17, 2009 - "Raising Good Kids and Saving The World" with special guest author Nesta Aharoni

* Tues. January 19, 2010 --- "America Under Obama: One Year Later" --- featuring guests Anzour Jallouqa (founder of Global Outreach and host of IGMG Radio), H. Michael Harvey (political commentator and author of Paper Puzzle), Sasha Abramsky (journalist and author of Inside Obama's Brain), Billy Hallowell (political commentator and host of RENEW TV), Matt Harrison (author of The American Evolution) and Ricky Spann (author of Man-Up).

* Sunday, February 21, 2010 --- "Black History and Me" Featuring guests Justina Wheelock (WHERE LOYALTIES LIE), Dr. Neal Hall (NIGGER FOR LIFE) and W. James Richardson (THE ECLIPSE BLUES).

* Tues. Feb. 23, 2010 --- "HIP HOP UNDER OBAMA: One Year Later" featuring guests Jameelah Wilkerson (Hype Magazine and Hype Radio), author Pretty Tony (Playa Step Your Game Up), author Jela (How To Deal With White People), recording artist Chamber, Konata J of Hip Hop Gives Back and author D. D. Turner (Chronicles of a Hip Hop Legend).

* Thurs. Feb. 25, 2010 --- "To Self Publish Or Not To Self Publish" with guests Gary Kaschak and Justina Wheelock

* Sun. March 21, 2010 --- "Cyrus Webb Presents The Herschel Dixon Story"

* Tues. April 27, 2010 --- Cyrus Webb Presents... "THE RHONDA TEAGUE STORY: Invisible No More"

* Thurs. April 29, 2010 --- Cyrus Webb Presents "The Patricia Singleton Story"

After one of Webb's thought-provoking discussions was featured by USA Today Newspaper, there has been national attention on each topic he discusses. Join the conversation...

Have a story you want to share? For more information contact Cyrus A. Webb at or 601.896.5616. His official website is

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Students At Peeples Middle School (Jxn,MS) Share Their Truth In "What Makes Me ME"

(Thurs. May 6, 2010) Since 1999 multi-media personality Cyrus Webb of Shadow Play Entertainment has been visiting schools throughout Mississippi sharing his message of hope with the students and the message that they can succeed at any cost.
On Tuesday, May 4th and Wed. May 5th, he along with recording artist Lo Watts of Playa Connected took the program called the Creative Arts Workshop into Mrs. Jacqueline Bolden's classes at Peeples Middle School. The objective? To show the students that they have more in common than most realize, but that doesn't have to hinder their success.

Over the two days, the students shared how their lives had been impacted by death, abuse, drugs, feelings of worthlessness and self esteem issues. During that same time, though, they also expressed hope for the future and their belief in their abilities to make a difference in the world.

On Day One of the workshop, Webb led the students in a writing exercise called "What Makes Me ME?" In their own words, they shared their experiences about events in their lives--both good and bad--that have shaped who they have become. They also discussed how they can begin working now to see changes in their community.

On Day Two the students participated in a revised version of musical chairs. Each class was assembled in the middle of the room. Webb asked them at the outset if there was one person in the class they thought they didn't have anything in common with. In each group, numerous hands shot up. Over the 5 periods that met on Wednesday, there were 65 students participating. Webb went on to tell them that he was going to ask a question, and if the question pertained to them, they should go and stand against the wall. Collectively, here were the results:

1) Have you had someone in your family or close to you die this year? 42 out of 65 responded yes.
2) Do you know someone in your family or among your friends that has been the victim of abuse? 9 of the 65 responded yes.
3) Does someone you know use or sell illegal drugs? 10 of the 65 responded yes.
4) Have you been picked on at school or know someone who has? 1 student responded yes.

Lo Watts also talked to some of the students about speaking out about what they are going through in life. "No matter what it is," he said, "you shouldn't hold it in."

Both Webb and Watts hope that their visits and similar ones at other schools will help open up a real conversation between students and the community. "I also want to show that all of us---whether we have children or not---have a responsibility to those molding our future," says Webb.

To find out more about what Cyrus Webb and his organization is doing to empower the youth, visit or