Monday, August 31, 2009
This is our conversation.
First of all, Kidd, thanks for talking with us. What attracted you to music, especially hip hop?
I love the stories, the emotion and the feeling you get when you write a great song. I've always been inspired by the great song writers in hip hop Tupac, Biggie, Eminem and more legends. In general I always thought that’s what I could be great at the song writing! The rest of the music business is just fun and challenging. My generation was raised on hip hop so natural since my singing voice is amazing hip hop is where I found my voice! And it’s been a great ride so far!
As an artist, what inspires you?
Tragedy, Hope, human stories and raw basic human emotion and needs! I'm inspired by the artist before me like bob marley and tupac whose music helped change the conversation we had as a culture. To me that’s what inspires me to make people believe and understand different views and stories in life. I hoping that it can help bring us as a people together!
What has surprised you the most about the industry you chose?
I guess how much goes into actually making a song successful. A single song that an artist puts out is like its own business! When I was first getting into this business I was really green thinking that it was just make and album and people will come. Its way more work than that! But on the same note, surprisingly, that’s the part that excites me the most! I love when a great song comes together figuring out how on and indie artist budget how to get the entire world to listen!
When you look back at the challenges you have faced, what has been the most difficult and what did you learn from it?
Learning how to make money as an artist! It’s very hard without a good team, manager, lawyer, press, budget and more. It’s been a 10yr long journey for me to figure that out! Every aspect of this industry is insanely hard. First you have to learn how and what a great song sounds like, brand yourself, your style! Then you have to learn how to make a finished record, how to press up cds, how to distribute yourself. And then you have to learn how to market, promote, tour all that as an indie artist you have on your shoulders so if you don’t love all aspects of this business you should find something else to do or consider it a hobby. If your lucky you’ll be able to get a good team of people around you early in your career it makes everything so much easier!
Hip Hop has not had the best reputation when it comes to content. What separates you from the work of the artists that seem to be flooding the airwaves?
Just listen to “Dear Shooter,” “Paradise,” or “Be.Song.” If my music doesn’t inspire you, get an emotion out of you then I’m not doing my job. I feel I’m the alternative to 90% of what’s on hip hop radio station’s I’m the artist putting out the new “Dear Mommas,” “Stan’s” and Ice Cube records that actual have meaning and purpose!
"Dear Shooter" has gotten quite a bit of press. Are you surprised that the song has garnered the attention that it has?
Honestly and completely YES! I was scared to even release it I didn’t think people would want to hear a song as serious and real as “Dear Shooter!” The first day I put the record up on Myspace it reached 1,000 plays for almost a week straight it was amazing the outpour of letters, messages and more came flooding in! I’m extremely proud of that record it’s carried its self to international press and airplay. The video made it even more powerful and has given it even more exposure. It’s made my career and its still growing. A lady wrote me a thank you letter saying the played ‘Dear Shooter’ at her cousin’s funeral and wanted to thank me for the song! I to catch my breath I was amazed an honored that this song is so meaningful to so many people! I just hope it gives a voice to all the people lost to gun violence!
Radio time is sometimes hard to get for artists. How do you overcome that hurdle and what would you say are the advantages of calling the shots for yourself?
I’ve been fortunate to have my songs played on major radio and college radio and hopefully more as an indie artist! But they rarely ever or basically never put indie artist into rotation unless there’s some solid money or buzz coming from somewhere else! The cool part of being an indie artist is that you have to learn every aspect of the business there isn’t one hat I don’t wear so you have to learn how to be creative online, virally or just smarter and more efficient that major labels with radio money!
You are a member of Hip Hop and Books as well as Celebrealacy, both projects that support reading. Why is that cause so important to you?
Listen, my dad always jokes that in high school I could barely put a sentence together (laughs)! Having bad grades and the inability to read and write well before college almost destroyed my future. The smartest things a young kid can do are become articulate, well read, and worldly and get good grades. It’s a better hustle then the drug trade. Students with great grades get scholarships even if they aren’t athletes and have 100% more opportunity in life. I was lucky to go to military school after high school which gave me a second chance at education now I write for a living and read in one day probably more than human on the planet because knowledge is truly POWER! It gives you mental weapons at any stage in your life.
Artists define success in different ways. What does success look like for Kidd Russell?
Success is doing what you love and making a living while become the best person you can possibly be no matter the obstacles. If I do a show and only get paid $1 dollar that one dollar is more important to me than $50,000 would be working for some else or working a job I hated!
