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The Triumphant Life of a Common Man Cirilo A. McSween 1926-2008

Civil Rights Advocate, Entrepreneur, Restaurateur, Banker, Athlete, Mentor












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By ML Mahaffy


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By Diondra Bradshaw



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By Destiney Minor

12 MY-STORY HIS-STORY By Xavier O’Neal



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By Xavier O’Neal


FINISHING SCHOOL By Cordarius Taylor

18 FAIR ARGUMENT By Steven Hall

THRU DA WIRE ������������������������������������������������������������������� 28 CHICAGO DANCE CREWS


29 30

31 USHER ����������������������������������������������������������������

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39 JOBLESS TEENS By Stephanie Moore

I PHONE By Kyle Bailey


41 TOP 5 IHSA PLAYERS By Kyle Bailey

42 REBIRTH OF HOPE By Benita Brown




TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 1130 SOUTH WABASH SUITE 302 CHICAGO, IL 60605 312.588.0100 OFFICE 312.588.0175 FAX

By Jumilah Jackson

by Benita Brown

21 THE BLOCK By ML Mahaffy


KJ Creative Staff Simeon High School Instructors Rhonda Jackson Polina Zionts Kendra Bogard Annette Archer Yasmeen Muhammed Tiana Coats James Hudson Brittany Brunson Princess Rule Ashley Reed Brandon Quarles Darius Hillery Monique Archer Anshaunti Hillery Monique Archer Gabriel Ross Monikeya Gordon Cherell German Gwen Spight Mikaela Riley Raven Robinson Shareese Scales Tremayne Dumas Chynna Farrow Hassan Childs Brianna Byrd Tatiana Perkins

Event Planning Staff Harlan High School Instructors Joi Mitchell Kikanza Harris Tamera Akis Takeysha Brown Deshaun Clair Leroy Dennis Syvadia Downs Sania Erwin Stephen Gordon Jhirmeka Hines Ashley Jefferson Anna Jenkins Marche Johnson Carol Keel Daniel Merrick Justyna Monegain Dana Spears Jackson Stone Maurice Sutton Chenay Thomas Darion Washington Alexis Webster Markia Wilkerson Brittney Williams Deanna Williams Quawi Williams Zakiya Williams

JK Editorial Staff Gary Comer Youth Center Instructor Jack M. Silverstein Kyle Bailey Amber Blackwell Justin Bowles Diondra Bradshaw Steven Hall Johnny Jenkins Michael Mahaffy Destiney Minor Xavier O’Neal Maya Powe Jordan Washington Armani Brown Sherinthia Woods Editorial Staff Manley High School Instructor Veronica Harrison Daleska Charleston Kiana Eubanks Erin Ewing Toni Green Shaneetra Haywood Jumila Jackson Simmieon Mcgruder

Darry Maneweather Jamie Neal Deyonica Shelby Angela Tally Jessica Williams Angelena Young Sakeria Young Shonquitta Young Student Editorial Consultants Maya Powe Shannon Smith Freelance Writers Instructor Edgar Molina Stephanie Moore Elicia Bibbs Benita Brown Ebony Triplett Briarri Bryant Yetzenia Diaz Manoucheka Airey Randy Bonds Cynthia Paz Paris Brown Jameliah Slater

Tyshay Walker Eric Jones Irvin Hooker

Photography Staff Percy L. Julian High School Instructors Mireya Acierto Deshaun Adams Dhawnaca Alexander De Brown Shelby Brown Ryan Daniel Donnita Edwards Brittany Gould Armand Grant Tara Green Dashay Jackson Beronica Littlejohn Laquishia Moss Breanna Perkins Shanikqwa Peterson Ricky Powell Erin Randle Lanae Randolph Carlton Rice Robert Sanders Trenton Sapp Dazsha Scott Timothy Sheppard Jimmy Smith Rashon Snyder Jamal Spraggins Crystal Walker Ashley Washington Deandre Watts

Laquintasha Williams Chela Woods Nehemiah Young Photography Staff Bogan High School Instructor Ven Sherrod Floria Banks Davonte Bell Vincent Bradford Travione Byars Scymone Dortch Jennifer Gilbert Phylicia Jones Cologne Mckinzie Yamonie Noy Victor Phillis Steven Simpson Dionte Smith Steven Ward Sharita Washington Lonesha Young Sales and Marketing True Star Office Michael Mahaffy Kyle Bailey Leslie Manson Maya Powe Shannon Smith Afua Asantewaa

Executive Directors J. Na’Tae Thompson DeAnna McLeary Managing Editor Jack M. Silverstein Art Direction Design and Illustration

Angel D’Amico Photo Coordinator Mireya Acierto Special Projects Manager Deshaun Adams Philistine Thompsons Account Executive Carlin Tools Administrative Assistants Janine Hart Eureka Gordon Brittany Barron



Editors Letter

s we’ve gotten back into the groove of school, whether it be finishing our first high school exam or completing our first semester in college, we must reflect on the extraordinary events that 2008 gave us and the amazing events 2009 will bring. As 2009 is the year for change, so too has TrueStar made a few changes. Along with upgrading sections of the magazine, TrueStar is busy planning future contests and wishes to involve its readers with a new Letters to the Editor section. As an incentive for more interaction, TrueStar is offering a gift to the first 25 readers who send their comments to Be sure to also look out for future events, like our most recent, Careers on Deck. With that said, welcome to ChicagObama, a Barack Obama Special Collector’s Edition. In this issue, TrueStar’s staff celebrates our newest President, Barack Obama. From “Our President,” Barack’s biography, to “Rebirth of Hope,” an outlook on the state of America, to “The President’s Residence,” a look at how residents of Barack’s Hyde Park have been affected by tightened security, to celebrity reactions to Obama’s victory, there is no doubt this issue will go down in history. Also in this issue is “The Block: Getting Money,” a story that discusses the importance of making the right decisions, along with “The User and the Used,” a glance at how some teens get taken advantage of in relationships. Enjoy our new column in partnership with Hoops High and profiles of some of the hottest dance crews in Chicago. TrueStar thanks you for celebrating these monumental times with us. While America is a country where all things are possible, TrueStar is a place where our possibilities grow. Without you, that growth would not be achieved. The hard work and dedication of our staff and supporters is well reflected in this issue. Enjoy!

Yours truly, Maya Powe Senior, Whitney Young High School Staff Editor PLEASE LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON TRUESTAR MAGAZINE Hit TrueStar up on Facebook: TrueStar Mag and CONTACT US at: Letters to TrueStar, • 1130 South Wabash • Suite 302 • Chicago, Il 60605-2717 Letters become the property of TrueStar and may be edited for publication. EMAIL Notice: TrueStar would like to thank Bill Smith for providing the Derrick Rose cover picture and inside picture for our Fall 2008 issue. TrueStar would like to thank Obama for America, Worsom Robinson, and Deshaun “Trig” Adams for Barack Obama photographs Cover Photo by Worsom Robinson



Event Planning Team TS: If there was one thing you could ask Michelle or Barack Obama, what would it be? AJ: I would ask Barack, What will be your first job while in office? And to Michelle, How does it feel to be the First Lady? TS: If you were elected President, what would your first order of business be? AJ: I would try to get the economy back on track. TS: What’s the biggest contribution you have made to the magazine? AJ: I didn’t know that much about Event Planning, but the magazine taught me how to really plan events and get hands on training by making sure every event was planned correctly and ran smoothly.

MAYA POWE 17, Whitney Young

Editorial Team

SHANNON SMITH 18 University of Illinois at Champaign- Urbana

Senior Editor & True Star Alumni Describe your experience at TrueStar… It was unreal! I never thought I’d bump elbows with some of the hottest artist out there, Keyshia Cole, Vanessa and Angela Simmons, Trey Songz, Yung Joc, the list goes on. Although the magazine industry is not all about meeting celebrities, I must say that was a pretty good perk about the job! Another great thing was meeting all of the wonderful people who share a love for writing as I do. What was your most memorable moment? I will l never forget my very first interview. It was a phone interview with Yung Joc, on a bright sunny summer day. With a recorder and my questions in hand, butterflies bombarding my stomach, Yung Joc answered the phone and I introduced myself. He was so cool and chill, which made me relax and learn to be more conversational when interviewing celebrities. How has True Star prepared you for your future? By working with TrueStar, I figured out what I wanted my career to be. TrueStar made me realize that I need to work in a career where I can utilize my social skills. I have fallen in love with the media industry, which is why I chose to major in Broadcast Journalism. By working on the Editorial team, Sales and Marketing team and helping in the office, I have strengthened my writing skills, social skills, interviewing skills and most importantly communication and networking skills. These are skills that any person needs to be successful in the future. TrueStar has shown me the glamorous side as well as the business side of the media industry, which has prepared me more than ever. Thanks TrueStar!


