CLASS OF 2004
CLASS OF 2007
THE NEXT ERA OF BASKETBALL GREATNESS RETURNS TO CHICAGO FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 29 YEARS This is where legends begin. Be there as the nation’s best high school basketball players take the court in Chicago, for the McDonald’s All American® Games and 2011 Powerade® Jam Fest. March 28, 2011 | Powerade Jam Fest | Jones Convocation Center (Chicago State University) March 30, 2011 | McDonald’s All American Games | United Center Tickets starting at just $10. Free parking included.
For more details and to buy tickets visit www.mcdonaldsallamerican.com Proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities® © 2011 McDonald’s
TABLE OF CONTENTS REAL TALK
17 METROPOLITAN FAMILY SERVICES
WANT TO MAKE SOME MONEY
By Kyla Sylvers
By Cedric Hakeem
YCA: POETRY AS A MOVEMENT
36 LINCOLN PARK ZOO—CAREER PROFILES
By Subria Whitaker
8 TEEN POLITICIANS: POLITICS IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT
By Lynda Lopez
18 KAI MONAE:
37 THE ENVIROMENT MEANS BUSINESS By Sophia Vela
FULL FIGURED MODEL
38 WALGREENS WINNERS CIRCLE
INSIDE AND OUT
By Jameliah Salter
26 KERI HILSON: BACK TO PLAN A
40 DEATH AT A FUNERAL
By Subria Whitaker
By Shaquille Roberts
THRU DA WIRE
41 CAUSE & EFFECT: HOW SEX CHANGED
28 OBEE: NOT JUST ANOTHER DANCER
11 GENERATIONS OF MUSIC
By Johari Dodd
By Shaquille Roberts
By Deja Harrell
HOW TO DO IT ALL BY KANDI BURRUSS
BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE, GO TO THE DOCTOR!
By Maya Bryant
By Kia Smith
A NEED TO SUCCEED
29 POWER 92’s TEEFA
By Shaquille Roberts
By Dion Spencer
42 OVERLY-EMOTIONAL GUYS:
9 INNER-RACISM: LIGHT-SKINNED
10 WHERE DOES MOTIVATION COME FROM By Yerika Reyes
12 TEEN SUPPORT SYSTEMS:
THE DREAM ACT
MEN ARE THE NEW WOMEN
By Lynda Lopez
30 ERIKA HUBBARD: MORE THAN
By Kyla Sylvers
JUST AN ACTRESS 13 WHAT ARE TEENS DOING TO
By Deja Harrell
44 CLEVER WAYS TO MEET A GIRL
STOP THE VIOLENCE
By Bryan Williams
By Lauren Wright
31 MEET OUR NEW ILLUSTRATOR:
TECH 14 HOTTEST GAMES OF THE SEASON
45 NEED A NEW TYPE: TRY SOMETHING NEW
By Kia Smith
By Shaquille Roberts
By Karl Thomas
UNDER THE RADAR
ANDROID MARKET VS. APPLE APPS
32 CHICAGO’S RISING STARS
By Achaia Moore and Maya Bryant
ON THE COURT
34 MAKING COLLEGE
48 NIKE 120 DAYS: CREATING
16 YOUMEDIA: THE FUTURE
VISITS MORE AFFORDABLE
FUTURES THROUGH BASKETBALL
OF YOUTH MEDIA
By Janet Garcia
By Jasmine Morales
By Fernando Garcia
47 STAR MOGUL: TEEN ENTREPRENUERS
By Maricela Ramirez LEARNING ABOUT FINANCIAL LITERACY
49 THE PERSEVERANCE OF SHANNON BROWN
KLEO CENTER COMMUNITY
OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL
By Jasmine Morales
AND FAMILY LIFE CENTER
By Kamal Bilal
By Jameliah Salter
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
35 HEALTHY EATING ON A BUDGET
50 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
By Mariah Wachtman
By Sutcha Wallace
1130 SOUTH WABASH SUITE 302
CHICAGO, IL 60605
ith the summer completely cooled off, sitting back and warming yourself up with the new winter issue of True Star Magazine will do you just right.
Through Real Talk, you will learn about teens working to stop violence, differences in generations of music, racism within the black community, and environmental influences on motivation. In Giving Back you can find a recreational place to collaborate and express yourself creatively, get a true sense of community, and learn how writing has and can transform the lives of young people. Young Love covers the distress women are forced to deal with when dating an overly-emotional man and some concrete advice for guys on how to meet and attract a girl. Inside and Out speaks the truth about the consequences of not making that doctor’s visit and an essay on the HIV epidemic. On the Court profiles basketball player Shannon Brown and highlights his charitable efforts and spotlights the NIKE 120 Days jump-off to the new school basketball season. Thru Da Wire profiles actress and model Erika Hubbard, the talented R&B songstress Kandi, and hip-hop singer and dancer Obee. Our cover story features the struggles of Keri Hilson as she transitioned from a member in girl groups to a long process of releasing her solo album “In a Perfect World.” Needless to say, there is something for most every teen in True Star Magazine. Hope you enjoy our newest installment, Winter Issue 2011. Sincerely,
SENIOR, GWENDOLYN BROOKS COLLEGE PREP
HIT UP TRUE STAR ONLINE
PLEASE LET US KNOW YOUR THOUGHTS ON TRUE STAR MAGAZINE Letters to True Star • 1130 South Wabash • Suite 302 • Chicago, Il 60605-2717 Letters become the property of True Star and may be edited for publication. EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial Staff King College Prep High School Instructor Marti Parham Aaron Shannon Amrianna Berry Christopher Criddell Ciana Porter Courtney Williams Darien Boyd Deann Montgomery Deja Harrell Jade Heard Jazmine Saunders Jazmyne Carr Malikah Thompson Maya Wade Mildred Okwuedei Morgan Selvage Rachel Hudson Shaquille Roberts Sutcha Wallace Taylor Price Tierra Munson Editorial Staff North Lawndale College Prep Instructor Veronica Harrison Camisha Williams Christian Jefferson
Crystal Floyd Dumanisha Ward Jasmine Spivery Jerad Strong Kailynn Wooford Michale Blair Pullen, Khadijah Quartell West-Crenshaw Rogherick Butler Shanobia Davis Tiarra Webb Tierra Howard
Editorial Staff Freelance Instructor Edgar Molina
Achaia Moore Asia Moore Chardonae Bostic Jameliah Salter Jasmine Morales Johari Dodd Kia Smith Kyla Sylvers Maya Bryant Editorial Staff Foreman High School Subria Whitaker Instructor Editorial Staff Edgar Molina Boys & Girls Club Clemente High Amanda Nazario School Bryan Williams Instructor Diana Gonzalez Rozanna Rivera Elvis Benitez Fernando Garcia Anibal Scharon Jayme Robinson Daniel Rivera Juan Martinez Ericson Vega Julian Torres Rafael Leon Karl Thomas Stephanie Velez Leroy Thomas Steven Glokowsky Maricela Ramirez Marilyn Sanchez Event Planning Martin Espino Harlan High School Selyna Kaelher Instructor ShaVaughnt’e Hines Joi Mitchell Tanner Davis Kikanza Harris Tyshaun Harris
Akilah Davis Akysha White Alexis Webster Alextia Armstrong Alisha Perkins Ann Armstrong Chenay Thomas Christopher Browner Daniel Merrick Dashawn Harris Demerest Davis Derrick Goodloe Diancio Parker Ishmael Taylor Jachristen Hawkins Jackson Stone Janel Johnson Javon Johnson Jemel Jennings Keesha Mintz Kelly Phillips Kierria Glispie Larsie Southern Lawrence Jones Markia Wilkerson Raekwon Bolling Richard Harris Sherrell Jones Teonca Merchant Yosef Maynie Photography Staff Julian High School Instructor Deshaun Adams
FACEBOOK: TRUESTAR MAG MYSPACE.COM/MYTRUESTAR TWITTER.COM: @TRUESTARMAG Bria Wells Bruce Hardaway Chanel Pilate Corrine Reed Diamond Dickerson Diarra Counts Emmanuel Steadman Janell Pender-Bey Kiara Burns Montinque Eddings Shainyce Dillon Tauron Falls Tyler Outlaw Leeza Earl Vashaun Hayes Radio Staff Chicago State University Instructor Bionce Foxx Antonio Scales Ashanti Soldier Arthur Jones Ashley Land Brandi Alexander De’Angelo Hale Ermina Veljacic Jemiyia Johnson Magda Chimel Markita Watts Marvin Thomas Princess Davis Subria Whitaker Tayler Ulmer Trevor Hill
