Sunday, July 28, 2019
For 16 years now I have had the privilege of sharing a message of inspiration, motivation and hope through the radio airwaves, online as well as offline and in the pages of this publication. Why is it important? Because without being inspired there is no way you are going to want to put your best foot forward.
Every day I wake up excited about the day ahead and the possibilities that can come from it. I'm able to do work that I love and share that work with people in the hopes of sparking something within them that says "I can do that too". I devote long hours to my work and my mission, and though it's not always easy I am always so fulfilled by the outcome.
What about you? Did you wake up this morning thinking that this is going to be an amazing day? Do you see your path as one that will lead to something bigger for yourself and others? If not, don't worry. It's not too late. Today can be the start of something amazing, but it begins with you.
In this issue I hope you find individuals in the arts and entertainment world as well as in business that will spark something in you that gets you excited about your own life. As you enjoy the articles look in the proverbial mirror and see how you can better reflect the qualities that have made these individuals and their accomplishments possible. And remember: it's not about doing what they do. It's about being who you can be. That's the key to not just being inspired but committed to the process.
Would love to know who inspires you to keep going and bringing your best to the day ahead. Feel free to comment on this post online at www.conversationsmag.com and let me know.
Cyrus Webb, Editor-In-Chief
It's hard to believe that before 2018's radio interview with award-winning author Deliah "Dee" Lawrence we hadn't talked books on the air for 5 years. The author who brought us GOTTA LET IT GO has returned with GOTTA GET IT BACK. Though it continues the story in many ways of the characters we got to know in her debut, this is definitely a book that readers can begin with and get a full story.
When I asked her about the response to the new book Dee gives the credit to her fans. "I have to say I have some very loyal readers and appreciate the love and support they have given me over the years," she told me.
Though we are able to meet some familiar characters with the new book and get introduced to new ones, writing a sequel wasn't something that Dee initially had in mind.
"When I wrote GOTTA LET IT GO I thought it was a one-off," she admits. Her plan was to "move on" to another creative project. Then she started hearing from her fans. "It was the clamoring of my readers that pushed me into saying definitely there is growth that the character could expand into something else," she says. "That's what prompted me to develop a series. It just took a life of its own. You'll see Deidre grow and get into some very sticky spots."
That is definitely the case with GOTTA GET IT BACK as we are able to literally travel with the main characters since it's written in first person. "When you write in first person it's more personal," Dee explains. "You're right there in the character's head. I wanted to be so close and tethered to my character, forcing the reader to be in each and every one of those scenes." She went on to tell me that "grabs the reader and places you right front and center with the character."
Dee is quick to remind readers that her main character Deidre is not her, but the two definitely can feed off of each other. I asked Dee if she shares her character's curiosity. "I think I do in some respects," she told me. "She can at times be larger than life, but she's human. She's very passionate about things. Friends that know me will say the same about me. I can see through her eyes. She's very driven in the pursuit of justice. In that regard I'm one with her."
Get your copy of GOTTA GET IT BACK on Amazon.com. Stay connected with all things Dee Lawrence at www.authordeelawrence.com.
Saturday, July 27, 2019
I have had the privilege of interviewing almost 9k guests on Conversations LIVE the radio show, but it was beyond a privilege to have a chat with iconic actor Tony Todd this year about his amazing career. For over 3 decades he has been able to enlighten and frighten us, bringing to life amazing roles in front of the camera such as with Candyman and Final Destination and even inspirational projects like the new film WORTH.
"I grew up an only child," Mr. Todd told me and thanks to his aunt he was involved in a lot of different programs. "I have always had my active mind," he says. Life was changed for him when an English teacher gave him the script of The Tempest. "It was like a graphic novel had come to life. I wasn't fascinated with any one of the characters. I wanted to be all of them." He told me that is why being an actor is so fulfilling. "I get to play different characters in all that I do.
Outside of acting Mr. Todd told me he has been involved in causes and work that help him to appreciate life more. This includes his work as a Humanitarian, being involved in gang counseling and being apart of passion projects like writer/director Eduardo Castrillo's film WORTH. "The empowerment that I get from doing these roles leads me back to the community," he told me. "I'm a teacher at heart. Sometimes the only time I can teach is during the roles I do."
Acting is more than a profession for him. According to Mr. Todd "it gives me more purpose to my life."
His advice for aspiring actors and creatives? "I always look for repeated work. It comes from forming relationships with directors, cast members and being true to yourself. Repeat work is where it's at when it comes to longevity. I'm a child at heart. Every day is an open slate."
Lots of great things coming up for Tony Todd. Stay connected with him on Instagram at www.instagram.com/tonytoddofficial and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tonytodd54.