Graphic Design Team TS: How has Obama inspired you? DH: He’s taught me that I can be anything I want to be, and dreams can come true. It doesn’t matter what race you are, you can make a change. TS: If you were elected President, what would your first order of business be? DH: To try to get more money towards schools in order to get kids off the streets and to gain control on gun violence. TS: What’s the biggest contribution you have made to the magazine? DH: Keeping people laughing and having fun-I helped to keep a happy environment.

TS: Since it’s known as the year of change, what’s one thing you hope will change? MP: Education. I hope people will realize the quality of having one. TS: How has Obama inspired you? MP: His charisma. Despite him being the first black president-he did it with poise and class. He didn’t shoot people down. TS: What’s the biggest contribution that you have made to the magazine? MP: Keeping the harmony within the staff, along with keeping the harmony with the different aspects of the magazine like the stories and their content.


Photography TS: Since it’s known as the year of change, what’s one thing you hope will change? RP: The poverty in America. TS: If you were elected President, what would your first order of business be? RP: Help the homeless. TS: What’s the biggest contribution you have made to the magazine? RP: Give ideas about the different topics to include in the magazine. Go to different TrueStar events for support along with taking pictures there even when I was off duty.


Editorial/ Sales and Marketing TS: How has Obama inspired you? MM: Obama has truly inspired me, not with his words, but with his example. He has proved that anything is possible, and that’s all anyone can ask, to know that what you want to do in life is actually possible. TS: If there was one thing you could ask Michelle or Barack Obama, what would it be? MM: What were your expectations 10 years ago? TS: What’s the biggest contribution you have made to the magazine? MM: Well, I think the biggest contribution I’ve made to TrueStar magazine is my perspective. I think I have added a special viewpoint to the magazine that has been utilized to help the public, the magazine, and myself. TRUESTAR MAGAZINE 7



PRESIDENT BY ML MAHAFFY - Senior, Hyde Park Career Academy


hange does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” ---Martin Luther King Jr.

George Washington was appointed to lead the United States of America first, in 1789. He was a white male. Precisely forty-two consecutive presidents followed this specific trend. Therefore, the development of a biased view was inevitable. In fact, it wasn’t until over six and a half decades after Washington was elected that the 13th Amendment was passed, abolishing slavery. Even still, the journey didn’t get much easier.

In 2004, though, America found out who Barack Obama really was. He introduced the country to his charisma, appeal, charm and intellect when he gave the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention, shining light on himself as a young Democrat with CHANGE on his mind. Less than three years later, Obama announced his candidacy for President of the United States of America, and the race was on.

Jim Crow laws through the 1960s motivated inspirational acts from many people, such as Martin Luther King Jr., who believed that “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” King was part of that first step back when not even the second step was visible, but because he and others took the step of speaking out against the wrongdoings imposed on black people, the stairwell was revealed. People of all races became aware of the discrimination against blacks and began to formulate a new mindset: A mindset of change.

After a bitter, mud-slinging voyage of a campaign, after Barack Obama overcame an untraditional household, a couple low-threat assassination attempts, and all historical odds, after it was all over…The United States of America has elected its first African American president. He acquired a projected 365 electoral votes, an overwhelming victory, and he’s still in the process of forming a winning team to contend with the worst economic status since the Great Depression.

With the life of the United States of America, over 200 years, being controlled by a white man, any discrepancy is bound to alert the average American, the average American who remembers roughly 150 years ago when half of the country fought, some even giving their lives, to keep African Americans enslaved…the average American who remembers the Supreme Court ruling that “separate, but equal” was acceptable. Yes, this is the average American that elected a black president. Change has come…from all the way through the 1960s when blacks weren’t allowed in “ALL WHITE” restaurants and were lynched for using “WHITE ONLY” washrooms, even through the early nineties when a man named Rodney King became famous for being beaten to a pulp by white police officers for no apparent reason. Yes, change has come. Barack has come. He comes from Hawaii originally, but has been all over the world. He comes from Harvard, magna cum laude. He comes from deep inside our grandparents’ hearts filled with hopes of a better future…an equal one. Persons who endured those hard times never thought their optimism would ever be answered, but…Change has come. 8 TRUESTAR MAGAZINE

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” Franklin Roosevelt declared in his Inaugural Address as he entered the White House in one of the most trying times in history. He had a dream he believed would lead the United States out of calamity, and it proved successful, with the backing of the Americans. Barack Obama also has a dream—a dream to change the world. Despite the nonexistence of his father at a young age, defeat in its finest form, and the habitual discouragement of his peers, he stayed focused and, at the age of 47, has already changed the world in plenty of ways. He was the first African American to be appointed President of the Harvard Law Review, first African American selected as the Presidential nominee of either major party, and, of course, the first African American to ever be elected. But what’s next? With the country in a recession, the task at hand is rigid. He’s selecting his team carefully, including the choice of Hilary Clinton, his former adversary, as Secretary of State. No one really knows what to expect, but one thing is certain: Barack Obama looks different, thinks different, and seems to operate different. If there’s one thing this country is ready for, it’s change, and Obama is the epitome of the term. ARE YOU READY? IS AMERICA?


Photo Credit - Worsom Robinson

You’re walking down the street, on your way to school, right on time, when all of a sudden…“STOP!” You are in a state of shock. “What??” You come to find that your normal route to school has been blocked because of Barack Obama’s residency on that block. The whole street has been cut off; no one allowed in or out without a photo ID or proof of residence. “Now what?” you ask. You now have to walk around the block the complete other way and risk being late for school. In some teens’ opinions it would be perfectly acceptable for the buses to ride through the street. Some teens fail to realize the danger Obama is put in because a potential threat will be let off at the corner of 51st and Woodlawn. This is what the secret service and Chicago Police Department are trying to avoid. Without any notification of the sudden changes, a photo ID and proof of residence were required of all residents. This acts as an inconvenience to the

BALLIN’ WITH THE PREZ BY JOHNNY JENKINS - Junior, Kenwood Academy It doesn’t matter whether Barack Obama is playing on his varsity high school team or a pick-up game: he takes it serious. Barack is not only an intellectual politician but a fierce competitor in athletic situations as well. Obama played varsity basketball for his high school in Hawaii, where they won the state championship. Even though he was an integral part of that team and loved the game, he did not further his career in college. But basketball did leave its mark on Obama, according to Chris McLachlin, his high school coach: “He didn’t lie until he learned how to play.” Although this doesn’t take points away from Obama’s character it shows his early signs of becoming a politician, as the old saying goes, ”Politicians tell lies.” In this world you cannot gain success without the patience and tolerance of others, and being a part of a basketball team definitely helped him in that area. Through basketball he learned perseverance, hard work, and commitment. Coming off the bench in high school taught him that you don’t always have to be the leader to have an impact on the situation. In a recent column, Scoop Jackson from wrote: “No one who’s ever run for president has had a close relationship with basketball. Why should Barack be the first? He was different enough.” This one minor but major thing shows his independence and willingness to be ostracized for being different, standing for change. 10 TRUESTAR MAGAZINE

many teens that have yet to have a reason for a state ID. Carmen J., a resident of Hyde Park, had a bit of trouble getting into her own home one evening. The CPD questioned her and made her walk through the alley just to get into her own house. “It frustrated me a lot to have the police not believe me,” she said, “but I guess I just needed to get a state ID.” It is the teen’s own responsibility to get to school on time whether or not their route was changed. This may not be the best news for them but that’s just the way the school system is set up. Though there are many downsides to the new president living in Hyde Park, his residence also brings awareness to the area. Lots of tourists will come and explore. The police, although very strict, have lowered crime rates in the area and in many surrounding areas. Hyde Park takes great pride in having the president live in its very own neighborhood.

voices heard BY DESTINEY MINOR - Senior, Harlan Community Academy


here were a lot of teens who played an important part in this historical election. Young African Americans got a once in a lifetime experience to express themselves and let their voices be heard this election year.