Graphics Staff Simeon High School Instructor Polina Zionts Anshaunti Hillery Cara Crowder Eric Jones Fredrick Jones Garland Hennings Herbert Carter James Hudson Jesse Williams Makayla Jackson Moneeka Jamerson Monique Archer Prince Rule Rechanel Belanger Shanae Haralson Shanni Newell-Brown TiAnna Coats
Managing Editor Edgar Molina Web Content Manager Rashaan Meador Art Direction Design and Illustration Angel D’Amico-Bauer Celebrity Booker Randy C. Bonds Photo Coordinator Mireya Acierto Special Projects Managers Deshaun Adams Philistine Thompson Public Relation & Marketing Outreach Specialist Kikanza Harris National Sales Director Robin Boyd Sales Assistant Tashay Dennie Promotions Manager Mary Rufus Marketing Coordinator Safiya Edwards
DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY & SUPPORT SERVICES YOUTH DIVISION
6 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
Executive Directors J. Na-Tae’ Thompson DeAnna McLeary
Integrated Marketing Consultant Floyd Glinsey
CONTRIBUTORS CONTRIBUTOR’S QUESTIONS WINTER 2011 1. IF YOU COULD LIVE ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD BESIDES CHICAGO, WHERE WOULD IT BE AND WHY? 2. IF YOU WERE ELECTED THE NEXT MAYOR OF CHICAGO, WHAT WOULD BE THE FIRST POLICY YOU WOULD ENACT AND WHY? 3. WHAT PROJECT DID YOU WORK ON FOR TRUE STAR THIS SCHOOL YEAR? 4. OUT OF ALL THE TEACHERS YOU’VE HAD SINCE GRADE SCHOOL, WHICH HAD THE MOST AFFECT ON YOU AND WHY? HERBERT CARTER SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGN PROGRAM SIMEON CAREER ACADEMY 1. I would like to live in Atlanta because Chicago weather is always unpredictable. 2. The first policy I would enact would be some kind of non-violence policy, because there is too much killing in our city. 3. I worked on an HIV Awareness project that basically showed designs about people being aware of what they have and how to stay protected from HIV.
DIAMOND DICKERSON JUNIOR PHOTOGRAPHY TEAM JULIAN HIGH SCHOOL 1. If I could live anywhere else it would be Africa. I would live in Africa because in actuality it is the richest continent in the world, and because I could learn a lot from the people in the different countries. 2. Better schools that students will want to attend. I feel that if you refuse to go to school because you don’t like it, you won’t learn anything. 3. I worked on the Photography Team at Julian. 4. All my teachers, because they all had a great influence on the person I have become today.
KARL THOMAS SOPHOMORE FOREMAN EDITORIAL FOREMAN HIGH SCHOOL 1. Japan. I want to study their culture, their traditions and learn their language. 2. The first policy I would enact is the Get Involved policy. Get more kids involved in after-school activities and not being out on the street where there is lots of trouble.
4. The teacher I had that had the most affect on me was my 7th grade teacher, Ms. Hardy. She was very open-minded with students and we got along very well. She taught me that nothing could be accomplished without some kind of education.
3. I wrote a blog and an article for the magazine and their website. With help from my instructor, I learned how to write articles in a higher level than what I learned in school. It was a great experience for me and I will remember this skill for the rest of my life.
SHAQUILLE ROBERTS JUNIOR KING COLLEGE PREP EDITORIAL HYDE PARK ACADEMY
4. My favorite teacher was my 7th and 8th grade math teacher named Ms. Libby. She helped me learn how to deal with some of my behavioral issues, which changed my life in many positive ways.
1. New York! I would love to live in that busy city. New York seems to have more creative opportunities than Chicago. Also, New York seems more exciting to live. I want to be so successful that I never have time to sleep in the city that never sleeps. 2. I would create more jobs. I’ve watched people in and out of my family struggle because of the lack of jobs in the community. Plus, the economy is down because people are spending less money. If there were more jobs, money would be made and then spent. 3. I worked with the South Side editorial team on a few articles. One was on teen support systems. I also wrote a short story for the Walgreens Expressions contest. I was one of the grand prize winners. This has been a wonderful experience. True Star helped me to become a more creative writer and helped me to strengthen my writing abilities. Also, I met new people. Plus, I feel this experience has helped me become committed and dedicated to something that I am passionate about. I thank True Star for that. 4. My fourth grade teacher Mrs. Showers. She may not know it but she helped me to discover my writing talent. She always encouraged students to be creative when writing. She always had us writing short stories and she always let me know that mine was the best. That motivated me a lot, and as I got older I continued to write and it has become a huge part of my life and will one day be my career.
KYLA SYLVERS SENIOR FREELANCE EDITORIAL GWENDOLYN BROOKS COLLEGE PREP 1. I would want to live in either Los Angeles, Colorado, or Montana. Colorado and Montana have beautiful views that I could look at forever. Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world and a city of an immense amount of opportunities. Besides, I heard it is beautiful! 2. The first policy that I would enact would be something that would begin the process of reforming Chicago Public Schools. The public school system in Chicago seems to lag behind so many other school systems in the U.S. and that is a huge problem for me. 3. I am currently working on the Walgreen’s Expressions competition that is sponsored by True Star. I will be interviewing the winners this year. 4. My English teacher that I had both my freshmen and junior year of high school had the most affect on me. Not only does she love what she does, but she loves helping those who she teaches. She was always there for me. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 7
Democracy Democracy is is NOT NOT a a Spectator Spectator Sport: Sport:
THREE TEENS AND THEIR
LOVE FOR POLITICS BY LYNDA LOPEZ, FRESHMAN, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
NAME: JAMES ALFORD High School: Kenwood Academy College: Northern Illinois University ‘14 During his sophomore year of high school, James Alford got involved with the Mikva Challenge, a youth organization that involves teens in campaigns and other political work. “Joining Mikva opened my eyes to the political world and I quickly became more involved,” he says. Alford was a part of the Education Council on the Mikva Challenge, which is a group of students pooled together to discuss educational issues and to find solutions for them. “On the education council, I helped write a 40 page report about our educational recommendations for the Board of Education,” Alford says. Last August, Alford was invited to speak about the report on the show “Chicago Tonight.” This fall, Alford is beginning his college journey at Northern Illinois University as a political science major but his ambitions are much bigger than most college freshman. “I hope to run for student council president in the fall,” he says. “Later on, I want to become president of the United States.” Bold words from a young man with big dreams.
