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Conversations Magazine Feb./March 2015 Issue

Conversations Magazine Feb./March 2015 Issue
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Introducing Two Out of Three...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dan Bucatinsky: Receiving the Reward For Living An Authentic Life

by Cyrus Webb

Listen to my interview with Dan here.

For Dan Bucatinsky living life authentically has paid off in a big way.

He's an Emmy award-winning actor (bringing to life James Novak on the hit ABC drama SCANDAL), writer and producer and author---and he has done it all on his own terms. This doesn't mean that everyday and every event he has experienced has been the best, but it does mean he has not allowed the challenges he has faced to stop him.

As I chatted with Dan on Conversations LIVE it was clear why so many were inspired by him. He's a man who is married to the love of his life, raising children and doing the kind of work that fulfilled him.

"We only can aspire to a time when a person's sexuality is beside the point," Dan said to me. "It's only one of many things that make a person a person. It doesn't have to be the defining thing about any individual. That's the amazing progress that was made by Shonda Rhimes (the show's creator) on a television show like that."

It is the show's writing and Dan's portrayal of James that has been an inspiration to so many. Just by living his life and doing what he loves has caused others to believe the same is possible for them. Dan told me that knowing he has had that affect on others is "so fulfilling", and what he hopes he is able to do through his platform in the public.

The third season of Scandal saw the demise of Dan's character James, but the show and he have definitely made their mark on the world. I asked him if he was surprised by the response to the show and the way it continues to gain momentum. "In this day and age there is so much competition coming out of our computers and DVRs that anything that stands out in the clutter is a surprise," he told me. "I remember when I read the pilot of Scandal I felt like Shonda had kind of reinvented the genre of the one-hour drama with that pilot. On the one hand it is always a surprise when anything cuts through, but knowing Shonda and how talented she is and how innovative she is I'm not surprised." Dan went on to say that he felt she had "changed our appetite for the speed and the complexity of storytelling, and other shows are trying to keep up."

Since his time on Scandal officially came to an end Dan has been keeping busy on other projects, and is showing no signs of slowing down. His advice for others when it comes to pursuing their dreams? "I feel like the most important thing is to not give up." He enjoys hiking, and using his experience when tackling a steep hill he shares this: "I know that if I stop I definitely will never get to the top. As hard as it seems at times we never really know what will happen unless we keep going. I ask myself 'What are the other options?' I could move a little slower. I could take a little break, but I definitely don't want to ever stop."

May we remember that when we are facing our own steep hills in life.

Stay connected with all things Dan at www.danbucatinsky.com.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Conversations' 25 Women Changing the World, 2015

Conversations Media Group is pleased to announce this year's "25 Women Changing the World".

"This is one of the best lists that Conversations compiles each year," says Cyrus Webb, President of Conversations Media Group and Editor-In-Chief of Conversations Magazine. "Everyday there are women who are taking the lead around the world, showcasing what it takes to be successful and to make a difference. It is our honor to salute these remarkable individuals that are doing amazing things."

As is the custom with Conversations Magazine, you will find women from all walks of life who are involved in various forms of the arts and entertainment world, business and just using their lives as an example for others through their dedication to excellence. 

Here are this year's honorees (in no particular order):

  1. Leeza Gibbons (2nd year honoree)
  2. Katrina vanden Heuvel
  3. Marissa Monteilh
  4. Julie Geller
  5. Viola Davis
  6. Tiffany L. Warren
  7. Dr. Renee Sunday
  8. Talamieka Brice
  9. Andromeda Turre
  10. Frances Calhoun
  11. BJ Gallagher
  12. Helene Weinberger
  13. Bridgette "Bri" Cooper
  14. Katandra Jackson Nunnally
  15. Chelsea Crites
  16. Gina Prince-Bythewood
  17. Renee Lawless
  18. Donna Goldstein
  19. Andie Mitchell
  20. Amanda Ruller
  21. Mary Ellen Ciganovich
  22. DJ Lake Gang
  23. Shonda Rhimes (2nd year honoree)
  24. Ava DuVernay
  25. Donna D'Errico
The March/April 2015 issue of Conversations Magazine (which releases online March 15th) will include interviews and features with the honorees.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

[Opinion] What Do I Owe You?

by Just Jennifer

When two people are in a relationship, they owe it to one another to provide certain benefits. Love, support, financial help, respect, companionship, and honesty are only a few of the benefits that should be expected from your mate. But what about dating? As a 37 year old single mother, I've had my fair share (and possibly someone else's share) of dating. I've had amazing dates and dates that I was sure would end in me being chopped up and served at his next dysfunctional family dinner. True, I love to eat and whoever takes me out will spend a decent amount of money on my dinner, but I've often be left with the question: what do I owe him? 

