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Conversations Magazine May/June 2015 Issue

Conversations Magazine May/June 2015 Issue
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Monday, May 25, 2015

Author Glenda L. Hunter: The Journey From Victim to Survivor

by Cyrus Webb

She's an author, poet and speaker---but most importantly a survivor. .

Glenda L. Hunter, a resident of Clinton, Mississippi, is one of those individuals who has been able to use her life to not only help other people but show what it means to celebrate the gift that life is. This, however, has not been an easy road for her. At a young age she had her innocence taken away from the very man who should have been there to protect her: her father. As a result of the abuse she suffered, Glenda developed alters or multiple personalities that would become a part of her life not just through childhood but adulthood as well. With courage and conviction she has shared her story in two books: AN UNSPEAKABLE SECRET and MOMMY TWINKLE EYES. Her goal? To let others know what is possible for them, regardless of their circumstances.

We met each other initially in 2011 through a mutual friend, and it has been my pleasure to see the amazing results of Glenda sharing her story with the world. I was privileged enough to be her first radio interview and to host her first book-signing. When I was thinking about  those who I had met that celebrated the gift of life and would be great examples for all of us I knew that she would have to be apart of this issue.

In describing how the abuse began, Glenda says this in her book AN UNSPEAKABLE SECRET: "Fear was always gripping my body because I was never sure what was going to happen. When he became mad, he was like a monster out of control... Dad was quick to tell me how bad I was. No longer was I his special girl.. Somehow I had become an awful person who couldn't do anything right. I wasn't sure what had changed to make me this kind of a person."

That can be painful to read, let alone believe of yourself. Glenda explained how she has been able to now break her silence and share her story. "I felt like other people probably struggled with the same thing that I had struggled with," she told me. "I had looked for books to help me get better and that's why I wrote mine so I could get my story out there and help others."

A large part of the healing she has experienced today has come from seeking help. Glenda told me that she didn't begin to really understand that she wasn't alone in what she had experienced and felt until therapy. "It was then that I realized a number of people have suffered from that (meaning abuse)." Coupled with dealing with the abuse, however, was the Multiple Personality Disorder. Not finding anyone who was talking about it the way she had experienced gave Glenda courage to move forward with sharing her own experiences. "I found the courage because I wanted someone to write a book from their point of view to say this is what it's like to be multiple. I'm putting it out there for people to say here's the story, and I hope it will be beneficial to you."

That is exactly what it is doing. "It has helped people to open up to me," Glenda shares. "Some have never shared with anyone before. The fact is that (the abuse) affects them in their lives many years after." The communication about it is helping others to understand what the person has gone through and is going through.

Faith is such an important factor to Glenda Hunter's survival as well. When you are abused and mistreated it is easy to feel as though you don't matter. She experienced those very feelings about herself.

That is not the person she is today.

"Getting through the therapy and working through the issues has helped," she says. "When you are degraded in numerous ways you carry that with you until you can work through that to say 'I am worth something'." She has also come to a revelation about herself and all of us. "God has made us all very special," she says. "He has made us all unique. We all have a place and a purpose. I want other to know that they have worth outside of what has happened to them."

Glenda's third book WHO ME? WORTHWHILE? YES, YOU! shares how we can begin to look at ourselves and our circumstances differently. She admits it's not easy and might take time, but it is definitely possible and worth it. "You might ask 'How can God love me with all of this in my background?' The wonderful thing is that He does. He loves you as equally as He does anyone else."

In WHO ME she goes on to say this: "I have always felt like I was not good enough for anything. Therefore, everything I tried I did in fear. I was afraid that if people really found out who I was they certainly would not like me. Everything I worked for would be over. Being fearful can cause you to always be looking over your shoulder wondering what was going to happen next. You become afraid that something bad was waiting down the line for you, therefore, you chose to stand still. When fear controls you, you do not move far or at all. Let God help you get over the fears that cause you to shudder whenever you think of facing the world. The world can be scary enough place without carrying added, unnecessary fear. What will you do with your fear? I have chosen. Let God handle those kinds of fears in my life. It is not always easy but worth the effort."

In sharing a part of herself, Glenda Hunter is giving us all something to reflect on when we look at our lives. What does she want everyone who has suffered in silence with the abuse to know? "I want them to know they are worthwhile," she says. "Even though you have had to hold that secret in or been a victim you don't have to stay a victim. You can be a victor. I want them to look within themselves and say I do love who I am. I am important."

Glenda's three adult books AN UNSPEAKABLE SECRET, MOMMY TWINKLE EYES and WHO ME? WORTHWHILE? YES, YOU! as well as her children's book IT FINALLY HAPPENED and book of poetry OUT OF THE DEPTHS are all available on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble online. .

You can stay in contact with Glenda on Facebook here. Her website is www.authorglendalhunter.com.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tani of Ink Bottoms: Turning A Dream Into a Stylish Reality

by Cyrus Webb
Tani had every reason to give up on her dream. She a mother of three, works full-time and had people tell her it would never work, but three years later she is still high-stepping in her vision and seeing the work put into INK BOTTOMS pay off.

"I couldn't have imagined it in a million years," she told me as we discussed the journey that began for her in 2012. Thanks to social media and word of mouth she is building a brand that is not just proving that hard work pays off but that allows women to look good in a stylish yet affordable way.

"I've been a shoe lover since I was a little girl," Tani explained. "I wanted an affordable shoe that would allow me to not just step out in style but wouldn't cost a fortune. When I couldn't find what I wanted, I decided to created it myself."