NAME: JANELLE PEREZ High School: Jones College Prep College: Beloit College ‘14 While most college students do not have a clear cut path for their futures, Janelle Perez already knows what she wants to become. The Beloit College freshman envisions a future in politics. “I want to become an alderwoman and help out my local community in Chicago,” she says. Her interest in politics dates back to her involvement with the Mikva Challenge in high school. While in high school, Perez served as 1 of 12 students on Mikva’s Education Council, which is a student advisory council that works closely with leaders in CPS. “After being on the council for about 3 years, my passion for educational reform grew,” she says. On the council, she conducted intensive research about reforming schools and spoke to a panel of specialists regarding the same issues. Through Mikva, Perez was also given the privilege of working with Alderman Joe Moore from the 49th Ward this past summer. “This experience was a big eyeopener for me in regards to Chicago politics,” she says. “I would like to serve and help my community the way Alderman Moore does.” Even though her young journey is just beginning, Janelle Perez is sure to make a huge impact in politics one day. 8 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
NAME: DANIELA FERNANDEZ High School: Lincoln Park School A senior at Lincoln Park, Fernandez has a clear vision of what she wants out of the new school year. She is president of the Junior Statesmen of America Chapter (JSA) at her school and she wants to make huge things happen this year. “I want to organize mini conventions where my school can invite students from other schools to talk about issues important to us,” she says. The JSA is an organization for politically active teens across the country. Every year, the organization holds summer camps at colleges across the country for students that wish to invest a summer to learning about politics and activism. Fernandez spent several weeks this summer at Stanford University with the JSA taking international relations, political speech, and congressional workshop classes. “I met students that were inspiring and that helped me become more passionate about the issues in Chicago,” Fernandez says. As she makes big gains this year, the Lincoln Park student has one mantra that leads her through her activism. “Democracy is NOT a spectator sport,” she asserts. “If you want to make things happen, you have to take action!”
Light-skinned vs. Dark-skinned:
The Racism Racism Within Within The BY JAMELIAH SALTER, SENIOR, GWENDOLYN BROOKS COLLEGE PREP
ack in the 1970’s, many working class blacks had to deal with what some called the ‘brown paper bag test.’ Employers used this test to deny anyone of color (darker than a brown paper bag) a job and any means of income. As disturbing as this may sound, nothing can be worse than to know that many black people consciously and unconsciously use this same test on themselves. On one side of the problem you have light-skinned blacks who discriminate against dark-skinned blacks. Every one of us has bore witness to someone complaining or criticizing another black person for being “too black.” While you may think it’s not that big a deal, by not speaking against this attitude you are unwittingly accepting this type of mentality. What is this teaching young black kids about their people? Should they be ashamed of being “too black”? On the other side of the problem you have dark-skinned blacks who discriminate against light-skinned blacks for not being “black enough” to be considered “truly black.” These blacks are of the attitude that if you are not a certain shade of black, you have potentially lost the one thing that made you
black: your color. Is this attitude not equally destructive? Should we sit back and allow a huge segment of our people to be denied acceptance into our culture all due to skin tone? I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have preferences, but I am saying that we shouldn’t deny someone a chance because of their skin tone. Kris Walton, a student at Gwendolyn Brooks High School, claims to have witnessed a black woman say, “Maybe slavery should come back because these n***** are getting out of hand.” Now this is when inner-racism reaches its worst. Stereotypes haunt people of all cultures. But when you compound it with all that black communities already have to contend with, it is utterly destructive. People determine who we are by observing how we treat each other. If people in the black community ignore the ignorance of our own, then how can we justify defending ourselves from the ignorance of others? Change starts with the individual and in doing so we can evolve as a striving culture. It’s not our skin tone or color that needs change, but it is our minds. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 9
MOTIVA ATION TION Come Come From? From? MOTIV BY YERIKA REYES, SOPHOMORE, CARL SCHURZ HIGH SCHOOL
ave you ever wondered why some people are couch potatoes, while others are out and about, searching for every opportunity possible? Motivation is what makes us do what we do, whether it be training for a marathon, or winning the latest video game. But where does motivation come from: our environment or are we born with it? Lynda Lopez is an example of a highly motivated teen. She grew up in the west part of Humboldt Park, and didn’t have a wealthy upbringing. But she took advantage of what she did have: a public library two blocks away from her house. The possibility of being able to see new areas of life motivated Lynda to be who she is today. She had the curiosity to learn, and that influenced her to accomplish more. So despite her environment, she is incredibly motivated. “I do not believe that certain people are more predisposed to succeed. I do believe that some people are born into situations that make it much easier to succeed. However, there is always a way out of adversity. Finding the way out is the hard part but it definitely is not impossible.” The environment you are in is the nurture part of your life. If your friends do nothing all day, you might be inclined to do the same. On the other hand, if you hang out with people who are academically focused, you will probably be influenced to be like them as well. The nurture theory says that every experience you have affects you in either a positive or negative way. For example, if you live 10 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
with corrupt parents you will either be corrupt, or you will strive to be a better person than they are. Although it doesn’t always work out this way, the nurture theory speaks some truth; who you hang out with and where you grow up impacts you in mysterious ways. Where you come from affects where you will go. Though environment has a lot to do with your personality, scientists who agree with the nature theory believe we have no control over who we become because it’s already in our genes. One example of the nurture vs. nature argument is the “gay gene” or the “sexual orientation” gene. This argument disagrees with the theory that one is influenced to become homosexual because of their environment, and instead argues that one is born already gay or straight. These scientists believe the same way green eyes and brown hair are hereditary, so are our behavioral genes. This means that if you are grouchy or bubbly, it’s in your biological makeup. In other words, your actions can be blamed solely on your genes, as if you have no control. In a lifetime, a human is influenced by so many factors that it would be impossible to pinpoint one specific source as the cause for our behavior. We act like our parents, friends or even teachers because we are around them; they are our environment. Though there are things that we cannot control, like mental disorders and where we live, it cannot all be blamed on nature. Each of us possesses the ability to find the motivation within to help persevere in life. It’s ultimately up to us to choose whether we are to be motivated individuals or live the life of a couch potato.
OF MUSIC BY DEJA HARRELL, SOPHOMORE, KING COLLEGE PREP
eople have so many opinions about what music is today, and what it once was. Today’s rap, R&B and pop music are constantly being criticized for not “saying anything” and for not speaking about anything positive. For adults to have an opinion about the music that’s being played is completely justified. But please keep in mind that music changes. It always has. Yes, it’s true that much of our music was not created to influence the minds of the youth, but was made just for partying like Gucci Mane’s “Wasted,” Soulja Boy’s “Pretty Boy Swag” and more. There were artists “back in the day” like Marvin Gaye who spoke openly about sex in songs like “Sexual Healing.” That generation was clever with their use of lyrics, while many of today’s artists are much more blunt in their approach. History has proven that with every generation comes its own style of music and people’s opinions concerning it. Faye Morgan, 52, of Hyde Park, believes that today’s music is demeaning to women and promotes negative conduct. “I just don’t think it’s a positive thing for kids. It’s too much about stealing, killing and drugs. Kids don’t realize that those are subliminal messages. They think they’re tuning it out but it’s still getting in there.” According to King College Prep student Tyler Simmons, 15, some of her generation’s music can be degrading to women, but some of it is for partying and some is to actually listen to. “Certain songs can get a party up to speed, but other songs are here to listen to when you feel a certain way about a situation. The words in the song say everything you are feeling in that moment.” Over the years music has changed and it always will. There will always be people who think what’s being played is wrong. Maybe because it’s not what their used to hearing; music is a hard thing to argue about because no matter what we say, music will always evolve. At this very minute music is evolving, and chances are that there will be people who won’t find “quality” in those new songs waiting to hit the airwaves. When it comes to music, you either like it or you don’t. The choice is up to you, no matter what generation you come from.