Ladies, if a man takes you on a nice date, spends his hard-earned money to feed you a delicious meal, flatters you with compliments, and provides a nice evening away from your life and problems, what do you owe him? Do you owe him a second date? How about a sexual favor? He did spend his money on you, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. Listen to me and listen hard: you owe him manners at the table, you owe him the privilege of sitting next to a lovely lady and enjoying a meal. You only owe him the wonderful company of you...or the hot mess of you...whichever category you prefer. Should you choose to go home with him, more power to you. As an adult, that's your choice. But it's most certainly not OWED to him. And men....

I didn't forget you, Gentlemen. What do you owe us? If you take a woman to a nice dinner, you enjoy her company, and it ends up in a fun night of adult entertainment, what do you owe her? Do you owe her a light bill? How about a father figure for little Tommy? Now it's your turn to listen: Nope...not at all...please don't do it. You owe nothing. The fact is that she agreed, as well as you did, to be an adult and involve herself with your manly ways. Stop feeling as if you are now obligated to be her main squeeze! 
Now continue on with your dating. Be sure to remember that you are owed nothing. For all the ladies who already know this, disregard. For all the gentlemen who never push a lady on the first date, you've got my utmost respect. For all those in between...party on, you crazy fools! That's just my opinion, though. ***


*** Just Jennifer is proud to call Mississippi home and welcomes your feedback on this topic. Email your thoughts and questions to Jennifer at justjennifer.cmg@gmail.com. You can also find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/imjustjennifer. (The views expressed here are those of Just Jennifer and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts of Conversations Media Group or Shadow Play Entertainment.)

Friday, February 27, 2015

[Inspiration] "How Do You Listen?" by Glenda L. Hunter

I was talking to someone at work the other day right in the middle of my sentence she started talking. That was bad, but what was even worse she was talking to someone else altogether. I stopped and went back to my office. It made me feel that what I was saying was unimportant---and neither was I.

I don't think she meant it like that, but it still leaves the same feeling. There was many times as a child I would have liked for someone to really listen to me. That reminds me of my granddaughter saying I am the only one that listened to her. She is a little chatter box but she deserves to be heard.

 As you read this poem I would like for you to consider how you really listen. May we always listen not just with our ears but our hearts:

HOW DO YOU LISTEN?

Have you ever thought about how you listen?
Do your ears hear the words and your mind begins to think?
Or do you hear the words and your heart begins to break?

Do you take time to listen to children?
Or do you think they don't even have anything worth saying?
How do you hear the words that are spoken with a whisper?

At times it is hard for children to really know what words to use.
And when they finally are able to speak, do you listen to those stammered words?
Or must it all be right and proper for you to really hear?

Some things that children have to tell are very hard to speak
They don't even know words that fit how bad they feel inside.
So stutter, cry, even run away is what they do instead.
They are very used to people not caring how they feel or what they say.

That one more time is no big deal; they kind of expect it deep inside.
They will stop talking if someone doesn't start to listen carefully.
So please consider how you listen the next time a child comes to you.
Listen with your heart and help them to know that someone loves from deep inside.

That would be the greatest thing you could give anyone.
It costs something to listen with you heart and not just your ears.
It could cost you sadness, tears, and nights with a little less sleep.
But just think what it will mean to a hurting person to have someone really care.

The next time you start to listen with only your ears Stop and think: How would you want someone to listen to you? If your answer is with their heart then model this greatness to all those coming in your path.


Glenda L. Hunter is the award-winning author of AN UNSPEAKABLE SECRET, OUT OF THE DEPTHS and the children's book IT FINALLY HAPPENED. Find out more a
bout her at www.authorglendalhunter.com.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Actor Jon Chaffin: Daring Greatly In Pursuit of His Dreams

by Cyrus Webb

For Jon Chaffin acting has been the vehicle to not just living his dreams but inspiring others to do the same. He been able to play a variety of roles from the tough guy, the funny guy and the good guy. It is in the role of Warlock on Tyler Perry's THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS, however, that the world has taken notice. After just one episode he became a fan favorite.

"We as actors live for the chance to slip into different roles and do things in this imaginary world that we don't do in real life," he told me during our conversation together. "Its always an honor when I am able to play certain roles."

Jon described it to me as being able to "get back to that childlike stage when I just do things so it comes naturally." That has really been the key for him along his path.

Looking at the success of the show The Haves and the Have Nots, Jon says "It's been an awesome experience. Nothing short of spectacular." Working with the cast has really made the project worthwhile for him. "When you have good people to get along with it makes for an easy work environment where everyone can put forth their best work."

Here are some other nuggets from our conversation:

JON'S INSPIRATION FOR ACTING:
"Movies like The Five Heartbeats and Shawshank Redemption made me want to act. Individuals like Robert Townsend inspired me. What they did with that movie (Five Heartbeats) drew me in. I would actually quote the movie. I had watched it so much I could quote each character. There were times I would perform certain scenes for my family. Having that imaginative world to get lost in was my first real "A-ha moment" when I said I want to do this."