One of the individuals who have been a regular on Cyrus Webb Presents the web-series as well as Conversations LIVE radio show is Benjamin Patterson.
He's an individual who has been able to showcase his creativity and skills as an actor, musician and photographer.Most recently he has been thrilling fans of the hit show GREENLEAF on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
During our last chat in Los Angeles I asked him about two things: discovering his passion and defining success. What he has to say is something all of us can benefit from!
Ben's idea of success: "#1 it's changed because I have a son. Wanting the big house and the nice car has been replaced with wanting a nice school and the best for my son. It shifts. It's like climbing in an airplane on a cloudy day. You have to adjust."
What I learned from our conversation was the importance of reflecting on where we were and now where we are, making sure we are headed forward and not backwards. I also appreciated the importance of realizing that success is personal and relative to the purpose. May we all keep moving forward towards our goals and not be afraid to adjust along the way.
Stay connected with Ben at on Instagram at www.instagram.com/benjaminpattersonallday.
After reading Jonathan E. Hickory's book BREAK EVERY CHAIN it's hard not to get the appreciation he has for life and what is possible for him after all he has endured and overcome.
The book takes you into his lows, the highs and the reflection of life, what really matters and how by facing your demons you are able to achieve the impossible. Hickory didn't do this on his own, and that is where the appreciation also shows itself. He is able to reflect on the fact that his Heavenly Father was there to lead the way, pick him up when he fell and to offer forgiveness and mercy as needed. What great lessons for all of us.
We all have gone through situations where we felt "bound" by sin or by our challenges. What a great reminder this book is that we can break out of the captivity we are in and live a life that is full of happiness and shows others what they can overcome.
I had a chance to talk with Jonathan on Conversations LIVE the radio show about the book. When I asked him what it's been like to reflect on his life today he told me "The best word is redeemed. I had a very tough childhood, losing my father at the age of 12. I started to harbor a lot of anger and sadness in my heart, and it stayed with me.
"When I became a police officer at the age of 23 a few years into it I started to see the violence, death and the brokenness of man firsthand, and I wasn't prepared for it." Jonathan told me that at the time he wasn't walking with God in any capacity, and what he was seeing and experiencing took a toll on his soul and his heart.
"It led to alcoholism and deep depression," he says. "Ultimately it led me to a point where there was a battle for my soul going on, and I had to choose." Jonathan chose to live and to turn to God for help.
"My life began to change," he told me. "It was like a new light was shining within me. It changed who I am and how I look at the world and how I treat others. how much I love others. It's been really freeing. God has restored my life and the life of my family."
One of the powerful things that Jonathan deals with in his life and the book is timing. For many people when a prayer goes unanswered or something doesn't happen when they want, they are quick to throw in the towel. "So many people when they are faced with the Nos in their life they want to give up and fall into despair and pursue something else," he said to me. "If you believe that God is in control you need to give it over to him. Everything happens in God's timing. It's not always up to us."
This lesson is just one of those that Jonathan has learned, and now we can benefit from the lessons and the healing he has experienced. Written with honesty, humility and appreciation, BREAK EVERY CHAIN is sure to inspire.
Get BREAK EVERY CHAIN on Amazon. Stay connected with Jonathan at www.jonathanhickory.com.
I have been a fan of LeVar Burton since I was a kid. For me before he was a part of Star Trek he was the host of Reading Rainbow, the show that made me want to have a platform to encourage reading and meaningful conversations. To talk with him about life, his impact on others and the possibilities for us all was not just inspiring but something that I know will remind you that your life can have an impact on others.
LeVar, you have been able to touch so many lives through your work, especially through the platform that is Reading Rainbow. What has it been like for you to use your life as an example as to what is possible?
It has been truly remarkable. My mom was an English teacher, and she always had several books for her own personal pleasure. Reading for me was like breathing. It is a natural part of the human experience. All the work is because of the woman my mother is, and that has allowed me to humbly have the impact that I have.
I can definitely agree with that. Part of the great thing is that books can connect us all and share life lessons that can change our lives. Have you always understood that impact?
You know I have! Some people say you are what you eat. I genuinely believe you are what you read. I am aware of how my life has been enhanced by being a lifelong reader. I genuinely believe if you are literate in at least one language you are my definition of free. A lifelong reader has the ability to be a lifelong learner. If you are a learner for life then you are a dangerous individual, because you don’t have to take anyone’s word for anything. You can read and learn for yourself.
I know there is a link between that which we imagine and that which we manifest in this realm. It is the imagination that connects us all. It’s also our imagination that connects us to our birth right that is storytelling.
Stay connected with Levar on social media: www.facebook.com/levarburton www.twitter.com/levarburton
Get IDENTITY LEADERSHIP on Amazon. Stay connected with Stedman Graham at www.stedmangraham.com.