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 11
TEEN SUPPORT SYSTEM:
A Need to Succeed? BY SHAQUILLE ROBERTS, JUNIOR, HYDE PARK ACADEMY
ot everyone has someone to lift them up and encourage them to do better. Sometimes, someone’s faith in you helps you to have faith in yourself. Having a person to push you towards achieving your goal is significant in a person’s life, but is it necessary to have a support system in order to succeed? Trevor Hill, a senior at Dunbar Career Academy, believes that a support system is necessary. “With a support system, you will be pushed to strive for excellence and be held accountable for the success of your future. A support system gives you grounding and a focused mindset. My support system has affected my life, in a very special way.” Not having a support system can affect you in a different way. “I never had a support system and that’s why I think my self-confidence is lacking,” said Andrianne Wright, a junior at Hyde Park Academy. “I’m really afraid to try new things or go after things I want because I’m always doubting myself and my abilities. I guess you can call it low self-esteem.” Bogan High School senior Lyndon Jackson has a support system, but believes that in life there is no promise for success. “I do not think that you are guaranteed to fail if you do not have a support system, just like you’re not guaranteed to
THE DREAM ACT:
succeed if you do have one; but I do think it helps you by lessening the burdens felt throughout everyday life.” It’s hard to believe in yourself when no one else has expressed their belief in you. According to Chicago psychologist Dr. Bernice Banks, a support system is necessary for success. She says that there are ways to get a support system if you don’t already have one. “Sometimes the support is provided by a caring teacher, pastor, or counselor. In addition, many community agencies offer programs for teens including mentoring, teen parenting, and mental health treatment.” If you feel as though you are in need of a support system or that the one you have is lacking in some way, Banks suggests talking to your school counselor. A local church is also a good place for teens to start to learn about the resources available in his or her community.
Hope for Illegal Youth BY LYNDA LOPEZ, FRESHMAN, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
ndocumented immigrants across the United States are chasing the dream, the “Dream Act,” that is. Under the provisions of the “Dream Act,” qualifying undocumented youth could be eligible for a 6 year long conditional path to citizenship that requires the completion of a college degree or two years of military service, according to dreamact.info. In March 26, 2009, the legislation known now as the “Dream Act” was introduced to the United States Senate and the House of Representatives as the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act.” The act was pioneered by Senator Orin Hatch of Utah and Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois. Debate over the “Dream Act” has been raging since the introduction of the piece of legislation. In cities across America, there have been protests in favor of and against the enactment of the act. Recently, the House of Representatives successfully passed the Dream Act. All that is needed now is for the Senate to pass it as well. If you are interested in joining the movement in favor of this act, go to www.dreamact.info. 12 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
What What Are Are Teens Teens Doing Doing To To
STOP THE VIOLENCE In The Community? BY LAUREN WRIGHT, SOPHOMORE, KENWOOD ACADEMY
hen it comes to teen violence, we often recognize adults and their organizations; however, we often overlook teens and their efforts to reduce violence in our communities. Though some teens are contributors to the problem, many teens are upset that fingers always get pointed in our direction when Chicago is referred to as a “war zone.” As a result, teens have created organizations to help resolve the problem. Two organizations that target Chicago’s teens are the Blair Holt Memorial Foundation and T.W.O. (The Woodlawn Organization). The Blair Holt Memorial Foundation is an organization that was created by Ronald Holt when his son, Blair Holt, a former CPS student, was shot and killed on a CTA bus. The organization holds gun violence workshops, marches, rallies, and prayer vigils. The organization also mentors and provides support to families and friends of those who are victims of violence. Chamiellia Williams, one of the overseers in the organization, says that “the program is making an impact; not a big impact but it is making one. I have one hundred new applications from teens, and all together the organization has around
two hundred young adult members. About fifty percent of the teens were either in gangs or lived a life where gun violence was really affecting them.” T.W.O. is an organization within After School Matters that specializes in helping teens with everything from teen pregnancy to teen violence, with a focus on teen gun violence. They talk to different gangs, felons and create documentaries about life on the streets. Marlon Montgomery, a former member of T.W.O., says, “I really think that when I was with the program, I was getting through to some teens considering that I am a felon, used to play with guns and was a part of that life at one point in time myself. I also am only 18 and walk these streets and still go through what these everyday teens go through.” When it comes to ending teen violence, these two organizations are doing their part by bringing awareness to the communities. For more information on how you can help, visit www.blairholtmemorialfoundation.org or contact Mr. Holt at rholt@ blairholtmemorialfoundation.org. To contact the T.W.O. program, you can call Katrina Toney at (773) 616-4340. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 13
Hottest Games of the Season BY KARL THOMAS, SOPHOMORE, FOREMAN HIGH SCHOOL
ut of all the things we know to be true about the video gaming industry, one is indisputable: video games only get better with time! There have even been games so popular that people have waited hours in the blistering cold to be one of the first to get their hands on them. Let’s talk a little about a few of those games and why fans like them so much.
RED DEAD REDEMPTION Red Dead Redemption is a game that all shooter gamers love. One of the biggest reasons why is because of its massive environmental game play. You are a former outlaw set up by the government to do their bidding. When you set out, you’re immediately exposed to this vast world of grass, snakes, cactus, and everything that makes the old west the old west. In multiplayer, everything is open to you and AI is around for the picking. Out for PS3 and Xbox 360.
HALO: REACH Halo: Reach is another shooter game that is taking the stores over. Obviously, the Halos before it were unbelievably successful. But this is the version to date. Battle rifles, plasma grenades, and all your favorites are here and ready for action. The toolset for multiplayer is a spatial arrangement, which means more weapons for you. It’s going to be some slaughtering going on; that’s for sure! Out for Xbox 360.
CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS Once again, the classic Call of Duty series is back with another installment: Black Ops! The campaign is mainly about a special operations veteran mixed up in an invasion and then thrown in a covert war. Multiplayer is as you expected; chock full of explosions and gunfire. Treyarch also brought back the ever-popular Nazi Zombies where you play as 1 of 4 “presidential” characters as you fight your way through the pentagon. Multiplayer also now has a new feature: 2 people can play online on one Xbox at the same time! The maps are huge and need exploring. It’s here for Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, and Nintendo DS. Run and pick it up now!