JON ON PORTRAYING WARLOCK:
"We are representing real life. There are real Warlocks in the world. Portraying him allow me to put on different shoes and wear different hats and challenge myself.

"I don't play stereotypes. I play people. This person (Warlock) was someone who had her (Candace Young played by Tika Sumpter) back. Everyone wants that, to have somebody that you can go to is important. I had no idea that they (viewers of the show) would fall in love with Warlock after one episode!"

JON'S IDEA OF SUCCESS:
"For me it's just about doing what my heart's desire is. If i can wake up and do this and pursue this I'm successful. Everybody wants different things. As I continue to grow in my career I noticed that my success is predicated on my happiness. Success is not necessarily how many people know your name. It's more or less are you able to do something that you love."

JON'S ADVICE FOR OTHERS:
"Identify what your desire is and accept that you can have that. I believe that whatever is in my heart that brings me joy is what God has for me. When I'm on set and I'm happy that lets me know I'm in alignment. Find what makes you happy. Be bold. Be daring. Do it. You have to take a chance on yourself."

Follow Jon on Twitter at @JonChaffin and stay connected with him on Facebook.


*     Photo credit: Bjorn Photography

Monday, January 5, 2015

Actor Patrick Faucette: Setting the Bar Higher with Every Role

by Cyrus Webb

Mystery. Suspense. Betrayal. Secrets. All of these elements have come together in the hit show The Haves and the Have Nots on the Oprah Winfrey Network and actor Patrick Faucette's character Tony Watson is right in the middle of it all.

Known for his roles on shows like Southland and Hot In Cleveland, Faucette told me that it felt great to be a part of the show's success on OWN. "I've done a lot of shows and have been working so hard," he says during our conversation. The result of his hard work has been his getting more parts on mainstream projects. "It's exciting to have all of this happening. To be a recurring character on a show like this is like everything is paying off. I see it as the beginning of a new chapter in my career. It's a dream come true."

In his first episode on the show we found out that his character Tony is the father of Hannah's son Benny (played by Tyler Lepley). We are also given some of the backstory as to what happened to his relationship with Hannah (played by Crystal Fox). I asked Patrick if it was easy to watch himself. "I am one of those people who critiques everything I do," he told me, "but I am proud of my role and the character."

After it was announced that more episodes had been ordered that opened the door for the character Tony to be more flushed out. "This is one of those shows where there is so much more possibility," he told me. "It's like an open palette to start painting a new picture on."

Patrick Faucette's love for acting came after attending college. Seeing some of his friends perform ignited something inside him that led to theater. Now as his light continues to shine bright, he is able to see his dedication pay off. "You just have to go for it," he told me. "Don't allow fear to stop you." It might seem easier said than done, but it is necessary. "You have to put all that doubt behind you and just keep going."

Because of his dedication Patrick is not just garnering fans but individuals who see his passion and want to emulate it. I asked him who were some actors that he looked up to. He told me that Denzel Washington and George Clooney were two that he admired because of their work ethic and dedication. They also show him what is possible. "It's something I try to see in my mind"--- he explained---"that this possibility is out there. You can't set your bar anywhere but high so you can keep striving to go higher. There is no limit to what I can do."

Patrick's advice for all of us? "You can't allow any circumstance or fear to get in your way of getting to your dream. Whatever passion you have you have to keep letting it push you."

To stay in touch with Patrick on Twitter visit him at www.twitter.com/patrickfaucette. You can also find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/patrickfaucetteactor.

*     Photo credit: Cornia Marie Howell

Sunday, January 4, 2015

(To You, From Me) Why 'Acting on Faith' Is the Only Way to Success

So much has happened since my last Letter From the Editor for Conversations Magazine.

First, I released my first book, WORDS I CHOOSE TO LIVE BY (published by Bonita & Hodge Publishing) to an enthusiastic response. It's designed to give you daily affirmations to focus on as you are going throughout your life. In just a couple of months it has gotten praise from literally around the globe including from celebrities like media personality/author Leeza Gibbons and living legend Dionne Warwick.

My reach on the airwaves has also grown. We are on the across the world online and on select radio stations across the country, including weeknights in my home state of Mississippi on WYAD 94.1 FM in Yazoo City, Mississippi.

All of these blessings are humbling for me as I try to walk daily in my purpose, but I want you to know that they only happened because I had the faith to believe I could do it.

So many times we talk ourselves out of the blessings that are meant for us, and this keeps us looking backwards instead of ahead. I'm here to remind you that looking back is not the answer. In fact, the only way you are sure to not achieve your personal greatness is by telling yourself that you can't.

In this issue of Conversations Magazine you will meet individuals that are truly acting on faith in their lives and reaping the rewards. You will enjoy profiles with actors and recording artists that could have chosen to be defined by their past or what people told them. Instead, they believed they could do more in their lives and took the steps needed to do just that.

I hope they will inspire you to do the same in your life, and I would like for you to share with me how you are doing the work to see your dreams come true.

Until next time,





Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief
Conversations Magazine