Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Since it returned to print in November 2010 Conversations Magazine* has garnered attention literally all around the world with over 7k yearly subscribers in 6 countries. (New York Times Bestselling author John Saul seen here with his copy of Conversations Magazine)
Not one of those getting your monthly fix of the arts, entertainment, food and more that Conversations offers? Editor-In-Chief Cyrus Webb encourages you to take advantage of this special holiday offer: Get 12 months of Conversations Magazine for now for the special price of only $19.99 (shipping included)!
That's less than $2 per issue!
Get yours today by clicking this link: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=UGNLZPY82FU8J.
Have questions or interested in extra issues? Contact Cyrus Webb directly at email@example.com or at 601.896.5616. CONVERSATIONS: Feeding Your Love Of Life! http://www.conversationsmag.com/
* Conversations Magazine is distributed by Conversations Media Group.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
The Rebirth Brass Band is one of the most innovative bands of our time. They combine R&B and Hip Hop with the brass band music as we know it today, while keeping the rich, heritage sound of the New Orleans culture. They bring a new concept of second-line music to the younger generations and are considered pioneers just as their fore-fathers, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Olympic Brass Band and many others who paved the way for this distinctive sound.
The Frazier brothers, Phi and Keith, formed the band back in the early 80's while attending Joseph S. Clark Senior High School. Both brothers were members of the high school marching band. Their love for music and the city of New Orleans is the foundation for the Rebirth legacy. Many other bands have organized and play Rebirth's style of music which shows the great love that people have for this band. In fact, Rebirth won their first Grammy in February 2012 and the entire city celebrated with them. If you ask anyone what that feeling was like, the response would probably be, it felt like winning the Super Bowl all over again.
Before hitting the stage at Jazz Fest on April 27, 2013, I had the pleasure of speaking with Phil Frazier who expressed his gratitude to the city and fans everywhere for all the love and support. When asked how winning a Grammy has changed their lives, he states that Rebirth is still the same band that many fell in love with 30 years ago and they just get better with time.
After the Jazz Fest performance, I had the opportunity to speak with Keith Frazier and he assured me that the Rebirth Brass Band intend on being around for another 30 years. If not out on the road touring, you can still find Rebirth playing at local events, parties, weddings, etc. in the New Orleans and surrounding areas.
"Hey don't go no where, Rebirth's here to stay"!
D. C. White is a contributor for Conversations Magazine and the founder of History Records and Entertainment. White also serves as a Producer for "Conversations with Cyrus Webb" televisions how. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and find out more information about him at www.dchistoryrecords.com.
Technology has opened up the world to us in a way that many some 25 years ago couldn't have imagined, and with that comes added pressure to keep up. I've felt it, and I know you have as well. You don't want to be left behind, but how do you stay true to yourself in the process?
In this issue of Conversations Magazine I have the privilege of sharing some powerful examples of how to do just that. The very idea of Change evokes an evolution, and though it might take time we can begin to start today becoming what we want and going for what we want.
Many of you made resolutions at the end of 2012 or the beginning of this year about what you wanted for yourself. Did you become discouraged and give up on the idea that you can be a better person? If so, I hope the individuals profiled here will show you the value of getting up when you've been knocked down and not to be defined by a perceived failure.
This issue speaks to me as well. I know what it's like to enjoy the highs of life but I am not immune to the lows,either. Just a few years ago I wondered if it was all worth it. When I realized that I was judging success on what others thought instead of my own personal beliefs it become clear what I need to do in order to move forward. I had to renew my belief in myself and why I was here. As an individual of faith I have come to realize that God created everything for a purpose. That purpose is not for others to always understand, but it is one that we have to be able to embrace in order to see it work in our behalf.
As you look at yourself as you read this issue of Conversations I hope you will ask yourself how can I begin anew right now? That question will help you in embracing who you are and more importantly who you were created to be.