That was the birth of INK BOTTOMS: a shoe that looked good but was affordable for all. For Tani it's not just a pair of shoes. "Fashion to me is art," she says. "I'm in it because this is what I love to do." She says he best expresses her feelings and emotions through fashion.

Though things are going well now that doesn't mean there won't moments where fear tried to creep in and stop her. "At one point I said I can't do this," she confessed. "I said to myself 'Who am I?'" Regardless of the doubt and even the naysayers Tani says she found the strength and the courage to push forward. "I decided not to let anyone stop me."

And shoes for women is just the beginning. Already Tani is working on more of the brand including a line for men. "You can't let anyone stop you from pursuing your dream," she says. "If you surround yourself with negativity everything will crumble, including your business. You have to be strong, stand tall and believe in yourself."

Stay connected with everything Ink Bottoms at www.inkbottoms.com.

Saturday, May 23, 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.)

(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

Actor Jerome Ro Brooks: Sharing His Light Wherever He Goes

by Cyrus Webb

Actor Jerome Ro Brooks has been walking in his purpose for quite some time, but when he became known for the character Michael in Tyler Perry's hit show THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS everything seemed to change----but did it?

Maybe for many of us Jerome had struck gold, but in his eyes he saw what was going on in his career as a fulfillment of the prayer he had prayed. "I'm a God fearing man," he told me. "What I always told myself when I prayed was that whenever I make it keep me like I am." And that is exactly what he works to do each and every day. "I want to stay the same guy that other people already love and still bring my light to what is a dark arena."

Even between seasons Jerome's light has done just that, bringing attention to causes and events that matter to him. You can see him online raising awareness and funds for various charities and using the platform he has for good. That is what he believes matters the most.  "I still want to treat you as a human," he explained. "It took a while for people to see me as a talent, but I didn't want to take advantage of the way they saw me. People don't expect you to be humble while you are in this business. Staying true to myself hasn't been hard, because I have always asked for it."

After people were introduced to Michael at the beginning of THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS Season Two the response towards Jerome was instant. "I am so blessed and humbled by the love and the opportunity to work with Tyler Perry," He told me. "He's a genius. I'm blown away everyday. they (the fans) treat us like that (character) is who we really are. Michael gets so much love on the show. The support has been unbelievable."

Jerome's character has been dealing with three very distinctive areas: 1) being the grieving grandfather after his granddaughter was killed, 2)playing a character that has a child who has a drug problem, and 3) his feelings for Hannah.

Will Jerome and Hannah end up together? We will just have to keep watching THE HAVES AND THE HAVE NOTS to see.

Stay connected with Jerome on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeromerobrooks and make sure to like his Facebook page as well. He is also the author of the book How To Go From Extra To ACTOR. The main source for everything he is up to can be found on his website at www.robrooks.com.

[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.

Rapper Hollywood Luck: A Mississippi Native with Nationwide Appeal

by Cyrus Webb

I've said it before but it's worth repeating: Where you are doesn't have to define or limit where you can go. We all have been given amazing gifts. It's just up to us to use them and allow them to take us as far as they can. So many times we allow where we are born or currently live to be the end---when it really is just the beginning. Just ask rapper (and Mississippi native) Hollywood Luck.

He may live in Mississippi, but his music and his presence if being felt across the country and beyond. Recently he released his new mixtape called MSRepresentIt, and I asked him what it's been like to see the response. "It's nice to see that people like the music," he told me. "It's been a long journey, but it's nice to see it is appreciated."

The new project begins by sharing Luck's own experience with Hip Hop and even addresses some of the concerns he has about how music is being heard today. He told me that his career in Hip Hop began "by accident." His initial passion was basketball, but when things didn't work out with that he started making beats and later fell into rap. Today he is an artist that is known for speaking his mind and carrying himself with a confident that lets you know he is comfortable in his own skin. "The confidence took some time," he told me, but says it is definitely a project of the journey he has been on as an artist.

The new project MSRepresentIt showcases some of the club songs that fans of the artist have gotten to know but also shares some more thought-provoking messages about life and the industry he is a part of. "I've always been able to create that balance," Luck says. "I can give you different stories in my music." He says he believes this shows he is more than just a rapper. He's a human being. "Some people treat artists like they aren't human. I just want to show I am a regular person."

One of the songs that is most known by the artist is the suggestive single POLE IN MY PANTS. I asked Luck if he was surprised that this one single has become such a staple for his fans. "I'm very surprised," he says. "It's been almost four years and they still play it at the club and people ask for it when I'm booked for a performance." With that song's popularity I had to ask if there was a fear that it would be the only way people saw him. " I never had that fear," he admitted, "but it became a reality." He then added: "A lot of times people just expect those kind of songs from me, but it's not the only type of music I make. It's just a part of me. I guess the way people see you the first time and like it can make them stick you in a box and expect to see you like that all the time."

MSRepresentIt shows that he is so much more than a man who likes to party, and that has been what Luck has been able to share with his fans both in person and through social media. When talking about the Internet he says it "definitely helps when I see my music reaching other markets. That lets me know that what I'm doing not only works in my area but around the whole world." Though he is still working to get more radio play this doesn't deter Luck from sharing his music every chance he gets. His work ethic is one that other artists are taking notice of and emulating, something that makes him feel good. "That definitely encourages me to keep going," he says. "For me it's more than just about being seen. It's about being true to who you are. I do this not just for myself but for a lot of people."

Hollywood Luck believes that MSRepresentIt definitely shows his growth and that fans will "get the complete package" of who he is. Stay connected with Luck on Twitter, Instagram at Hollywood_Luck and at 1stupluck.bandcamp.com.