NBA: 2K11 The new NBA Live is here. Get ready because you won’t be able to guess who’s in there: Michael Jordan himself! That’s all you need for a good basketball game. It consists of a new mode called “Jordan’s Challenge.” You have to relive Jordan’s moments and work your way through his career. There are 10 of them from his early days to his retirement. It’s out for the Xbox 360, PS3, and the Wii. It’s selling fast so you better get your copy now!
iPhone Apps VS Android Market BY FERNANDO GARCIA, JUNIOR, SCHURZ HIGH SCHOOL
he world has come a long way since pagers and rotary dial. In 2007 mobile networks took a leap into the new era of technology by introducing Smartphones, with Apple being the first one with their infamous iPhone. The Smartphone also introduced a whole new technology called Apps, which are applications designed to help people organize their lives and have fun while doing it. Like different phone companies, there are also different app stores; the two major ones being iPhone Apps and the Android Market. One question that surfaced from this is: which is better? Both apps stores may look identical at first glance, but there are definitely some not-so-obvious differences. Android is like the baby brother to iPhone, because it began a year after and hasn’t caught up in numbers of apps available just yet. As of November 2010, the Android Market has more than 130,000 apps available (only half of iPhone). Distimo, an app store analytics showed that Android has the highest percentage of free apps, with over 57% being free, double the amount of iTunes apps. The great thing about the Android Market is the majority of apps are cheaper to download and easier to publish, since there is no strict rule for publishing. 14 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
With iPhone being the first major app store for the Smartphones, it’s no surprise that they contain more than 300,000 apps. Along with having the most apps, it also has the best effects and visual design, keeping users entertained for hours. One of the major differences between the two is browsing for apps with iPhone desktop application is much easier and quicker with the help of genius lists. This feature analyzes and makes recommendations based on what you use most. But along with so many great features also comes a steep price. iPhone undeniably has the most expensive apps in the market; some costing up to $1,000! After looking at the information for both Android Market and iPhone App Store and from my own personal experience, iPhone still won over the Android Market for many reasons. One of them is 40% more apps available compared to the Android Market. Also, iPhone apps function more smoothly with the least bugs and problems. But there is no doubt the Android Market can catch up to iPhone in the future, considering how far they’ve come so far.
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 15
YOUMEDIA: The Future of Teen Media BY MARICELA RAMIREZ, SENIOR, FOREMAN HIGH SCHOOL
ouMedia is a liberal learning space located at the Chicago Public Library’s downtown Harold Washington Library Center. It was created to merge young adults, books, media, mentors, and institutions throughout the city of Chicago into one dynamic space. The Chicago Public Library, along with Digital Youth Network, created YouMedia to expand digital learning opportunities for high school students while having mentors lead workshops to help teens improve their skills and create digital works. The works vary from songs to videos to photography and blogging. Teens are offered still and motion cameras, drawing tablets, video and photo editing software, and an in-house recording studio with keyboards, turntables, and a mixing board. Teens can also access thousands of books, laptops, computers, and various media tools and software. This is one thing that the associate director and lead mentor for Digital Youth Network, Mike Hawkins (aka Brother Mike), believes is one of the best parts of YouMedia. Their philosophy is to ensure that teens possess a fundamental understanding of the various modes of communication that comprise the new media landscape. YouMedia’s essentials include: space where teens can gather and interact online, mentors to work with teens to share artistic and digital media skills,
interest-based learning for opportunities based on their passions, research for positive impact within students, and also partnerships for youth opportunities and resources. Even though all this sounds exciting, unfortunately not a lot of teens know about YouMedia. “If I could change one thing about YouMedia, it would be the amount of people that know about YouMedia because not a lot of people know that it even exists,” explains Brother Mike. To learn more about all that YouMedia has to offer, visit www.youmediachicago.org.
K.L.E.O. Community and Family Life Center BY JAMELIAH SALTER, SENIOR, GWENDOLYN BROOKS COLLEGE PREP
he significance of community is one great matter that is often overlooked.
It seems like many people within various communities have no regard for their neighbors. With a lack of support systems, the reason for this detachment is more than obvious. Located in the Washington Park Community, the K.L.E.O. Community Family Life Center brings back the essential meaning of community. It is a needbased organization that provides services such as educational programs and violence reduction programs for people of all ages. Their educational programs consist of Math, Reading, ACT/SAT prep classes, GED, Tutoring, and more. The K.L.E.O. Community Family Life Center employs youth advisors to administer duties such as tutoring, monitoring the hall, teaching and assisting teaching, as well as peer mediators.
that hot summer day, the initial goal was to inform the community of preventative techniques involving acts of violence. The K.L.E.O. Center is also a site of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Every 1st Wednesday of every month, they distribute free food to those in need within the community.
Jarvis Walker couldn’t help but show his excitement when he explained his involvement with the K.L.E.O. Center: “I have my own class, I teach poetry.” With Selfless and giving indeed, the K.L.E.O. Community Family Life Center finds joy children in his class ranging from 6-9 years of age and 11-13, he has learned how to in the simplest deeds. Even the worker Jarvis had to confess that it has had an be patient with young children. impact. “I learned different aspects of life and I’ve seen things in me that I didn’t think were there before.” On Saturday, August 28, 2010, the K.L.E.O. Community Family Life Center held its 2nd annual Peace Fest. From 10 am to 6 pm, youth were able to enjoy food, fun, The K.L.E.O. Community Family Life Center is always in reach: and entertainment. As artists such as Demi Lobo graced the stage with fantastic 119 E. GARFIELD BLVD. • CHICAGO, IL. 60637 • P: 773-363-6941 musical performances, children were given free school supplies. But at the end of www.kleocenter.org 16 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
YCA: Poetry as a Movement BY SUBRIA A. WHITAKER, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK HIGH SCHOOL
nfortunately, self-expression isn’t always accepted nor encouraged in our generation. But sometimes expression through creative writing and performance is the outlet that we teens need most. Since 1991, Young Chicago Authors (YCA) has provided us with that outlet, through writing, publication, and performance education. YCA was founded in 1991 by Dr. Robert S. Boone and has expanded throughout the Chicago area, changing creative writing as teens once knew it. YCA teaches the craft while providing endless opportunities through workshops, publications, and performances, which reach approximately 30,000 young adults through the service of 2,500 teens.
and member of the MPHS poetry team. “I’ve become a better writer,” he said. “And more open-minded as far as techniques and genres.”
YCA workshops consist of collaborations within schools, as well as a Saturday writing program throughout the school year. CPS students can even gain Service Learning hours through these Saturday writing workshops, and the submission of a final writing project for any of the three YCA professional publications: Say What Magazine, GirlSpeak.org, or Swaggerzine.org. In addition to publications, poets and authors participate in live performances such as spoken word, open mics and slams such as Word Play and Louder than a Bomb.
YCA unites teens from different neighborhoods and schools all over Chicago to
Louder than a Bomb has definitely changed lives, including the life of Morgan Park High School’s Brendan Johnson: 2010 Louder than a Bomb Individual poet winner,
For more information, applications, audio, and video on YCA programs, visit the official YCA website at www.youngchicagoauthors.com.
share their different stories and different points of views with different styles all in one place. During YCA events, teens are able to build relationships with each other that last for years, even outside of high school. As summed up by Performances Manager –Robbie Q. Telfer, Young Chicago Authors serves as a voice for all the teens of Chicago.
METROPOLITAN FAMILY SERVICES: Strong Family Equals Strong Community BY KYLA SYLVERS, SENIOR, GWENDOLYN BROOKS COLLEGE PREP
etropolitan Family Services is home to the motto “family first.” With there being so many families that need financial assistance and a simple support system, Metropolitan fulfills a large need in the community at no price. “The stronger the family, the stronger the community,” says Christine Brown, a representative of the Upward Bound program at Metropolitan Family Services Calumet Center located in Roseland. Metropolitan is a social service agency that has existed for 150 years providing services to children, teens, families, and older adults in seven common areas. There are 20 programs ranging from Family Violence Intervention Program to the Upward Bound Program for college bound students of low income households. Each program is designed to meet a certain goal to make families more prosperous as a whole. The locations include Roseland, Pullman, West Pullman, Riverdale, Washington Heights, Morgan Park, Mount Greenwood, Beverly, and Chatham.