Want to share your thoughts with me about how you are becoming a new creature? Drop me a line at email@example.com. I would love to hear from you.
Until next time, happy reading!
Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief
His book BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT was chosen as one of my top reads of 2012, but it was my conversation with American Idol Alum Scott MacIntyre that told me his story needed to be included in this magazine. Throughout everything that he has endured in his young life, Scott has remained steadfast in his belief that there is always something better ahead.
The lessons he has learned are ones I wanted to share to help guide you through your own challenges.
SCOTT ON BEING AN INSPIRATION: "It is amazing and very humbling how people have responded to my story. When we first got the book out in stores it was really humbling to hear back from people about how it was touching them where they were hurting and needed inspiration. I feel very honored to bring them a message like that."
SCOTT ON HIS FAITH: "The main thing for me is my faith. I'm a Christian. It has kept me grounded no matter what I've faced. It's because of the challenges I've faced that I've been able to stay grounded as well. I am so grateful to be alive and even make music. I try to always be the same person I am on camera that I am off camera."
SCOTT ON THE ROLE OF FAMILY: "Family is huge for me. That is where I got my sense of being able to persevere and pursue my dreams. When I was born blind my parents could have chosen to be been upset and bitter. They didn't choose that. They chose to see the beauty in the situation. Whenever I face an obstacle, I know I have that choice. I can choose to be frustrated and upset or see the beauty in life every single day. I choose the latter."
SCOTT ON HIS ATTITUDE: "I think when obstacles pop up or when people face uncertainty some of us have a tendency to focus on the negative by default and gloss over what we might learn from the situation. If you choose to say this is a tough situation but let me try to focus on some of the good things I guarantee you will be able to find the silver lining in the clouds."
"I had my love of music. It compensated for my lack of vision. I chose to focus on what I could do and not what I couldn't. I say to people in a loving way that there is no obstacle too big or hurt too deep that you can't overcome if you walk by faith not by sight. There are so many situations in life where you can't see where you're going. None of us can predict everything about where we are going to be in a few days or years. It's easy to get caught up in that uncertainty. Don't worry about the steps along the way and focus on the end goal. If you do that, you will succeed."
Scott MacIntyre's very existence is a proof of the power of faith. When you can believe and embrace something larger than yourself and your current circumstances then you learn what it means to trust in the Lord with all your heart. "When I was 19 years old I was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney failure," he told me. "It scared me. I felt hopeless and overwhelmed. I was so weak I couldn't sing or play the piano in my own living room." Thanks to the generous gift of a family friend he was able to get a new kidney and not even a year later he was on American Idol. "It's not so much about where I am now but the journey I traveled to get here," he says. "As long as I am breathing I believe there is still hope."
His encouragement for you? "If you want to live an exciting life you have to run for it. This is a race for living. I haven't stopped running... I try to make the most of every day."
You can stay abreast of all of Scott's activities on his website www.scottmacintyre.com and his Twitter handle @scottdmacintyre.
Isaiah Washington has come to the attention of the world because of his skills and talent as an actor, but his work as a humanitarian and a good citizen are seen front and center in A MAN FROM ANOTHER LAND. This book caught me by surprise in a few ways, mainly because of all of the things he could be doing with his time, something within Isaiah made him want to look into where his lineage began, which took him to Sierra Leone and the Mende people. His journey didn't stop there, however. He also want to see what he could do to help a people that are sometimes forgotten in the worldwide dialogue about disparities and where the most work can be done.
The lessons we can glean from Isaiah are many. First there is the example of just wanting to know who you are, where you are front and what it took for you to reach the levels that you have in life. There is also the issue of doing all you can in the space that you are. Sure you might not be able to do the things that Isaiah was able to to help the people of Sierra Leone, but we are all in a position to make a difference however we can in our own way.
Finally there is the importance of realizing how no matter where we live there is much more that unites us than divides us. If we are able to do like Isaiah and pay attention to the lessons that others can teach us through their own dedication and desire to persevere, then we will be in a better position to evoke real change in the world around us.