Chicago Public Schools gave several determined students the opportunity to be election judges during this historical year. Cierra Branch, a senior at Harlan High School who served as an election judge, was honored to be a part of this historical election. “This year’s election was historic because we had two powerful men running and one is an African American from Illinois,” Branch said. Many teens felt that this election would destroy the word can’t and the economic recession that has left many jobless and penniless. They also felt that this election would help people, not just teens, recapture their dreams and make them into a reality. 18 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted in this year’s election. Obama led the teen vote 68:30. Branch is among the teens who believe the election will change the economy as well as their education. “Indeed it will,” Branch said. “I know the outcome of this election will change the economy as well as gas prices and our education.”

that they do play an important part,” said Branch. Teens are inspired by Obama’s speeches and his plan to improve life. “I feel that Barack Obama’s speeches are meaningful and I do sense that he is fighting for a positive change for the United States,” Branch continued. “His speeches impact me because I want to know that we as an American people are safe from wars and that our troops will finally come home.” During this historical time teens throughout the country were granted the opportunity to cast their vote. Today seems like a brand new day considering that we have a new president, and, in the future, a better economy, lower gas prices, Medicare for the lower class and an improved education for the youth. President Barack Obama is now the leader of our nation that once was a victim to recession and depression. The change that we have been waiting for is finally here. We voted. We regained our nation. Yes we did.

Photo Credit - Armand Grant, Julian High School

Many teens have been affected by the election. They are worried, unsure if they will be able to go to college and be successful in the future. “This election has not affected me yet, but I think it has affected teens who are first-time voters, because it actually shows them that they are the voice of America and



Is It My-Story

or His-Story BY XAVIER O’NEAL - Junior, Kenwood Academy


any history classes start off at slavery when it comes to African American history. However there is more to it than that because according to recent biologic studies, the earliest version closest to a human was found in West Africa. Africa had a vast and intelligent system of government, while Ghana had a powerful army before the rise of Mali and Songhai. In the past ignorant comments have been made about African Americans in general. “No systematic effort towards change has ever been possible,” was a statement made by Carter G. Woodson. It describes how no matter how many things have happened the Negro will still remain the same and any effort would be useless, according to his book The Miseducation of the Negro. Most of the ignorance to the topic is due to children being taught from a Eurocentric curriculum rather than an Afro-centric one. This is why people aren’t picturing African Americans as doers, builders, and are subject to their own rights and not the fringes of others history. Since others have missed out on a well-centered education it causes them not to take full effect of the values they have been given from the hard work their ancestors have put in to make a better future. A student at Kenwood Academy asked his teacher “If I vote on November 4th will I receive extra credit?” This kind of question shows that the student wasn’t looking at the big picture, not realizing that he had a chance to make a difference in life. Voting is a privilege, and this student did not see all that his ancestors went through in order to get African Americans the right to vote. Barack Obama wants to change America for the better. He does not only plan to do it socially but systematically. He wants to end the war in Iraq no matter what it takes, and his views on change will have a drastic effect on the economy. But most of all, Obama’s victory gives hope that African American students will be raised with a better understanding of their world. 12 TRUESTAR MAGAZINE

Barack Obama:

The Family Man BY MAYA POWE - Senior, Whitney Young High School

escribe an American family. Is this family a married couple

with two children, or a single mother working to support her family? Or does this family include a man with the eyes of a dreamer, the smile of courage and perseverance, and the gifts of three equally important generations of women? His name: Barack Obama. In 1961, Barack Obama entered the world. His mother, S. Ann Dunham, worked as an American anthropologist with a specialization in rural development. Her career and marriage to Lolo Soetoro led to a family move to Indonesia, where Barack remained until he was 10. Barack then

In 1989, another important woman entered Barack’s life. Michelle Obama grew up on the South Side of Chicago. After attending Bryn Mawr Elementary School and Whitney Young Magnet High School, Michelle went on to study sociology with a minor in African American Studies at Princeton University and later received her J.D. from Harvard Law School. Though her accomplishments are many, it is Michelle Obama’s poise and diligence that is reflected through her husband. Barack Obama is well spoken, slow to confrontation, and charismatic. From his wife, he receives perseverance.

moved back to Hawaii to live with his maternal grandparents. Though Barack lived without his mother for a number of years, he sought for

Now, in 2009, Barack Obama is a father of two beautiful and outspoken daughters, Malia and Sasha. Without them, Barack Obama cannot fulfill

stability, something his mother’s passion and determination had not allowed her. Nonetheless, her free spirit and charitable nature has undoubtedly rubbed off on him. Barack Obama worked for many years

his dream and his need for perseverance is void. Though defined by some as a modern day Martin Luther King, Jr., Barack Obama has his

as a civil rights attorney, was elected to the U.S. Senate, and was elected the first African American president of the United States. From his mother, he receives a dream.

own dream, a dream to fulfill the needs of others and to create a better America, breaking down barriers of race, sex, religion and age along the way. From his daughters, he receives courage. From him we receive an American family. TRUESTAR MAGAZINE 13

Photos Courtesy of Obama for America


“From his daughters, he receives courage. From him we receive an American family.”


CELEBRITIES TALK OBAMA Maestro Harrell Actor, best known from television’s The Wire Barack Obama’s run for the Presidency has shown me that our society, though we have a long way to go, has come a long way with race relations. It also gives me hope that maybe our society is ready for a fresh start. Just maybe over time our world will focus more on qualifications than race or ethnicity. If Barack Obama wins it would not only make me be proud as a black man, but even more so as an American.

Jazmine Sullivan Recording artist The election of Barack Obama encourages me to dream big and let’s me know that we can be more than entertainers and athletes. We can be President of the United States.

Quentin Richardson Basketball player for the New York Knicks Barack’s run for the Presidency is really a symbol of how far African Americans have come in this country. I’m just proud for all this history to be happening and I’m old enough to comprehend what’s going on and by voting, I’m able to be a part of it.

Phatfffat/Dondria Nicole Youtube singing star I’m not just satisfied with the election because Obama is black, because Hilary Clinton is a women, and she would have been the first female president, so either way, this election was really historic. It made it official: you can do anything you want in life, as long as you put your mind to it and it’s for the right reason.

D. Woods Witnessing Barack Obama’s campaign has been an inspiration and a wake up call to the many issues I’ve been living with as a young adult and especially as an African American female. I’ve come to the realization of how far this country has come in the short time lifespan between myself and my parents, but also I’ve seen how much individuals that make up this country must change in order to build a future that is beneficial for all citizens. Barack Obama has used a thorough line of “change” during his campaign and it has been exciting to see how many different kinds of people he’s brought together and how many new efforts for change have come about because of this campaign, both big and small. Watching Obama has ignited a sense of accountability and pride and I hope it continues throughout his term as president!

Talib Kweli Barack Obama is our president whether he won the election or not. His poise, grace, determination and intelligence will give young people hope for generations to come.



A Dream Fulfilled

BY XAVIER O’NEAL - Junior, Kenwood Academy Has Barack Obama fulfilled Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream? King had a vision that he doubted he would live to see that was stated in his I Have a Dream speech. Barack becoming president may have been a stepping stone towards or maybe even surpassed King’s dream for America. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” King wanted people of color to be respected and not misjudged because they were black. King wanted blacks to be judged by who they were as people as well as their accomplishments. Barack becoming president shows that King’s dream is becoming a reality. “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” King wanted blacks and whites to be able to come together and not treat each other as lesser beings. Barack’s speech at Grant Park gathered people of all races, and a sense of unity was instilled in the hearts of everyone.

Photo Credit - Worsom Robinson

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.” Though not made during the I Have A Dream speech, this stance on the value of money vs. life spoke volumes about King’s vision. He felt that too much money was being spent on wars rather than the economy and the well-being of the people; this could be said as one of America’s greatest downfalls. Barack’s plan to remove the troops from Iraq and stop spending so much money on the war shows how he doesn’t want the economy to crash. Although Barack has yet to fulfill King’s dream, he is well on his way to doing so and making the United States a better country. TRUESTAR MAGAZINE 15

M ERT Teens on the rise!!!M



Ashley Qualls


BY KYLE BAILEY - Junior, Kenwood Academy

Ashley Qualls

Ashley is a 17-year-old millionaire. She got to her millions the same way we get to our e-mail; she turned on the computer! Ashley has a website called that offers bright MySpace backgrounds and recent news. Starting with only $8 at age 14, Ashley now has a business worth more than $1.5 million; she shows you do not need much, even as a teen, to be successful.

Thomas Hamilton Jr. Thomas Hamilton Jr.

Q Kelvin Taylor


Thomas Hamilton a.k.a. Tom Tom, is a six-foot-six eighth grader at Beasley Academic Center with an all around game on the basketball court. Despite being such a great prospect to all high school programs, Thomas doesn’t think about his hype that much; he just soaks it all in. Focusing mainly on school, family, and basketball, Tommy has his goals set out for this year: getting good grades, getting into a good high school, and leading his Beasley Bee’s to a city championship.