“We help everyone in the family, from 0-100 years old,” says Ms. Brown. No member of the family is left behind at Metropolitan Family Services. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 17
BY BRIA CROSS, FRESHMAN, COLUMBIA COLLEGE CHICAGO
ith the familiarity of TV cameras from her mom’s reality show The Real McCoy under her belt, Kai Morae is now spending time in front of photographer’s cameras as a plus-sized model and the newest face for Apple Bottoms clothing line, and in the spirit of fashion, she talks about her do’s and don’ts. 1. WHAT FASHION TREND DO YOU WANT TO NEVER COME BACK? THOSE BIG M.C. HAMMER PANTS! 2. WHAT FASHION TREND COULD YOU SEE YOURSELF BRINGING BACK? LEGGINGS, ONCE THEY GO OUT OF STYLE. 3. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT SHOPPING? IT’S FUNNY BECAUSE I CAN’T STAND TRYING ON CLOTHES AT THE STORE BUT ONCE I BUY THEM, I LOVE PLAYING DRESS-UP WITH ALL MY NEW CLOTHES AND SHOES. 4. WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO SHOP? I LOVE BEBE, FOREVER21, NORDSTROM’S AND WET SEAL 5. WHAT ITEMS WILL YOU SPLURGE ON? SHOES, DEFINITELY! 6. WHAT ITEMS WOULD YOU RATHER SPEND LESS MONEY ON? I WOULD RATHER SPEND LESS ON IT ALL, BUT IN GENERAL I WOULD HAVE TO SAY NAILS, MAKEUP AND BEAUTY STUFF. 18 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
SWEATER WITH CHAIN DETAILS – H&M
STRIPED SATIN SKIRT – H&M
JEWELRY – True Star Closet
12. WHAT PIECE OF CLOTHING DO YOU OWN THAT YOU KNOW SHOULD HAVE MADE THE TOSS PILE BUT YOU STILL KEEP? OK, I HAVE THIS TWEETY BIRD SHIRT THAT I LOVE BUT IT’S SO OLD. IT’S FROM ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BUT I LOVE IT SO I WEAR IT IN THE HOUSE WHEN I’M JUST CHILLING. 13. WHAT WAS YOUR WORST FASHION MOMENT? I WOULD HAVE TO SAY, WHEN I WAS YOUNGER MAYBE 12 AND WENT TO STEVE HARVEY’S HOODIE AWARDS AND I WORE THIS BIG PURPLE DRESS WITH MY GLASSES & THIS SHAWL! I THOUGHT I WAS CUTE THEN BUT NOT NOW. 14. WHAT’S THE BEST FASHION ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN? THAT YOU CAN’T GO WRONG WITH A NICE PAIR OF JEANS, A V-NECK SHIRT AND HEELS. IT’S A CLASSIC LOOK ESPECIALLY WITH A BLAZER.
STRIPED SUSPENDERS T-SHIRT – H&M BLAZER & JEWELRY – True Star Closet
SUEDE VEST & BLACK DRESS WITH LACE DETAIL – BCBG
CROPPED PANTS - GAP SHOES – Kai’s own
BELT – GAP
7. DO YOU GIVE YOURSELF A BUDGET EACH TIME YOU GO SHOPPING? UMM SOMETIMES DEPENDING ON HOW I FEEL, OR HOW MY POCKETS ARE LOOKING. OR IF I HAVE SOMETHING MAJOR COMING UP THAT I MIGHT NEED THAT MONEY FOR I’LL TRY TO STAY IN A GOOD RANGE. BUT THIS GIRL LOVES TO SHOP! 8. WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE DESIGNERS? I DON’T REALLY HAVE A FAVORITE DESIGNER, I JUST LOOK AT ITEMS AND DETERMINE WHETHER I LIKE THEM OR NOT. 9. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE? I WOULD SAY IT’S A YOUTHFUL, FLIRTY AND CUTE. 10. IS THERE ANYONE YOU LOOK UP TO STYLE WISE? I LIKE CERTAIN PEOPLE FOR CERTAIN LOOKS, LIKE BEYONCE AND JENNIFER LOPEZ FOR AWARD SHOWS AND RED CARPET LOOKS. RIHANNA FOR FUN STYLES AND TYRA BANKS FOR THE SLEEK LOOKS SHE DOES. 11. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ACCESSORY? WOULD HAVE TO BE DIAMONDS, THEY GO WITH EVERY OUTFIT.
Wardrobe Stylist TIFFANY SUTTON
Hair OLIVIA WELLMAKER
Makeup VERONICA SAUCEDO
Photography DESHAUN ADAMS
NEW YEAR’S REVOLUTION
LANCE CABRAL AmeriCorps Volunteer, 20 Actor/Intern at The Miracle Center GOAL To open my own youth arts center ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR 2010 Being an AmeriCorps Volunteer and working with inner city youth and making a difference at The Miracle Center are the best thing that’s happened to me and shows me through God all things are possible. And realizing the “dopest swag,” the best clothes or the most money isn’t what’s important when there are people in need or hurting. PLAN FOR 2011 Since I was a kid, I always wanted to work at The Miracle Center. Performing in their theater productions changed my life by giving me an outlet and helping me find my identity. I’m going to continue so my father can see me perform and start a community group that mentors youth, shows compassion for others and makes a difference for the families living in my neighborhood. ON LANCE: MACY’S CLOTHING TRENCH JACKET, DKNY BUTTON-DOWN SWEATER, KENNETH COLE V-NECK TEE, GUESS BOAT SHOES, AMERICAN RAG
ASHANTI SOLDIER Kenwood High School, Senior Posse Foundation Scholarship Winner GOAL To be a broadcast journalist ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR 2010 The awesomeness of last year will be hard to top! I made two things priority: find scholarships and find a college, and I am truly blessed to have accomplished both goals. Working on True Star Radio, playing lots of football, and getting a full-tuition scholarship; that will prove vital in my intellectual and personal development. PLAN FOR 2011 2011 for me is all about continuing to develop a network of like-minded individuals who also seek success on the highest level. ON ASHANTI: MACYâ€™S CLOTHING JACKET, AMERICAN RAG SWEATER, BEN SHERMAN PINK TUXEDO SHIRT, INTERNATIONAL CONCEPTS CLOTHING JEANS, LEVIS
TAYLER ULMER Whitney Young High School, Senior QuestBridge Scholarship Finalist GOAL To be a museum curator ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR 2010 I got accepted to Howard University! I am a True Star Radio host and I’m also the fundraising chair for buildOn, a member of the National Honor Society, president and founder of Get Fit Prom Club and Broadcasting Club. PLAN FOR 2011 I will make myself happy by pushing forward in making my dreams come true. I also want to become more active in food kitchens and volunteering with the elderly. I feel like I can learn so much, become more humble and aware about the world through those that are less fortunate and wiser than me. ON TAYLER: NECKLACE, MACY’S FUR VEST, SWEATER AND SKIRT, GAP SHOES, PAYLESS FINGERLESS GLOVES, URBAN OUTFITTERS
JAMELIAH SALTER Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep, Senior Scholarship Recipient and Posse Foundation Finalist GOAL To be a magazine writer for Ebony or Essence ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR 2010 Iâ€™ve been offered over $100,000 in scholarship awards this year from Concordia College and St. Xavier University. I also wanted to be a member of the National Honor Society and I am now the vice president of NHS at my school and the sergeant at arms for the class of 2011. PLAN FOR 2011 Being grateful for the blood, sweat and tears it took for me to be where I am today and opposing any distractions that stand in the way of me staying on track and maintaining my 4.4 GPA. ON JAMELIAH: DRESS AND BOWTIE, URBAN OUTFITTERS TWEED JACKET AND SEQUIN PURSE, GAP SHOES, PAYLESS