What is next for you?
Too much to type, new EP THE DASH is out September 1st, new music video for “ROCK RUSH REMIX” is now out, working on THE DASH EP 2. “RUSH” will be on this year's soundtrack to MTV’s Americas Best Dance Crew, more music licensing, building my team, I have a new touring live band, I’m in the documentary “The Bridge” being released by www.redjoint.com, started label www.junkyardproductions.net and we have about 3 other young artist we are grooming I hope to be the next RhymeSayers and doing more and more of what I love. Hopefully tour this spring. I could go on and on!
If readers and fans want to contact you or get more information, where should they go online?
You can find me at www.kiddruss.com ,www.facebook.com/kiddrussell, www.twitter.com/kiddrussell, www.sonicbids.com/kiddrussell and a host of other sites.
Thanks again for your time, Kidd. Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring recording artists?
Be smart, go to school and get an education while pursuing your career. Read and learn as much as possible as you can as young as you can about your dreams! Do it for the right reasons. I’ve seen over 100 artists come and go in Chicago alone when things didn’t go how they planned. You’re not going to make any money from this when you first start out. Build your team as early in your career as you can manager, lawyer, publicist, booking even if they are only your friends. Ask questions take risk and be 100% committed. The music business is insane and very hard... Most importantly, keep dreaming.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
MONDAY, AUGUST 31, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- Yvette Hayward, Founder and Producer of the African American Literary Awards Show
MONDAY, AUGUST 31, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) --- Journalist/Political Commentator Bily Hallowell
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- Author/Teacher/Activist Erin Gruwell
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) --- Author/Educator Norma Lavonne Smith
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- Award-winning recording artist Vickie Winans
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) --- Author Justin Hart
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- Author John Feinstein
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) --- A Discussion of Hip Hop & Books Club's Selection of the month "Unsigned Hype" with the author Booker T. Mattison
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- Multi-media mogul Dante Chestnut
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2009 @ 6p.m. CST (7p.m. EST/4p.m. PT) --- "C. A. Webb Presents... SEPARATE BUT EQUAL? African American Authors In Today's Bookstores, Part One." Join Webb along with bestselling authors Gloria Mallette, Margaret Johnson Hodge and Bernice McFadden as they discuss part one of this important topic.
Have someone you want to see featured or do you have something you want to talk about? Contact Cyrus A. Webb at email@example.com or 601.896.5616.
Our Conversation with Journalist/Political Commentator Billy Hallowell
With the world facing challenges from several fronts, it is easy to see why so many have become passive and just accept what ever comes. Billy Hallowell is not one of those people. A native of Rochester, NY, the 25 year old is using every platform at his disposal to bring attention to issues that matter to him. While some just talk about what they think is wrong in the world, he is looking for and offering solutions to those who are truly interested in making a difference.
Recently Hallowell talked to Conversations's own Cyrus A. Webb about the direction he thinks the United States is going in, his thoughts on universal healthcare, if either political party is completely blameless when it comes to how we got to where we are now and how it's not always possible to keep religion and politics away from each other. (NOTE: Billy Hallowell will be a guest on Conversations LIVE! Radio on Monday, August 31, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT. You can listen to the interview live or the podcast afterwards by clicking here.)
Here is our conversation...
Billy, thank you for taking out time to talk with us. Can you tell me when you became aware of your ability to articulate your opinions?
No problem! Thanks for having me. In terms of my ability to articulate and discuss my opinions -- well that came with learning and time. I'd be doing a disservice to everyone around me who nurtured me if I said it was natural! I do believe that God gave me the gift of communicating, but it took the hard work and nurturing spirit of a number of key adults in my like to guide me along.
In 1999, following the Columbine shooting, I decided to get involved in the anti-violence movement. At the time, I was 15. I'd say this is where it all began (wow, a decade ago)! I started a web site called Teen Web Online, devoted to championing antiviolence, antidiscrimination and a number of other issues my peers faced. Then, as time went on I began public speaking and started my own subcontracting firm, Pathufind Media (www.pathufindmedia.com), with the goal of spreading positive messages to audiences around America. But, to backtrack -- following Teen Web, I was offered a column on SHiNE.com (no longer around). At the time they were working with MTV, so it was pretty exciting. I was able to voice my opinion on a number of issues, as the editor would nurture me through the process. This was really the beginning of the process through which I found my "voice."