Kelvin Taylor

Kelvin Taylor is a six-foot, 205-pound eighth grade running back from South Florida. You may have thought Kelvin was a dominant running back on the grade school level…wrong! He is the starting running back for his school’s varsity team and is dominant in games. Ranked the #1 football player in the United States for his class by USA Today, Kelvin already is looking like a future NFL star!




ver since kindergarten, adults have stressed the importance of “staying in school.” But how important is it? Is it a matter of life or death or just the difference between renting an apartment and owning a house? Instead of simply stating “knowledge is fundamental,” I set out to investigate the real importance of education.

Mike Henderson is a 36-year-old college dropout who works at Pizza Hut and also cuts grass. Though his mother always pushed him to finish school, Mr. Henderson could not stay motivated. “I just wasn’t feeling school anymore,” he said. “I ended up being around the wrong people.” Dropping out may not leave you doomed, but many people find life without a degree much more difficult. “I regret it everyday. It’s really nothing out here without…that degree behind you.” Martin Willis is a 41-year-old living in Surprise, Arizona with his wife and four 16 TRUESTAR MAGAZINE

children. He is an electrician starting his own business. Mr. Willis, a community college graduate with a degree in engineering, feels “blessed” for his educational opportunities. “Most young brothers and sisters don’t get a chance to even set foot

BY CORDARIUS TAYLOR Junior Kenwood Academy


on a college campus.” Without school, he said, “I wouldn’t have the fancy cars and nice house and probably not the beautiful wife I have and love so much.” We as teens have yet to reach the point in our lives where we fully understand the importance of schooling. But come 22, 23, 24, reality will suddenly become oh so real as the results of our decisions become apparent. There are many different levels in college. Once you’ve completed all four years you will receive your bachelor degree—that’s good, but not great. With that, however, you will start having better opportunities come your way in terms of earning power and job selection.



U W V can Top 5 Teen

Stereotypes BY JUSTIN BOWLES Junior, De La Salle High School









lovers have argument?

t is easy to point out all the wrongs someone has done and


potential contentious topics. (Especially girls)

much to you where they can anger you, then most likely they can

• There is a time and a place to do things, similar to a first kiss.

just as easily made you smile and melt inside.

The best time to discuss your needs and wants isn’t when your

According to adults, teens don’t

partner just gets on the phone or when you all have planned to

understand the value of a dollar

I bring you the ten key points to arguing fairly:

or the concept of life! Teens don’t

Don’t question who your partner is, but what they

help shun the stereotype; some go

have done and why they did it.

partner feels is not fair to you or them. • Instead of biting our tongue sometimes we can give the PG

to “real world” rules.

• When we begin to defend ourselves against our lover, our

version of what we want or need for our partner rather then letting

teammate, we lose focus of why we have come together. Without

those transgressions build.


an openness to disagree and affirm a common understanding, a

Adults feel that teens put too

relationship is held at a standstill.

There is no winner or loser, when both partners argue; there are only two winners or losers.

items! Teens put clothes before

Create a commitment to leave the argument with a


solution to the problem.

Don’t yell or scream, because hell is not here nor

school supplies, homework, and

• Let us not abandon arguing because of anger, love, or tiredness

do you see ice cream.

handling their business.

because of arguing.

• Yelling and screaming does not mean you have won


Don’t argue when you are tired.




the argument. Lots of times this worsens the circumstance, “It’s like it’s cool to be gay now.”

taking the argument from a level of concern to an occurrence of disrespect.

Words spoken by a parent who

Try your hardest to care about what your partner

feels that teens are getting too

has to say. (Especially guys)

Finally and most important don’t hesitate to admit

ostentatious in expressing their

• It is your duty to listen and provide a way for them to feel

your mistakes.

homosexuality. Teens have started

heard. If not they may stop trying to express themselves to you

• Admit your guilt; you may avoid an argument completely if you

gay clubs at various schools

completely, forfeiting your right to know.

admit your wrongs.

‘homosexual school” opening up. 4. TROUBLE STARTERS There are two types of teenagers that spark alarm in adults: a teenager in a black hoodie, and a group of teens. Adults feel as though these two types are trouble starters no matter what. Teens perpetuate this by constantly wearing the mugger’s uniform that is saggy jeans and a black hoodie. When in a group overcome with boredom they tend to do anything for fun, even if that means starting trouble.


Displacing your emotions because of how your

As hard as it may sound don’t defend yourself.

and there is rumored to be a


have a great night o the town.

clothes and being insubordinate

much importance on material


Choose the right time to bring up concerns or

forget all the great things they’ve done for you. If they mean that

as far as to spend whole checks on


BY STEVEN HALL Senior, King College Prep

5. UNINHIBITED CURSING Teens swear as if it’s the new trend now! In front of elders, in public, to their parents, they don’t care.


Grades vs. Social Life: Can You Have Both? BY BENITA BROWN - Junior, Lindblom Math & Science Academy


n recent years, the competition to get into big universities has become more intense. Not

only must students maintain good grades—they are also expected to be involved in as many extra-curriculars as humanly possible, all while trying to support themselves and help out their family. With much of the day being spent taking care of the necessaries, how can anybody maintain a social life? Some say that grades come first—no matter what!



between the two.

• The only way to keep up with your homework is to keep track of it. Find a nifty place in your planner to jot down all your assignments along with their due dates.

Either way you look at it, priorities are priorities! You can’t expect to achieve your dreams by putting off that which can help bring those dreams to reality. When you sit to manage


your time, you must make time for the most important things first. If you get down to the

• Now that you have a visual grasp on everything that’s going on, take some time to

bottom of the list and realize you have little-to-no-time for fun and friends, take comfort

figure out which tasks-at-hand are most urgent. Start with the most urgent and work your

that you still have spring and summer vacation. Either that or you can try some of the

way to the least. Can’t be any simpler than that.

following time managing techniques: PACE YOURSELF TIME MANAGEMENT

• This classic piece of advice is old in age but not in relevance. First take a look at every-

• In order to manage your time, you have to literally manage your time. Keep a planner

thing that needs doing. Then find small openings in your schedule and start knocking out

of everything going on in your life, from school to work to church. Record your schedule

a chunk at a time, but without doing too much at once. If you keep up at a steady pace

instead of having it jumbled in your brain.

throughout the week, chances are you might find some free time open up.

When you have a guy wrapped around your little finger

The User and The Used

everything’s all good. But do you think about what this is doing to

BY CYNTHIA PAZ - Graduate, El Cuarto Ano

all these things for you but do you think other guys will think that’s

your reputation? Sure you feel “cool” that there’s a guy that’s doing


cool? If you build a reputation as a “player,” once

gliding past, she gives you a little smile and bats her long lashes your

same for girls; if they know a guy is a “player”

way. Two minutes later you’re buying her whatever she wants just so

they won’t want anything to do with him. Be

she can give you a second glance. Ladies, you know the game, how

dependent on yourself, get a job, get a car,

guys want to buy your affections since you are so beautiful. As if you

learn how to do things on your own. Once

would ever be with him, but hey, it’s cool if he keeps trying right?

you learn how to take care of yourself then

uys, you know how it is: you see a pretty face with a nice shape

you find Mr. Right, he’s not going to be interested. It’s the

you can worry about adding a man to the We see this everyday. Guys who give a girl everything just so that


maybe she’ll want to be with him. Girls who use a guy’s emotions to get him to do whatever she wants. Why do these girls need to use

In the end, guys just have to be careful of

men for support, and why do these guys think they can buy love?

which women they choose, and not rely on their wallets to woo. Using money to get

Unless it’s a girlfriend or a family member, you should never let a

attention is only going to attract the wrong

women have money or anything else whenever she wants. If you

type of woman. Ladies need to concentrate

want a girl to take you seriously and not treat you like an ATM,

on living their own lives and learning that

don’t use money as your only avenue to getting a girl’s attention. Be

they don’t need a man to do everything

who you are and if a girl doesn’t like it than she’s not worth your

for them. Besides, doing things for yourself

time or money.

is much more rewarding. TRUESTAR MAGAZINE 19


BY ML MAHAFFY - Senior, Hyde Park Career Academy


oney is said to be the root of all evil, but it is also the root of survival. Everyone has needs that are unquenchable by anything except money. This forces some to make the acquisition of money a top priority; in itself, there’s nothing wrong with that. Still, the question arises: “Does it matter how you get your money?” This is an ongoing argument, and an examination of both sides of life will be of assistance. A hustler is a person who sells a service or product without having a legal license. Hustling is usually done with drugs being bought wholesale and sold retail. The hustler doesn’t get paid for his time, though; he gets paid by commission. The working (wo)man, on the contrary, is working a legal job at a set rate and is having taxes taken out of every paycheck. Both paths can be lucrative, and the conflict comes when a person wants to make the hustling money without breaking the law. But a person that chooses to hustle rarely even chooses. A hustler is usually digging himself out of a hole. Maybe he has a criminal background and can’t get a decent job, or maybe he just can’t find one. With the high unemployment rate, it can be extremely difficult to find a reliable income, until one of the guys off the block proposes another option. What if he says he will give you 50 bags to sell at ten dollars each, but he only wants three hundred dollars back? It’s not easy to turn that type of money down, especially when each 50 pack moves within two days. That’s about $600/week, more than what a full-time job at minimum wage would pay. That would be 40 hours at, in Illinois, $7.75/hr, which comes out to a little bit over $300/week.