LETICIA RIVERA Northern Illinois University, Freshman Miss Teen Illinois Belleza Latina 2010/11 GOAL To be a pediatrician ACCOMPLISHMENTS FOR 2010 Iâ€™m determined to prove success can come from a single-parent household and not be another Latina added to the high school drop-out rate. I now attend college and graduated from Von Steuben High School and their Licensed Practical Nursing program. As a youth advocate for education, I know it is key to our success. I also gave back by volunteering at homeless shelters and food pantries, and participated in Autism, Breast Cancer and Peace walks. PLAN FOR 2011 I plan to make it better than the last by giving even more to those in need. I recently lost my cousin to lung cancer and it gave me a different perspective on everything in life. Losing a loved one to such a horrible disease has given me the passion, determination and ambition to put together a benefit concert for cancer patients in the community. ON LETICIA: JACKET, T.J. MAXX EARRINGS AND NECKLACE, MACYS TANK, SKIRT, SHOES, BRACELETS MODELâ€™S OWN
ALL T-SHIRTS BY COCOMOCHA CHICAGO 1060 E 47th Street, Chicago Cocomochastudio.com 773.895.3611
HAIR & MAKEUP Chrisondra Boyd
WARDROBE STYLIST Tiffany Sutton
PHOTOGRAPHER Mireya Acierto
BACK TO PLAN A BY SUBRIA WHITAKER, JUNIOR, MORGAN PARK HIGH SCHOOL
ant to become a star like Keri Hilson? Ever thought of how amazing it would be to be a celebrity? I mean, who wouldn’t want the glitz and glamour of fame, right? Wrong. Sure fame can be fun, and the money would be nice, but it’s important to recognize all the hard work, sweat, and tears it took to get there. And once one is there, the sacrifices and drama that come as baggage in this industry must not be overlooked. We now know Hilson as a Grammy nominated singer and hit songwriter, but like many artists, she did have her “girl group” days. As a teenager, Hilson was a member of two groups, “Pretty Toni” and “D-Sign.” After the second group’s break-up she was distraught, but she didn’t let that stand in the way of what she had to do. “I had to take ownership of my life and my career, so I took up songwriting, I never would’ve guessed that it would take off as far or as fast as it did,” said Hilson. “And that’s what brought me back to plan A, which was always to perform.” During her time as a songwriter, she witnessed the hardships of many artists and began to wonder if she was looking in a mirror. She saw many talented people get “shelved” by the record label, because of budget cuts, the labels choosing to promote already established artists and not having enough resources left. “Just because you are in a record deal and just because you start recording it, doesn’t mean your album will ever release,” said Hilson of her uncertain future as an artist. Eventually, she got into the industry as an artist and began her own story. The next step for her was to release an album. Of course getting time in the studio, laying down tracks, and releasing an album take time, but Keri was no rookie to the game at this point in her journey. While awaiting the release of her album, she kept working hard, performed often, stayed relevant, prayed, and kept waiting. 26 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
While things were progressing, publicity for her album went in the wrong direction. “I would learn about release dates via twitter,” she said. Rumors of budget cuts and singles falling in the charts started to circulate, leaving fans skeptical. Her first album dropped on March 24, 2009, and despite the success of its release, she remembers the sacrifices it took for her to deliver in this demanding industry. Throughout her journey, Hilson had to prove she wasn’t just pursuing a hobby. While trying to establish the outstanding career she has now, she’s had to sacrifice a lot of things, including time for herself and the most difficult, time with family. Missing important events like birthdays, holidays and graduations, Hilson got a lot of negative energy from her family. “My drive is definitely what caused me to sacrifice,” Hilson said. “I felt like everyday I wasn’t in the studio or everyday I wasn’t working on my craft, I was missing out on an opportunity or time was being wasted.” Though difficult to sum up her career into only three words, Hilson describes her journey as “patience,” “survival,” and “relentless.” “The majority of the crowd is following what they hear on the radio. Others are being trendsetters and others are doing what they hear in their own head … and that has been the key to my success,” Hilson said of her strategy to make it to the top of her game and stay there. Even though her journey hasn’t been easy, she’s learned how to adapt and overcome. She’s made no excuses and instead confronted her challenges heads-up. It taught her the importance of taking advantage of opportunities and how to make things happen—for herself. Now this is the type of Cinderella story teen girls can learn from.
THRU DA WIRE
OBEE: NOT JUST ANOTHER DANCER BY JOHARI DODD, HOMEWOOD-FLOSSMOOR HIGH SCHOOL
mer Michael J. Bhatti is a 25-year-old dancer who has been traveling the world ever since he was 8. Better known as Obee, he is most popular for doing one of the best Michael Jackson impersonations in the industry. As a kid, he was fortunate enough to meet and become friends with the king of pop himself, and learned many things from him as a performer. Out of all the things he learned from him, he appreciates the showmanship the most. “Showmanship is essential for me. A real entertainer should be able to move a whole crowd and spread the emotion, no matter what age group. Entertainment should take the audience on a journey, show them something never before seen and give them an escape.” Michael’s inspiration motivates him to keep going. “When it comes to dance I get most of my inspiration from Michael Jackson. I have been listening to
hip-hop since a young age. So when I started to work on music, rapping was the natural direction for me to go. I’m inspired by the greats such as 2pac and Biggie, but I also get inspired by artists such as Kanye West, Fabolous and 50,” he says. His uniqueness sets him apart from other entertainers he explains, “Well, I don’t wish to be labeled as just a dancer or just a rapper. I’m an all-around entertainer! People say there aren’t any rappers that really dance at the same time. But that motivates me even more. Let me be the first one to do it. I don’t want to be like every other artist. I think different, but at the same time hip-hop is originally combined by the 4 elements: Dj, Graffiti, Bboying and Rap. Who said you can’t combine some of them?” He has not officially released anything yet, but still has managed to gather a huge fan-base around the whole world.