From some of your writings it would seem that you have a deep interest in what's going on in the world now. Has that always been the case?
Yes, in some for, it has. It wasn't until 2003 that I really jumped into political issues. Before, it was strictly social. But, as a child I dreamed of being a journalist. Media and current events have always been my passion.
Read the entire interview here: http://readingmylips.blogspot.com/2009/08/our-conversations-with.html
Monday, August 24, 2009
MONDAY, AUGUST 24, 2009 @ 7P.M. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) --- The Hustle Boyz stop by to talk about their beginnings as artsts and to debut their hot single "Grindin'" on the program.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- EXCLUSIVE: On the day her book is released author Carlotta Walls LaNier talks about her place in history and her new memoir A MIGHTY LONG WAY.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) --- Author/Motivational Speaker Keith Davis, Jr. talks about his mission to encourage the world one person at a time.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- Singer/songwriter K. D. Brosia makes his first appearance on Conversations LIVE! Radio to talk about his journey that led him to Japan and back to the states and introduces his single "Love A Woman Right".
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 26, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (8p.m. ESt/5p.m. PT) --- TV show host/author/reality show star Abiola Abrams talks about her amazing year since she was last on Conversations LIVE! and what is next on her list.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 27, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- Author Matt de la Pena joins Webb to talk about his career as a writer, his new book MEXICAN WHITEBOY and some of the exciting projects that are soon to come our way. His interview will also set the stage for the panel discussion about sports and books coming during the evening broadcast.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 27, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) C. A. Webb Presents the discussion "How Sports Lovers Ball With Books". Join Webb along with authors Sherry Hill (The Marquise Hill Story: From The Cradle To The Bowl),Gary Andrew Poole (The Galloping Ghost) and David A. Kelly (Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse) as they discuss their books, and why they see them as a way for sports lovers who may not be prone to reading to give them some thought.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 28, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- Author/Activist Shelley Seale makes her debut on Conversations LIVE! to talk about her book THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE and what her travels around the world have most helped her to appreciate. (THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE was Conversations Book Club's Book of the Month in September 2009.)
Missed any of Conversations LIVE! Radio's live shows? Catch the podcasts by going to www.conversationsliveradio.com.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- Rasheed Young of Run's Athletics and Actor/Author/Recording artist Tray Chaney (Poot from HBO's The Wire) discusses their beginnings, their success and how they are using their celebrity to encourage and inspire others. Missed the interview? Listen here: http://tobtr.com/s/661419
THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) --- PANEL DISCUSSION: C. A. Webb Presents "Racial Pride: A Thin Line Between Love & Hate" Panelists Nova, Stacy Ousley, Ben Jones and Ricky Sann discuss is there anything wrong with loving your own race, and when does such love cross over into something more divisive and dangerous? We will be taking your calls! Listen to the discussion online here: http://tobtr.com/s/629302
THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2009 @ 8p.m. CST (9p.m. EST/6p.m. PT) --- Stellar Award-winning recording artist DeWayne Woods discusses his amazing career and introduces new music. Listen online here: http://tobtr.com/s/629302
For more information about the above roster, contact Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601.896.5616. Know someone who should be a guest or if you have something you want to share, let him know! Past shows can be downloaded for free at www.conversationsliveradio.com.
AUGUST 19, 2009 @ 8:30a.m. CST (9:30p.m. EST/6:30 PT) --- Emmy award-winning journalist Jack Ford discussing his book THE OSIRIS ALLIANCE
AUGUST 19, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- Author Mahonek discusses his book MR. PRESIDENT AFRICA AWAITS YOU
Miss any of the live shows? Then visit the podcasts at http://www.conversationsliveradio.com afterwards.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
MONDAY, AUGUST 17, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m PT) --- Members of the Award-winning R&B Group Day 26 discuss their new video album "FOREVER IN YOUR EYES"
MONDAY, AUGUST 17, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) --- Recording artists KPC make their first appearance to talk life, music and debut their new single "Wildin' Out"
TUESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) --- The Real-Life Billie Jean" Theresa Gonsalves talks about Michael Jackson, her writing career and what's next for her
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2009 @ 8:30a.m. CST (9:30a.m. EST/6:30a.m. PT) --- Award-winning Journalist/Author Jack Ford discusses his novel THE OSIRIS ALLIANCE
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- Author/Activist Mahonek discusses history and his book MR. PRESIDENT AFRICA AWAITS YOU
THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- Rasheed Young of Run's Athletics and Actor/Author/Recording artist Tray Chaney (Poot from HBO's The Wire) discusses their beginnings, their success and how they are using their celebrity to encourage and inspire others.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 20, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) --- PANEL DISCUSSION: C. A. Webb Presents "Racial Pride: A Thin Line Between Love & Hate" Panelists Nova, Stacy Ousley, Ben Jones and Ricky Sann discuss is there anything wrong with loving your own race, and when does such love cross over into something more divisive and dangerous? We will be taking your calls!