It comes down to how you want to feel. If you hustle, you might not be such a happy person because you always have to watch your back. You have police on your trail as well as all of those people who see so much money and get jealous. But you’re paid. You have enough money to pay all of your bills on time, with change left over to save and take your mate out for dinner every so often. Money isn’t everything, but it is compulsory to live. That means that everyone has “getting money” on the mind, but it’s not always what you do but how you do it. To avoid the risk of a delinquent background and being killed over territory, get a job. If you don’t believe the dangers, try the other route. Maybe you’ll get rich without ever getting caught…or maybe I’ll be writing an article about you next time… “Lack of money is the root of all evil,” George Bernard Shaw

Photo Credit - Deshaun “Trig” Adams

On the contrary, the legally working person—though taking a major pay-cut— gets reimbursed with safety and relaxation. He might not get as much money, but he has set hours, a safe working environment and the calmness of not having to worry about the police slowing down his earnings. He has upheld his morals and doesn’t have to experience his conscience eating him up just because of the way he lives. Maybe he grew up in the church, or just had parents who taught him morals. Sure, he wants the money, but he doesn’t want to go to jail. He’s seen the movies and reality shows and the bars don’t appeal to him, but the decision becomes even harder when the rent is due and his bank account is overdrawn.


Makeup Artists Heather Bear, Giselle S. Gonzalez, Courtney Olawumi

Photographer Armand Grant, Julian High School

Stylist Justin Min




Adidas Originals Chicago 923 Rush Street


Love Lulu Mae



Special Thanks to

MCA & Erin Baldwin - Media Relations Manager

Belts and bows with hoodies so rare, military pea coats and dresses with flair--that’s what fashion dreams are made of…

Artist: Kara Walker, Presenting Negro Scenes Drawn Upon My Passage through the South and Reconfigured for the Benefit of Enlightened Audiences Wherever Such May Be Found, By Myself, Missus K.E.B. Walker, Colored 1997. MCA Collection, gift of Susan and Lewis Manilow. The work made of black paper cut into sharply defined portrait silhouettes, examine the social implications of slavery and the pre-Civil War South. In Walker’s works, truth and fiction collide and historical power relations are reversed.


Her: Headband with flowers made by Justin Min Floral Dress Coat - Mieko Mellucci Silver Bandage Dress - BCBG Cut-out Pumps - Betsey Johnson Him: Burnout V-Neck T - AKIRA Double Breasted Trench - Howe Cargo Pants - Sole Mates Shoes - ADIDAS Chicago

Her: Headband with owers - by Justin Min Oversized Sweater - Kensie Dress - LaRok Shoes - Jessica Simpson Him: Metallic Blazer - Bill Tornade Jeans - Seven Jeans For All Mankind Shoes- AKIRA

Artist: Sarah Sze, Proportioned to the Groove, 2005. MCA Collection, Bernice and Kenneth Newberger Fund. Sculptural works using ordinary objects that are meticulously mapped and arranged to balance order and chaos and suggest the presence of a living organism.


Her: Blouse - Sole Mates Skirt - AKIRA Shoes - ADIDAS Chicago Animal Skull Necklace - Chris Habana Him: T-Shirt - Sole Mates Hoodie - ADIDAS Chicago Cargo Pants - Sole Mates Shoes - ADIDAS Chicago

Artist: Ken Fandell, Days and Nights, Dawns and Dusks, East and West, North and South, Mine and Yours, 2007. MCA Collection. Large-scale photo montages of the sky. Fandell creates intricate and perpetual changing cloud formations, sunsets and full moons.


Museum of Contemporary Art 220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611 312.280.2660 Museum Hours: Tuesday 10 am - 8 pm Wed. through Sun. 10 am - 5 pm Admission FREE all day on Tuesdays

Photographer Mireya Acierto Stylist Justin Min Makeup Artist Krystyn Johnson Hair Stylist Anthony Baltazar Photo Assistant Liz Kindig Models Megan Lewis, Alex Benford

Her: Headband – Justin Min Jacket - Mieko Mellucci Silk Gown - BCBG Max Azria Him: Belted Trench - Hyden Yoo Shirt - Ben Sherman Jeans - Rock and Republic



The Dance Crews BY EBONY TRIPLETT - Senior, De La Salle High School


ith all the great talent bubbling up in our City of Wind, it is of no surprise that Chicago is home to a few championship-caliber dance crews. We caught up with representatives of two of them to discuss.

FINAL PHAZE TRUE STAR: How is Final Phaze different from other dance groups? NATE COLE, marketing director: To begin with, we started off dancing in the park to now dancing in our own studio. [In addition,] we require all of our members to maintain at least a C+ average. TS: How do you deal with drama or hardships within the group? NC: We have something called “Keep it Real Thursdays,” where they all come and express themselves and talk out their problems. By doing this, we hope to eliminate any quarrels within the team. We put everything on the table and there’s nothing that we hide from each other. TS: If a person was contemplating joining Final Phaze or another group, what would you tell them to get them to join Final Phaze? NC: I would persuade anyone; the facts are the facts. You want to know where your money is going. If you give Final Phaze fifty dollars every month you’ll see that we have our own studio and we’re going out of town even when the kids can’t afford it.


STICK AND MOVE TRUE STAR: What makes Stick and Move different from other dance crews? JONATHON ST. CLAIR, group member and co-CEO: Our versatility and the range of arts that we cover. Not only do we breakdance, we also pop, some of our members lock, some of us even do footwork. We also do hip-hop choreography. We really learn the technique, foundation, history, art, and culture of the dance. TS: What are Stick and Move’s strengths? JS: We have our own groove. Many of us have known each other since high school and when we first started, we didn’t have anyone to show us these moves so we gravitated towards each other and developed our own style. TS: If a person was contemplating joining Stick and Move what would you tell them to help persuade them? JS: I would tell them there is more to it than just dancing. It takes discipline, determination, and commitment. Dancing is not just something that we do in our spare time; it’s a lifestyle. If they can display those qualities then I would tell them to come try out.

hispanics in hip hop Sazonandó the Beat! M

BY YETZENIA DIAZ - Sophomore, Carl Schurz High School

any have reflected on the history of hip-hop now that the urban phenomenon is over 30 years old. But despite the renewed interest in its history, not much has been done to recognize the immense influence Hispanics

Among some of the first to ever spit was a Cuban rapper named Ulpiano Sergio Reyes, better known as: Mellow Man Ace. His classic “Mentirosa” was the first song to ever mix Spanish and English lyrics, and can still be heard on

have had in the creation and perpetuation of the urban phenomenon. So in recognizing this lack of recognition, I intend to make sure we give some props where props are long overdue, beginning with the first Hispanic to ever make a name for himself in the world of hip-hop.

the radio from time to time decades after its 1989 release. He was also one of the original members of Cypress Hill—a supremely popular, all-Hispanic rap group from the 90s.

In 1977, early in hip-hop’s history, the first Hispanic recognized as a participant of the movement co-founded the world famous Rock Steady Crew in the Bronx, New York. Joseph “Jo Jo” Torres, whose parents were Puerto Rican, and his boy, Jimmy D, formed the crew in order to battle other collections of b-boys who were popping up on the streets of New York City around that time. They went on to become the first b-boy crew to gain national fame, ultimately thrusting breakdancing and hip hop culture into the mainstream. Another Puerto Rican, Crazy Legs, played a major role in the revitalization of the Rock Steady Crew after the crew had almost dwindled into non-existence. The crew eventually released the critically-acclaimed b-boy movie Beat Street (1984).

But out of all notable Hispanic hip hoppers, one stands out from the rest. Tony Touch, born Joseph Anthony Hernandez, is best known for his skills behind the turntables, but is also a respected MC and was once an active b-boy—not to mention one of the most sought-after producers in the industry. His unique style of sampling different kinds of Spanish music, as well as his regular use of popular Puerto Rican phrases, speaks directly to an entire generation of American-born Hispanics who grew up to Spanish music in the house, but were surrounded by hip hop when out in the world. With Hispanics slowly becoming one of the largest minorities groups in America, it is of no surprise that they’ve been able to influence American popular culture in many different ways. Nevertheless, it is important for us to recognize those contributions and remember to give props.