Thoughtful and written from a place of real reflection, A MAN FROM ANOTHER LAND shows us how to connect, encourage and inspire.
Cyrus Webb is a top Amazon.com reviewer. A MAN FROM ANOTHER LAND is available through online retailers and can be order wherever books are sold.
Whether we recognize it or not each one of us is heading towards something. It can be the fulfillment of a dream or if we choose to be apathetic, it will be the result of failure. No matter what position we hold or what we assume about ourselves, there is a journey we are on that will take us wherever we want to go.
The question becomes this: Will you be a better individual because of it?
I'm not a huge television person, and though I knew that actor Isaiah Washington had been on the hit tv series Grey's Anatomy and starred in several movies I wasn't that familiar with him and his body of work---that is until 2011. It was late that year that I saw a write-up about his book A Man from Another Land: How Finding My Roots Changed My Life. After reading it I felt compelled to not just write an Amazon.com review about the book but reach out to him for a conversation on the radio and the magazine.
I'm grateful that he agreed to both.
Isaiah Washington showed me and I think will demonstrate it for you as well the powerful of our individual platforms. He knows what it's like to succeed and to face challenges, but he is not one to quit. When I talked with him on the radio he was preparing for the release of his new project Blue Caprice at the Sundance Film Festival. The striking feature film debut of writer-director Alexandre Moors, Blue Caprice is a harrowing yet restrained psychological thriller about an abandoned boy lured to America into the shadows of a dangerous father figure. Inspired by true events, Blue Caprice investigates the notorious and horrific Beltway sniper attacks from the point of view of the two killers, whose distorted father-son relationship facilitated their long and bloody journey across America.
So how does Mr. Washington feel about the love his fans around the world continually have for him? "I'm still humbled by it and pleasantly surprised," he told me. "I'm still learning how fans are in the television world. It's a powerful connection they develop with you. They don't let you go."
The gift that is his ability to bring characters to life and draw you in as a viewer in the process is something he realized through a mentor early in his career. "He said to me 'If you knew what you had you would mess it up.' I never really knew I had this gift until I started to have this dream about it." Whatever brought about the dream it proved to Isaiah that he could make this happen for himself---and that is exactly what he did.
Ever the professional but someone who knows what it's like to be in the spotlight and to have all eyes on him, I was curious as to how he kept the glare of celebrity from blinding him. His answer was real and more than I could have imagined he would share. "I made a huge mistake and forgot my place in the world and forgot that the world was looking at me and that I had this particular power and gift," he said, referencing the incident that occurred at the 2007 Golden Globes. "I was only thinking about myself in that moment. When you are in pain and in trauma you respond... In hindsight I realize that if I knew the power I had when I was on that hit show then things would have been amazingly different---but I wouldn't be able to have this conversation with you now."
"Unfortunately for me in my ignorance," Washington continued, "I refused to accept my position as a role model. I know now that was a mistake. Any one who is afforded to live the lifestyle I have lived has the responsibility to share that. You always have to be cognizant of how you show up. Now I am aligned with that."
This revelation that Isaiah Washington has had, however, is not an excuse for us to forget that he is still just a man. "I believe this is true for all of us," he says. "It is the understanding how to play your position at any given moment in time. It's important to know that I'm a human being just like you, but I never want to lose sight of that part of my humanity. As long as you remain humble and connected to the idea that each of us are what I call perfect imperfection I can continue to do the things I say I want to do and leave a legacy that my family and friends can be proud of."
The biggest lesson for us is that you don't have to be a celebrity to have this type of epiphany about yourself and who you are in the world. "I have been given an extraordinary privilege," Washington told me, "but we all have been given a gift. We have to understand that each and every one of us has a divine purpose."