For more information about the above roster, contact Webb at email@example.com or 601.896.5616. Know someone who should be a guest or if you have something you want to share, let him know! Past shows can be downloaded for free at www.conversationsliveradio.com.
Monday, August 10, 2009
MONDAY, AUGUST 10, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT)--- Stacey Kannenberg
MONDAY, AUGUST 10, 2009 @ 7P.M. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) --- C. A. Webb Presents "Faith and Literature" with authors Evie Rhodes, Don Greco and Kenneth Worth
TUESDAY, AUGUST 11, 2009 @ 12P.M. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- R&B Sensation Da Pretty Boyz
TUESDAY, AUGUST 11, 2009 @ 7P.M. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) --- Hip Pop Recording Artist Stix
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2009 @ 12p.m. CST (1p.m. EST /10a.m. PT) --- Quann Massey talks about the "Nine & A Half Minutes"
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 12, 2009 @ 7p.m. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) --- Calvin Mann talks about his project Encourage Me In Young
THURSDAY, AUGUST 13, 2009 @ 12P.M. CST (1p.m. EST/10a.m. PT) --- Author John Feinstein
THURSDAY, AUGUST 13, 2009 @ 7P.M. CST (8p.m. EST/5p.m. PT) --- Author Ryan Kohnen
FRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 2009 @ 7P.M. CST (8p.m. EST/ 5p.m. PT) --- Author Shelley Seale discusses her book THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE (Invisible Children of India), Conversations' Book of The Month
To listen to any of the above interviews, simply visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/conversationslive or listen through the switchboard at 347.426.3645.
Friday, August 7, 2009
At a young age, Stix is living a life that few people are able to appreciate. A Watts, California native, the 26 year old (aka Brandon Salaam-Bailey), is a Hip Pop artist that is also a founding member of the rock band, LIFE NINE. The band recently inked a production deal with Grammy nominated artist Tyrese Gibson's company, Headquarter Entertainment.
STIX new CD entitled "Late For Soundcheck”, drops August 18, 2009 and will be available worldwide digitally on iTunes, Amazon.com, and nationally in key stores Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart. He talks to us about his beginnings, how he is using social networks like Twitter to reach his fans and other audiences and how he handles the national attention he is getting.
Thanks for taking out some time to talk with us, Stix. I know you are busy getting ready for the big album release in just a few days, so let's talk about how you got to this point. When did you realize you had a love for music?
I knew I had love for music when my dad use to take me to the park every Sunday when I was a child and I use to watch him play the congos and saxophone , I sat there for hours! Loved it!
Who were some of your earlier musical influences?
My earlier musical influences were Biggie, Metallica, Mase, Guy, and Vanilla Ice (laughs). I'm dead serious.
You are described as a Hip Pop artist and are one of the founding members of the rock band LIFE NINE as well. This definitely shows that you are someone who is not afraid to experiment musically. Was there a fear as to how your music would be received?
Never had a fear because, I always was told that my music reaches a wide audience via black, white, Asian, Latino etc..., I listen to what they all appreciate in music and try to add a element in every song I approach.
All of us go through setbacks and challenges. What has kept you grounded and from giving up on your dream?
What kept me grounded is me living in Watts and coming from nothing. I looked at my surroundings as motivation to get out! I never wanna go back to that after I make it out, but what I am gonna do is give back to where I'm from to uplift it.
Currently you are with Tyrese's Headquarter Ent. How did the two of you meet?
Well, when I created the rock band "Life 9" we inked the deal with his company. He treats me like his lil' brother, and I am blessed to be affiliated with him.
Stix, your album is called "Late For Soundcheck". How would you describe what it was like to our readers?