Phatfffat BY RANDY C. BONDS Sophomore, Columbia College Chicago


ondria Nicole, better known by her YouTube name, Phatfffat, is someone you should know. She’s a hot and talented young female singer with much creativity in her melodic renditions of the hottest songs of the time. Not only does she do a great job covering songs of other hot singers, but she’s also known for her incredible freestyles, and for her original songs, including her fresh hit single, “Can’t Stop,” produced by Jermaine Dupri. Dondria was born and raised in Sachse, Texas. Like most teens, Dondria watched lots of YouTube videos, particularly those of others singing, such as one of her personal favorites and inspirations, Deanna. “The way people on YouTube watch my videos and admire me is the way that I admire Deanna.” She grew up singing in the church, and had always been told by her friends and family that she could sing, but “I wanted to know what people who didn’t know me would say. I knew they would give their honest opinions.” Out of the curiosity of how many people would like her reportedly amazing voice, she began to post YouTube videos herself. 30 TRUESTAR MAGAZINE

With her huge success on YouTube, she began to be looked at by record labels. It was then that Jermaine Dupri found her. Dondria exclaimed, “When Dupri first contacted me, I didn’t believe it was him, but when I found out it was really him, I was so excited!” The thing that’s so amazing about Dondria is that she didn’t go on YouTube looking for fame. Fame came to her, because not only did she have a great voice, but she had a wonderful, fun, sparkly, bubbly personality to go along with it, and that’s what captured the hearts of so many viewers, both young and old. She’s even known internationally, and has received much recognition back in her hometown. Now she goes back and forth between Texas and Atlanta, where she is working on her upcoming debut album. Her first single, “Can’t Stop,” has been a huge success on ITunes, and has gotten play on satellite radio and even in stores such as Bally’s, WingStop, Sonic and Old Navy. “It is definitely a blessing, and I have to thank God for this. My best advice to others who aspire to be like me is to just be yourself, and remain humble, because you never know who’s watching.”

USHER USHER BY RANDY C. BONDS Sophomore, Columbia College Chicago




ot only was “Caught Up” one of Usher’s hot singles, but it’s also the phrase that best describes his life right now. He has found himself caught up in so many things, from a new album to involvement in the presidential election. Despite being a father and head of a household, he still manages to balance his career and family, while also finding time to get people to exercise their right to vote. Usher has been one of the hottest male vocalists of our time since he debuted in his teenage years. “When I was 18, my audience was 18, but now that I am 30, people who listen to my music are 30,” says Usher. He also has a new maturity that has come with age, as well as his new job as a father. In the cover to his CD, “Here I Stand,” he quoted the Scripture, I Corinthians 13:14, which states, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I thought as a child, and I understood as a child, but when I became a man, I put away all childish things.” Not only can that Bible verse be seen in his lifestyle, but it is also very evident in his music. A big part of Usher’s growth is seen in his involvement in the presidential election. “Obama’s win far exceeds any expectations,” he said. Usher really wanted to get youth involved, to show them that they had a vote and that it counted. In an effort to get them involved he started a voter registration campaign titled “I Can’t But You Can” where youth aged 17 and under took a four-hour training session educating them on voter registration. After that, they got to go out and register others to vote. This was done in cities across the country, and it was a huge success—youth got involved in the voting process, registering others while also learning the process themselves. With everything that he has going on, Usher still manages to do what he does best: entertain. He’s touching a wide audience from teens to adults, making music that’s classic and soulful, inspired by artists like Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, and Stevie Wonder. He continues to prove why he has received the title “King of R&B,” and is making a difference with his influence over youth. TRUESTAR MAGAZINE 31

Under The





musical style “Progressive Hip Hop”. The term takes

elements from traditional Hip Hop (lyrics, pattern flows, topics, etc.) and matches it with non-traditional (electro, rock, pop, etc.) Hip Hop music.


uniqueness The fact that our style is forever changing keeps

us different from other artists. A lot people get comfortable in a certain music type and never move on. Honestly that’s ok, but that’s how many

people get caught in a corner. Our musical style touches base with styles

musical style Our musical style is molded from jazz,

traditional hip-hop, and rock. The end result is what you hear when

that everyone can enjoy, it’s a little bit of everything.

goal Well, we’re still in our starting phase so at the moment we are

you listen to Ben Sity music. Its not old school, southern, hipster, it is a

trying to build a strong buzz and following, we’re promoting ourselves

combination of our favorite styles of music integrated with our unique and

and the music heavily everywhere we go, even on the net. Our ultimate

individual personalities, skills and talents.

uniqueness Not too many artists can “keep it real,” and

true to themselves while creating and distributing somewhat commercial music at the same time. Our music is for everyone that not only enjoys

goal is like any other artist, to be immortalized through our music. It’s safe to say that both would love Grammy’s and other major music accolades in the future.

influence Nick Jr.’s: Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z, Nas,

music but fully understands its history, impact and direction.

Foo Fighters, The Smashing Pumpkins, Stanley Abernathy, Michael “Mike

goal Our ultimate goal is to put out wonderfully crafted music;

Jones. J Dilla, A Tribe Called Quest, The Neptunes, Andy Warhol’s art

aspiring to make music for the Universe.

influence Slick Rick, Nas, Jay-Z, The Nerds, Heavy D,

100’s” Randolph.Q Beans’: Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, Quincy movement in the 1980’s, Anthony Nicholson.

up next We are always trying to get music out, we’re constantly

Mobb Deep, Spare Parts, Billy Holiday, The Killers, Aero Smith, ELO,

working on new songs and sounds, look out for the” School’s In Session”

Jimmy Hendrix, Kanye and Lupe.

EP out now, and the “Sneaker Fiend Mixtape” out in February.



Facebook: Ben Sity

Facebook : Nick N Beans

For more info and booking contact: 312.842.1042,


5 Chicago’s Global Mixx Retreat L BY JAMELIAH SALTER - Sophomore, Brooks College Prep



ach year the wonderful city of Chicago is honored with the Global Mixx retreat. The retreat is a conference in which DJs, producers, songwriters, and artists come together and market themselves. TrueStar was thrilled with the opportunity to attend the paneling portion of the conference during its


three days of events. The young eyes of this reporter were opened wide as I discovered the magnificence of the world within the music industry. There were many hard working artists and well-known music legends that any fresh mind would’ve been astonished to even hear speak, but the greatest honor was speaking with founder Mary Datcher. When speaking on her childhood, Mary mentioned that many of the kids in her West side Austin neighborhood

never even ventured downtown. Mary had to get out of her neighborhood and explore the country through the music business. Datcher’s international connections have helped the retreat grow and transform each year, and this year, attendees of the conference were able to meet people like Bryan Michael Cox, TJ Chapman, and No I.D.

Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer Cox has worked with many artists, including Mariah Carey, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Faith Evans, Neyo, and Chris Brown. “If it’s something you truly believe that is in your heart and something you believe you were born to do,” he told aspiring songwriters, “just be persistent and keep going.” Chapman is founder of TJ’s DJs. He has worked in the industry for over 20 years, and believes aspiring DJ’s have to go out and attend the conferences to network with the people that make it happen. Mary Datcher has created a platform to inform and education aspiring artists, not to mention giving them an opportunity to network with industry heavyweights.

Meet some of the panelists who graced the Global Mixx Conference

NO I.D. Known as “The Godfather of Chicago hip hop” hip hop and R&B record producer NO I.D. has shown his musical colors. Being a man that’s about work and no play he’s known for introducing Kanye West to hip hop production and also for producing hit singles like “My Boo” by Alicia Keys and Usher. For NO I.D. the hardest part of his career is staying relevant over long periods of time but that doesn’t stop him fro producing great music and enjoying his well earned free time.

Bryan Michael Cox Bryan Michael Cox is a man that has always written songs and been musically inclined. He may seem to have a lot on his plate as a multi-instrumentalist, producer, and songwriter but he’s shown his efforts while working with Usher on his album Confessions. When speaking on people aspiring to be a songwriter Cox said, “In life just pray over every decision that you’re making.” From 5th grade and straight through high school Cox knew that songwriting was his calling. “If you asked me back in my fifth grade class what I wanted to do when I grew up I’d always say that I wanted to be a songwriter/producer,” he stated” At times the toughest part of his job is “inspiration” however he always manages to maintain his creative psyche and excite our hearts with great music.

TJ Chapman The eminent man known as TJ Chapman has invested over two decades of his life and talent into the music industry. Coming from a studiously educated background TJ says, “School was real important, because it gave me my foundation and it helped me learn the things I needed to know to be able to pursue my career.” Acknowledged for working with artists like Pretty Ricky and David Banner, TJ Chapman has expanded his work in the business. His company TJ’s DJs is DJ focused but it also breaks and markets new artists.

