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Conversations Magazine Jan./Feb. 2015 Issue

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

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

Saturday, January 17, 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.)

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

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.

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.