Late For Soundcheck has something for everybody: rock fans, hip hop and pop fans. (The album) has lyrical content, conceptual songs, love songs, heartfelt struggle songs everything you could ask for in a album. I pray that the listeners enjoy it.
Success is determined in different ways for people. What is success for you with this album?
Success for my album is releasing it, because I know one day the masses will hear it, so simply releasing the album is a success to me.
Has the national attention you are getting put more presure on you to give your best?
No pressues. It just excites me even more to keep going. I love for the consumer to know who I am. All in all, I'm a great guy who just wants to see people happy. I am blessed to get the kind of attention I receive.
Tyrese is involved in movies, tv and other ventures. Is this something you are doing as well?
Count me in on the TV, movies, comic books, children's animation, hedge funds, construction company, parking lots, beverage brands etc... Watch me grow and expand. Ya'll heard me speak it here!
Stix, you are using social networks like Twitter to keep in touch with the world. Do you think it is a way for you to get instant feedback from your fans?
I do because sites like twitter allows you reach your friends in real time meaning instantly! I love Twitter and Facebook and Myspace etc....
What advice would you give to aspiring artists out there who are looking up to you as an example?
Put the great God 1st. Stay Persistent and consistent, and always believe then have faith in what your doing. You will achieve your goals guaranteed.
With your success of course comes responsibility. One of the things we push through our network is the importance of reading. What would you say to your fans about why they should not forget the world that is available to them through books?
You can obtain endless and infinite knowledge through books. My favorite books are The Koran, Bible, Kaballah, 48 laws of power, Art of seduction, Rich dad Poor Dad etc... That's how I get all my knowledge. I love to read, all answers in life are accessible!
Thank you for your time and much success to you, Stix. How can our readers find out more about you online? You're welcome. They can go to http://www.mypspace.com/wattscity or follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/wattsstix
19 year old Chris Ervin (aka Dj Down South/Danny Montana) has been busy making moves in the music industry over the past decade. Finding his style and his listening audience, he works hard to separate himself for other independent artists while plotting his strategy to join the big boys. A native of Petaluma, CA, Ervin lives in Mississippi but has intention of being another local talent. He has his eyes set firmly on conquering the world.
In this exclusive interview he talks about his musical influences as well as how he is challenging himself through his newest project while also making a statement about his future.
Thank you for taking out the time to talk with us, Chris. Let's start with your own interests. What recording artists have had the most impact on your life?
There are many that had a big impact, such artists as, Bob Marley, Tupac, Coolio, Bone Thugs -N- Harmony, Matisyahu, and Damian Marley. Just to name a few
As an artist, how have you managed to separate yourself from the others out there?
I have a Unique voice and style of delivery. I like to give people something new to listen to, I'm always coming up with new flows and I love rapping on experimental beats, something that's really different.
If you had to describe your personal style, what would it be?
Throughout my career I've developed a style called Epic, It combines my love for old school drum patterns, and uses alot of orchestra elements in the melodies. I love it, you can catch that style on my upcoming project 'Dj Down South Vs. Danny Montana'.
One thing about hip hop is that it is not always known for sharing a positive message. Why is it important for you to give the world a variety?
Everybody has a message to share, some of them are not positive but there are some that are. America when it was being established was described as a 'Melting Pot' people from all walks of life came to America for freedom, I use freedom of speech to hopefully get across to people from all over the world, in every walk of life, and to all the generations to come how this 'Melting Pot' is from my point of view.
There are challenges with all careers. What has been your biggest challenge in getting your voice heard?
Meeting people, I have been told countless times throughout the years, 'Its not how good you are, Its who you know' So far in my career I have been struggling with meeting the right people. Though I cherish everyone Iv meet so far I would love to meet that one person who can help me get my career off the ground.
You are preparing for the release of your CD. What is the name of the project, and what can music lovers expect from it?
The CD is entitled 'Dj Down South Vs. Danny Montana' and music lovers are going to love the listening experience. The songs are great and I had a good time writing them.
The word is that you are making the CD available mainly for free download. Why did you make this decision and what do you hope will be the result?
Yeah, That is my decision it will be available for download on numerous websites. I made the decision because I am totally independent and my budget wont allow for me to press a significant amount to distribute effectively. So if I cant get it to everyone's hands through the stores the best I can hope for is to get it to EVERYBODY using the internet. I can only encourage you to burn it to a cd and let your friends, family, and co-workers to listen to it.
You have accomplished alot though you are relatively new to the industry. What advice would you give to artists coming up after you?