Mary Datcher Mary Datcher has revealed her aspect of being a phenomenal woman as she has constantly grown to be successful in the male dominated music business. Q: Can being such a powerful and professional woman be overwhelming at times?

A: I don’t know if so much as being a woman that’s overwhelming as much as being in a male dominated business. That probably is the stress right there; it’s really making sure that you’re always on the top of your game, on top of what’s presently going on in the marketplace as well as making sure that your voice is heard.

Q: How would you describe the music business? A: The music business as it stands right now is constantly evolving.


tech in a lot of ways but still has the old school value of relationship building. Building relationships is so important for a lot of young readers that are trying to break into the business; who are currently in the business at one early stage or another.

For more information on the Global Mixx Conference visit Cox




e h T POETRY FINALISTS Tatiana Blair, Senior Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep MY MESSAGE “Nobody is invincible, you think that nothing can happen to you.. you think, I’m safe even though I’m not protected. You think that HIV and AIDS happens to other people. Realize that you can be a statistic, no one is invincible and you should protect yourself.” Brittany Hicks, Senior Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep MY MESSAGE “Because you think someone loves you is not a reason to have sex with them. A relationship is not based on sex but communication and trust. Practice abstinence and if you feel you have to have sex then get tested and protect yourself.” Britney Brunson, Sophomore Simeon Career Academy MY MESSAGE “Wait to have sex, sex can be a beautiful thing, but it can also ruin your life. If you don’t decide to wait, then use protection.” Tanette Barns, Senior South Shore School of the Arts MY MESSAGE “I want everyone to not just think about only themselves, when you get infected with HIV/AIDS you don’t just affect yourself, you affect other people too. Its not just a “me” thing it’s a community thing, because us as AfricanAmericans are strongly affected.” 34 TRUESTAR MAGAZINE

s r e n n i W e l c r Ci

ESSAY FINALISTS Steven Hall, Senior King College Prep MY MESSAGE “Protect yourself and think about preserving yourself, you want longevity in life to reach your goals.”

Benita Brown, Junior Lindblom Math & Science Academy MY MESSAGE “HIV/ AIDS affects everyone in some way or another, so never let your guard down because there’s no discrimination.” Nakeya Skinner, Junior Corliss High School MY MESSAGE “Don’t try to live for the moment, think about tomorrow. We should all make more careful decisions.”

Tierra McMillan, Junior South Shore School of the Arts MY MESSAGE “The best way is to abstain to prevent all sexually transmitted diseases, if you choose to have sex, strap up!”

ART FINALISTS Tremayne Dumas, Senior Corliss High School MY MESSAGE “If you are going to have sex make sure you trust that person and always protect yourself because you only have one life to live.” Christopher Williams, Senior Uplift Community High School MY MESSAGE “Be safe, strap up if you are going to have sex. Don’t have unprotected sex and don’t do drugs.” Nona Jenkins, Senior Gwendolyn Brooks College Pep MY MESSAGE “If you don’t choose abstinence, choose safe sex. Thing about what you are doing before you do it.” Bernell Campbell. Senior Corliss High School MY MESSAGE “Everyone can make a choice to protect themselves, it’s in our hands to fight AIDS, and it’s our choice.”


True Story: Pregna� Senior Mom-to-Be BY JUMILAH JACKSON Junior, Manley Career Academy


eyonica Shelby, a student at Manley Career Academy, is an 18-year-old senior and a mom-to-be. Despite her age, she is extremely wise and has one goal in mind: continuing high school and attending college. However, everyone knows just how demanding senior year can get (college prep, graduation practice, prom). These demands and being pregnant have several effects on Shelby’s physical, mental and emotional health. A determined, young black woman, she speaks out on her health issues as being a pregnant senior in high school.

Being a teen mother I have faced difficult problems that affect me in different ways. I often feel sharp pains and I just sit alone and cry. Mentally being a teen parent in my senior year really bothers me. I’m gaining weight and sometimes I think I will look ugly at school and my peers will criticize me. Growing into parenthood as a teen I really stay motivated and don’t allow negative comments to hurt my future and bring me down. Thinking like this keeps me emotionally stable, and this is good for my baby. As a senior I really have a future ahead of me, so being pregnant physically does not affect my career. I maintain an acceptable GPA and good grades. [But] it bothers me because I can’t help but wonder if I’m going to be able to get accepted to any college being pregnant. Thinking like this only makes me more motivated to not allow my child to interfere with my goals. My relationship with my “baby daddy” is fine. We are at the same school so it is kind of a mental burden to know people are probably criticizing us both. I always am around him and I don’t really have problems with him. I am sometimes stressed out about the busy schedule I have to deal with and not being physically capable to do certain things. However, I always smile to dry out my tears, because I realize that my happiness is also my baby’s happiness. Being in high school around other teens I really felt different. However, I always keep my head up and they look at me as a leader. I never felt bad about being pregnant. It is life and I’m glad for my blessings. My peers, friends and counselors keep me happy and always encourage me to take care of myself and my baby.


TEEN BIZ True Star Magazine, the Economic Awareness Council, Teens Mean Business and the City Treasurer of Chicago have joined forces for Teen Biz.

Iphone School, Work & Play BY KYLE BAILEY & EDGAR MOLINA Junior, Kenwood Academy

College Counts …. Individuals with a college degree earn over $1,000,000 more than those without a degree over their lifetime (US Census Bureau, 2002). Seniors: Don’t forget … now is the time to complete your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)! Learn more at the College Zone!


ost people think the Iphone is only for older, important people who own businesses, buy stock on the regular, and need to stay in touch with other important people on a daily basis. Fortunately for us teens, that’s just not the case.

Take me, for instance: With school, work, and all the other extracurricular activities I have on my plate, I have almost no free time for homework. Needless to say, my life was a mess— until I got my Iphone!

Office of the City Treasurer, City of Chicago Stephanie D. Neely, Treasurer


Just the other day, I had a paper to write for school and research to do for the magazine, all while trying to catch my brother’s football game three hours away with

a friend. Thanks to the Iphone’s 3G network, I was able to do the research for the magazine easily by simply tapping on the Safari icon and surfing away. As for the paper, I opened up a text app and got to work while still on the road. By the time we arrived, I had finished all my work and was ready to enjoy the game, worry-free, thanks to my trusty Iphone! But it doesn’t end there. You got Myspace? The Iphone has a handy Myspace app. You got Facebook? The Iphone has a Facebook app. You need a voice recorder? The Iphone has a voice recording app. Watch YouTube? The Iphone has YouTube only one click away. Truthfully, next to running water and advancements in sanitation, there is no better invention than the Iphone. Even for us teens!


BY MANOUCHEKA AIREY - Senior, Hyde Park Career Academy


icture having a conversation with the epitome of your aspirations and yet they are just your age. That was the gist of the True Star Careers on Deck event: to motivate the youth into getting an early start by showing them that anything is possible. The event, sponsored by Harris Bank and East West University and planned by teens from Harlan High School created an opportunity for youth to interact with those currently thriving in their future careers and featured the likes of Dr. Farrah Gray and Jasmine Lawrence. Jasmine Lawrence, the President & CEO of Eden Bodyworks, and Dr. Farrah Gray, entrepreneur, are both young moguls and role models of success. The opening speaker for the event was Dr. Gray, who began his ventures when he was just six years old. As soon as Gray approached the stage, he had the crowd engaged with his charisma and stories. It was apparent that Gray’s story left a lasting impression by the change in the crowd’s demeanor once he was finished. Gray and Lawrence were not the only role models present. The event featured many other influential professionals. These professionals held panel sessions divided into their industries varying from Entrepreneurship, New Media/ Technology, Entertainment, Law Enforcement, as well as Marketing and Advertising. During registration, students choose which fields suited them best and branched off to their assigned panel to receive expert advice for their

future. After the panels were over, Lawrence gave the ending speech, and it was now time for the best part—the performances featuring Chicago’s own Gemstones and a step routine. Everyone had his or her different views about the overall event. Melody Howard, a True Star employee, stated, “It was a lot of valuable information…. Overall it was good, True Star’s event planning team did exactly what they were supposed to do. They went through hardships and still got everything done.” Before heading out the door, Lawrence expressed her excitement about Careers on Deck, stating, “The event today was amazing. I’m happy that I was able to encourage and inspire so many kids that were my age and even older to find their passion and live their dreams...I know that their lives will be changed by what happened today.” A lot of powerful things occurred within those four hours, but one thing was for certain—at least one teen was touched by the event.