That brought us back to the film Blue Caprice. Washington told me "it's one of many films that I wanted to come on as a producer. I've experimented with different kind of challenges and roles. This particular film probably frightened me and challenged me the most." He plays John Allen Muhammad, the D.C. sniper. "I was out there on the cliff emotionally and put everything I had into it. I had to remove a lot of my own personal issues and try to find some humanity in it."
Regardless of what role you see him in, you can be sure that Isaiah Washington is making the most of every moment on his journey. The amazing privilege we have now is the take the road along with him.
You can stay in touch with the actor in real-time on Twitter at www.twitter.com/iwashington. Through that social media tool he is interacting with his fans and keeping them abreast of all his new happenings. "I think Twitter is like the new African drum," Washington told me. "It's an amazing tool. When you beat it properly you can actually change the world."
*Note: All photos used in this feature were provided and approved by Mr. Washington. Conversations Magazine owns no copyright to the images.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
I have to say after interviewing over 3700 over the past decade that Amy Hanley is one of the realist individuals I have ever had the privilege of interviewing.
Many have gotten to know her from the hit show on TLC Sin City Rules, but I learned through our conversation that there is so much more to her than what might meet the eyes. Hanley is beautiful, thoughtful and without a doubt a businesswoman that knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it. In fact during our interview she told me she was 'owning 2013', and I have no doubt about it.
Hanley and I were introduced by Lindsey of Cinderella's Glass PR, and it was an inspiration conversation about moving forward in life in a positive more powerful way.
In the first five minutes of the conversation she surprised me with this confession: "I actually don't watch reality TV, Cyrus. When I decided to do the show (Sin City Rules) I wasn't too familiar with the territory I was getting into. It was absolutely a roller-coaster ride, but when it was all said and done I think we all enjoyed ourselves. It was a lot of hard work and dedication and real moments."
Since it wasn't something that she normally watched, an obvious question I had was why she decided to open her life up to the world this way. For Amy it was about claiming her life. "I think a lot of people have associated me in the past with being the daughter of not one gangster but two," she explained. People see a very dark side of the life I've from. They don't understand there is a whole different aspect to it. I chose at eighteen not to go down the path of some of my family. Because of that I don't see my past as a downside. I see it as an advantage that made me stronger."
Part of the way Hanley has found strength is through her online community. I called them her fans, but she sees them another way. "I never look at any one as fans. I look at them as friends. I do relate to them and they to me. I've been through the bad times and the good times. I like to remind them that there's always a way to get out of it (bad times) and bring yourself above what you are going through. They come and share their stories. In all aspects it gives an insight into who we are regardless of what our past consists of."
Outside of those she sees as her friends online are those who will use the platform that is the internet to criticize and judge. Hanley called it the Public Opinion Court. "It's been an adjustment,"she admits. "I've been so used to keeping things private. I know, though, that you have two choices: allow people to either take you down a negative path or you can take a look at it and take a positive path. I have a saying: 'Negative lasts for 5 minutes. Positive lasts for 5 lifetimes.' I choose to look at the positive aspect. that's what I do for myself."
Through that outlook on life Amy Hanley is quickly building an empire for herself. It is something all her own. "I want people to understand that everything I work on I put my everything into. I do it on my own. I don't look at myself as a reality TV star. I just happened to be on a TV show where my life was featured. I have the same triumphs and failures as everyone else. It's all in how you handle it. If you look at everything from a negative aspect you will always end up with failure."
Her message to you: words have power. Words matter. Want something? Hanley has the answer. "You have to be willing to speak it into existence," she explains. "My goal is to empower people, not to destroy them." Having a day or a bad situation? Don't let it defeat you! "It's ok," she says. "It happens to the best of us. There is always some form of positive in every situation. That is the way I choose to look at life. I want to take people on a more positive approach. We would have a better place if more did that."
To stay in touch with everything going on with Amy Hanley and her growing brand follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/realamyhanley and visit her Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/mobdaughter.