Know what you want, Set goals and strategies. Know what your going for and don't limit yourself to what others are doing, do what you want to do. You might come up with the next big style change.
If there was any artists you could work with who would they be?
There are a few out there that I would love to have a song with, some of them are: Matisyahu, Damian Marley, Jesse McCartney, BG Knoccout, Afrika Bambaataa, and Chubb Rock.
You are a supporter of the literacy campaigns Hip Hop and Books as well as The Write Stuff. Why is a project geared at reading something you are interested in?
Reading is very important and is something everyone should take up as a hobby. I enjoy reading myself in my spare time. I am currently reading 'Making It in the Music Business: The Business and Legal Guide for Songwriters and Performers' By Lee Wilson
Thanks for your time. How can our readers find you online or contact you?
No Problem, they can find me at http://www.MySpace.com/djdownsouth838 or http://www.djdownsouth.weebly.com. You can Tweet me at http://www.twitter.com/djdownsouth838.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
"With so much going on in the world it's easy to forget how many lives are being affected by not being able to read and write well," says Webb, but he is determined to use the various platforms he is given to not only keep the awareness on literacy but bring others together to do the same.
In May 2009, ABC News reported that about 30 million Americans have trouble reading and writing. "There is no way I can reach all the people that need help," Webb admits, "but I am taking advantage of every opportunity to not only mention the problem but network with individuals who care about being a part of the solution."
Since 1999, Webb (seen below with a classroom and associates at Pearl High School in Mississippi) has been working in classrooms promoting visual and literary art and made his services available to non-profit organizations and others who wish to shine an all-important light on the subject and importance of reading. "Mississippi has had one of the highest rates for illiteracy, teenage pregnancy, obesity and high school drop-outs for a number of years," says Webb. "This is something that has to be addressed on a daily bases. Those who have been given a voice have to use it in order to make a difference and impact the lives of as many as they can."
Through his radio and television show, bi-monthly Conversations Magazine, the numerous chapters of the Conversations Book Club, his blog as well as articles and commentaries, he is introducing the world to authors of various genres and interests as well as discussing ways that those who are readers and non-readers can come together and join what Webb refers to as an "addiction to books."
He realizes that there is no one way to address the problem. "We all like different things," Webb says, "so it is our job as literary soldiers to find ways in order to reach those who are in need of help." Publications such as Crunk Magazine, Hype Magazine, S.T.I.L.L. Magazine and Nu South Magazines have also enlisted into the service to promote the importance of reading.
In order to tie all of his literary components together, Webb (seen above during a book discussion of Platinum-selling recording artist Corey "C-Murder" Miller's bestselling novel DEATH AROUND THE CORNER at Barnes & Noble) created the "Do The Write Thang" Campaign (see http://www.dothewritethang.com) Thus far Webb has joined with allies in over 30 states, including bestselling and up-and-coming authors, celebrities in tv and radio as well as recognizable names and faces in sports(including Tray Cheney of HBO's The Wire, Derrick Hargrove of MTV 50 CENT: The Money & The Power, Korto Momolu of Bravo's Project Runway, numerous cast members from VH1's I WANT TO WORK FOR DIDDY, Recording artists Nappy Roots and more). They are hosting and supporting what are called "Reading Parties" that provide networking for book lovers but also discussions as to how we can work together in order to help others. Webb is also hosting a series of town-hall style meetings in-person and through his radio show addressing issues that everyone are dealing with, offering solutions along the way.
One of the most popular tools that Webb is utilizing is a touring event called "Art, Books & Beats" (http://www.artbooksandbeats.com) During these events those involved in the various forms of the arts can come together with musicians and authors/booksellers to create an atmosphere that will attract a variety of groups that may not otherwise come together. Admission is free to these events. HunidRacks Energy Drink based out of California is the official energy drink of the literary campaign.
In order to cover travel, lodging and venue costs during this literary warfare, Webb is donating 50% of his artwork sales, 100% of his Hip Hop & Books compilation cd sales as well as 100% of his organization's newest Word Search book (available beginning Friday, August 7, 2009) to help take ocaer of the expenses. A website has also been setup using Give Forward in Chicago, IL (www.giveforward.org/thewritestuff).
For more information about the war Cyrus A. Webb and his associates are waging against illiteracy, contact Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org or 601.896.5616. Also visit http://www.dothewritethang.com.