QJobless in Chicago: QTeens and the Economy E Q Q Q Q Q Q Q

BY STEPHANIE STEPHANIE MOORE MOORE BY Junior, Lindblom Math & Science Academy

veryday is the same. I sneak on to during class to apply for jobs, but every single time I jump on my email the next day, all I get is SPAM. On my way home from school, I make a habit of stopping by spots around my crib to apply for jobs, thinking that someone, somewhere in our great city of Chicago has to need my help. But nobody ever hits me back. NOT EVEN MCDONALDS!

After months of the same, my hope for someone to call has just about disappeared. It’s gotten so bad, I don’t even bother trying anymore.

This same story can be heard almost anywhere in Chicago. Despite all that has been said about the horrible state of our economy, most Americans have yet to realize how much harder it is for the average teenager to make a living. We—the teens of America—are expected to attend school, work and help our parents out, all while staying out of trouble. Unreasonably high expectations for a society that doesn’t keep up with their end of the bargain, wouldn’t you agree? What makes the situation much worse is the continuing decline of our economy. Every single day, more and more people are losing their jobs. What this means is that those people, in their desperation, are going to be

snatching up the jobs that would traditionally go to teens, essentially making

an already horrible situation that much worse! According to Washingtonpost. com, Chicago has the second highest rate of unemployed youth in the country, with an astonishing 85% of teens out of work. Some businesses argue that teens are generally too immature and irresponsible to hold on to a job. But to simply disregard a whole segment of our society because of this notion is not only unfair, it is destructive. You’re probably thinking, “What can I possibly do considering all the odds against me,” right? Well, lucky for us, a glimmer of hope has surfaced and his name is Barack Obama. Our president-elect hopes to create 2.5 million jobs within the next two years. Hopefully some of those jobs will be for us. Until then, a good way to both gain experience and occupy your time is to apply for unpaid internship opportunities. It might not get you the money you need, but it will definitely keep you moving forward while our new leaders rebuild our economy. Godspeed!



Up Against the F

or two brothers, 18-year-old Darius Smith and 19-year-old Frankie J. Smith Jr. from the Southside of Chicago, hard work is an understatement. Unlike most young black men in Chicago, these two brothers fight for a living, literally. Both were influenced by their father, Frankie Smith Sr., who made history by being the first boxer to ever win Golden Glove titles in three different weight classes. But regardless of the huge shoes they had to fill following in their father’s footsteps, eventually the guys set themselves apart from the pack by stomping their way up to the top of their weight classes. FRANKIE J. SMITH (105-4 record), the older of the two brothers, has been boxing since he was seven and is currently months away from going pro. He plans on ending his amateur career after he wins the next Golden Glove Nationals. The four-time national champ says his strengths are his hooks, combinations, body shots, jabs, and he’s even quick on his feet. So if you plan on stepping in the ring with Frankie, you better be prepared for any and everything offensive in the game of boxing. His only loss came to a fighter named Ricky Alvaraz. “I fought him in the last Golden Glove and lost. I really want to fight him again.” 40 TRUESTAR MAGAZINE

Ropes BY ELICIA BIBBS - Senior De La Salle High School

DARIUS SMITH (102-5), though younger than Frankie by a year, is no scrub to the game. He currently holds three title belts: one Junior Golden Glove, one Silver Glove and one Golden Glove, which is the one he is most proud of. In no way does he plan to stop there. With a mean counter punch, this orthodox boxer has been compared to the great Sugar Ray Leonard. “People say I fight like him, and I always looked up to him when I was younger, but I want to be better.” Ultimately, both of the brothers would like to go down in boxing history. But at the tender ages of 18 and 19, they have much more fight ahead of them, and many more competitors ready to challenge them in the ring. Until then, they will continue to fight for their places on the top. They each compete in the upcoming Ringside Silver Glove Nationals in February of 2009 and the Golden Glove the following month.

THE H O O P S H I G H HYPE BY PARIS BROWN - Senior, North Lawndale College Prep


wo of my fellow seniors at North Lawndale College Prep—Cassandra “Twinkie” Baker and Jonathan Mills—have taken their game to an extreme level this year. They are both incredibly hard working and lovely people, and both are absolute beasts on the court. Jonathan’s prowess as one of the top power forwards in the state on the defending IHSA Class 2A State Champion Phoenix is well documented; he is the real deal. However, I have recently come to see Cassandra, who I have known well in school and consider one of my very good friends, as a superstar player in her own right. Her focus and intensity are mind-blowing. Here are some stats for you True Star readers to get to know them better.

Paris Brown is a senior at North Lawndale College Prep and a producer on HoopsHIGH’s advanced sports production crew You can catch HoopsHIGH the Show every Saturday at 8 p.m. on CAN TV - Channel 19 on Cable in Chicago. Check us out on the web,

All-Time Top 5 IHSA Basketball Players BY KYLE BAILEY AND XAVIER O’NEAL - Juniors, Kenwood Academy

Chicago is a city that produces great people: Kanye West, Jennifer


Hudson, Bernie Mac and others. While Chicago is home to these great artists and actors, we are also home to some of the world’s top basketball players. NBA superstars Derrick Rose, Kevin Garnett, Michael Finley, Quentin Richardson, and Dwyane Wade all are from the Windy City.


Now, after seeing those names most people would automatically assume those would have to be the top 5 high school basketball players Chicago has ever seen. Wrong! After collaborating with many basketball followers and looking up many records I have come up with “The True List” of Chicago’s top high school basketball players.


cored 41 in final high school game recorded 375 career dunks in four years SF/PF ------ CAZZIE RUSSEL, CARVER 1st overall pick in 1966 NBA Draft 11th overall pick in 1989 NBA Draft SF ---------- BEN WILSON, SIMEON ranked number one in the nation in 1984 TRUESTAR MAGAZINE 41


H PE BY BENITA BROWN - Junior, Lindblom Math & Science Academy


rom the ashes of an economic recession, a corrupt government, and a war few support, raises the hope of America. This past election has not only made history, but has given the people of America a renewed sense of hope that things can get better. A small town in Mississippi, Mound Bayou, has been revived with optimism since the nomination of Barack Obama. Once thriving and full of businesses, Mound Bayou had shriveled into a measly community of just 2,000 people after the economy fell to pieces. Mayor Benjamin A. Green explained: “We have suffered tremendously from being an all-black town. It makes it hard to survive.”

Photos Courtesy of Obama for America, Worsom Robinson, Deshaun “Trig” Adams

But despite the years of hardship, a sense of hope now permeates throughout Mound Bayou after Obama’s election. Obama has not only raised the hope of older Americans, but also of the youth as well. Stephen Gordon of Mikva Challenge, a Chicago program that teaches high school students to be active participants in the political process, was given the opportunity to experience Obama’s election front and center. He, along with other CPS students, was able to work for the election polls, and was even featured as a guest speaker on the Tyra Banks Show. “It was a one in a life-time experience,” Stephen explained. “Most kids my age are lucky to travel, but being on the Tyra show was great. It’s the beginning of my future of success.” Taking an active role in the community allowed him and other students to gain inspiration for their own future. The night of the election, excitement consumed the city when the announcement of Obama’s victory aired on the news. For Stephen, it was a feeling of disbelief! “Words can’t describe it. It was amazing and unbelievable. I called my friends immediately and said ‘turn on the TV look at it ...tell me this is true.... tell me I’m not dreaming.” It is not a dream. America has elected the first black President, and the spark of hope has grown into a belief that everything will be okay come January. The road ahead will be difficult and riddled with one sacrifice after the other, as Obama has emphasized, but just knowing that we are working towards a better future comforts me and fills my heart with hope. God bless America! 42 TRUESTAR MAGAZINE

Thank You


s contributors to TrueStar Magazine, we are proud of all we’ve accomplished during these first five years. We also feel privileged to represent the voice of Chicago teens, and as we take our first steps into the Obama Era, we look upon both this issue and Obama’s Presidency as culminations of work ethic and dedication as well as launch pads into an even bolder future. As our cover suggests, Barack Obama is indeed our President in so many ways; here, too, is an issue that we see as a true representation of what we at TrueStar are striving for. So thank you to everyone involved, from the parents and teachers in the community to the adult instructors who have given their time and know-how to this magazine. Mostly, though, thank you to the teenagers themselves, the ones who have worked so tirelessly to produce something of value, and the ones who have made contributions simply by supporting their friends and enjoying their work. We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we have enjoyed creating it. PEACE Sincerely, TrueStar Magazine

TRUESTAR Winter 09  

Urban teens Magazine, Obama Issue, Fashion, Music, Teen Biz, Health and more!

TRUESTAR Winter 09  

Urban teens Magazine, Obama Issue, Fashion, Music, Teen Biz, Health and more!