“I know many eyes are watching, so when I first drop something I will deliver!” He plans to prove that any kind of entertainer can spread the message of love. His advice to teens is to always go for your dreams and follow your heart. But you have to REALLY want it and always believe in yourself. Never stop working; practice makes master! O-Bee official pages: • www.obeegalaxy.com • Twitter: http://twitter.com LilMoonBoi • YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/ObeeGalaxy Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/obeegalaxy
KANDI BURRUSS: HOW TO DO IT ALL BY MAYA BRYANT, SOPHOMORE, MORGAN PARK HIGH SCHOOL
er own production company. She got it. Her own clothing store. She got it. Her own television show. She got it. Now combine that with being a successful singer-songwriter, businesswomen, and single mother! She is Ms. Independent. She is Kandi Burruss. Whether you’re watching her on Bravo’s hit reality show “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” or vibing to her latest single “How could you...feel my pain,” Kandi is showing every women in the world, young and old how to do it all and look fly while doing it. But the road to becoming an independent woman takes time. For Kandi Burruss, like many others, it was a long road of ups and downs. Recently True Star was fortunate enough to talk with Kandi about the lessons she learned trying to “make it” as a young songstress. TS: How old were you when you became a part of the group Xscape? KB: I started in the group when I was 14, but we signed a deal when I was 16. TS: Explain how being in a group shaped your career as a songwriter as well as a solo artist. KB: In the beginning, Xscape was everything to me. I didn’t really see myself as not being in the group. That’s how I learned how to make slang words and 28 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
records and make it so it’s relatable to people. Xscape was the basis of being in the industry. TS: What were some of the obstacles you faced in the music industry? KB: In the beginning, I didn’t really look at it as an obstacle because I was the youngest in the group. I didn’t realize the struggle people go through to get noticed. I thought all we had to do was sing and get a deal. It was a blessing that it turned out that way. We never experienced not having a successful record or album. I think I learned more after the group broke up. When I started writing with different people and working with different artist. The things I learned, I wish I knew back when I was in the group. TS: Where did you get your inspiration? KB: My life, relationships. My songs are little diaries. TS: How do you juggle being a mom and having a busy career? KB: It is hectic, but I always put my daughter first. My daughter and I have a really great relationship. If I’m on tour, she’ll come on tour with me. I’m kind of grooming her to become a better me. I go to school functions with her, participate in things with her that some parents can’t do because of work or something.
I change my schedule around to make time for her. TS: What would you say to young girls who want to “make it” in the music industry? KB: Perform at every showcase you can be at, because you never know who might be there. Always have a CD on you with all your information. Not a card because a card can get lost. Your information needs to be on the CD so that it’s easier to get in contact with you. Don’t wait for somebody to do something for you. It’s good to go out and promote yourself. TS: When the time comes and you just want to “hang it up,” how do you want people to remember Kandi Burruss? KB: I want people to remember that I am a hard worker. I love being on stage, but I also love being behind the scenes. I don’t mind giving somebody else a hit and blowing them up. I don’t mind connecting people, getting them a deal and blowing them up. I try to help everybody and at the same time still hold it down for my daughter!
ON HIP-HOP AND THE STATE OF RADIO BY DION SPENCER, FRESHMAN, HEARTLAND COLLEGE
TEEFA POWER 92 SATURDAY MORNINGS 6A-10A
ew in the hip-hop game can say they were once both a successful emcee and radio personality. Fewer even can say they survived in the industry since the 90s and remain relevant today. But unlike the others, Chicago native and beloved radio personality for Power 92, Teefa, knows exactly how to adapt and persevere in such a cut-throat world.
I am at the radio station, I can get my records played. But like everything in life, there’s more to it. I believe my previous experiences have given me the knowledge I need to be successful now. Sometimes we think ‘this is it,’ but we really are in training for something much greater. That’s how I view my history in radio and hip-hop, training for my future.
Recently True Star was blessed with the opportunity to talk to Teefa about her current pursuits and the state of radio in 2011.
TS: What is the good and bad about satellite radio versus regular radio?
TS: How has radio changed in the last 3 years?
Teefa: The freedom of satellite radio is priceless. However, it lacks content relatable to local communities. On the other hand, regular radio can be constrictive.
Teefa: Radio has changed because the music has changed. There is less conversation and less creativity in radio today. In my opinion, all the stations are doing the exact same thing in Chicago. We lack room to be trendsetters on the airwaves in Chicago! That’s the missing ingredient!
TS: Who are some of the artists you listen to and would like to play on the radio, but because of the “radio format” you cannot?
TS: In your opinion, what is the future of radio?
Teefa: Nas’ new music, Pharoah Munch, Jay Electronica, Jean Grey, to name a few.
Teefa: I believe radio is headed to the same direction as all media “the Internet,” because it allows freedom of speech. At the end of the day, all people want to exercise, witness and participate in freedom of speech. Other peoples’ and their own!
TS: What advice would you give a young artist attempting to make it in the music industry?
TS: How have you been able to grow in your career through various directions and capacities? Teefa: I have grown in many ways, mostly understanding how to manipulate my circumstances and opportunities to benefit my career. For example, to most being on radio is a plus and it is. However, when you’re an artist too, it’s not as easy as it seems. Although, through trial and error, I am just now learning how to balance being a personality and an artist. Issues like scheduling and being the artist and the personality often present a huge conflict of interest. People assume because
Teefa: I would tell them to surround themselves with people with like ambitions and find mentors, many successful mentors. The most important advice is never stop studying and that learning your craft is a life-long commitment. TS: If you could do one thing different in your career, what would it be and why? Teefa: I would never take breaks from recording because it is a creative outlet for me. I have been confused and frustrated with music before and stopped recording as a result. I have learned to redirect my focus by creating music for the love of the art, not to achieve a certain level of fame or fortune. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 29
MORE THAN JUST AN ACTRESS BY DEJA HARRELL, SOPHOMORE, KING COLLEGE PREP
rica Hubbard, a successful actress and a Chicago native, has more to offer than just great acting skills. She is a warm-hearted, active humanitarian who cares about the world and the troubled teens in it. Hubbard, 26, grew up on Chicago’s South Side and often goes back to her “hood,” as well as other neighborhoods across the country to speak to kids and tell them what they really need to hear for motivation. This is just one of the ways she gives back through the Erica Hubbard Foundation (EHF). “The Erica Hubbard Foundation was formed because of the community I was raised in. What I do is go to different communities and speak to kids who are under-privileged. [These are kids] who have never seen anybody on television, nor have they had somebody who will sit down and talk to them about what it takes to be successful. The reason why that’s so important is because you have to motivate your community to want more and to do more; just kind of inspire them. You have to be that voice.” The EHF isn’t the only foundation Hubbard whole- heartedly gives her time to. She also has worked with Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club of America, Girl Scouts of America, A Place Called Home, and wherever else she can donate her time. When Hubbard isn’t helping with charities, chances are she can be found reading a script. For two years, Hubbard played the part of Cassie Sutton in the family television drama “Lincoln Heights.” The show, which ran for four years, stopped airing in the beginning of January of 2010 and is now in syndication. The former model has also appeared in the movies “Save the Last Dance,” “A Cinderella Story,” “Akeelah and the Bee” and “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.” Hubbard says one of the things she loves most about acting is getting to be someone else. “I like to be different characters and explore the human spirit whether it’s an introvert or an extrovert, and to portray different variations of different personalities.” In Hubbard’s most recent project, she plays Kita in the upcoming relationship comedy “Let’s Stay Together.” The show, executive produced by Queen Latifah, will air on the BET Network on January 11, 2011. For more information on Erica Hubbard, visit www.ericahubbard.com.
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Nevaeh Heart musical style
I would describe my musical style as something very unique, but still something that people my age, people younger, and people twice my age can relate to. I’m a combination of R&B, hip-hop and soul.
Marcel Kashtree musical style I would describe my musical style as just a mixture of emotion reflects me, my life and my other alter-egos.
uniqueness Everything I do I feel is unique, because I don’t put myself in a box. I stay broad with my ideas and do what I do best; that’s doing me. Don’t try and be someone you’re not.
goal My ultimate goal is to bring as many of my wildest ideas to life. If I
do this, others can enjoy them as I do.
influence Major influences in my life are my family. They show me everyday that life is a learning experience, so think BIG. VERY BIG!
Contact Information: HIT ME ON FACEBOOK: TREVOR HILL OR TWITTER: @ MARCEL_KASHTREE “NA ALLLLLLLLRRRRIGHT” 32 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
uniqueness The thing(s) that make me unique and stand out
from other artists is that I bring a sense of realness to my music, to the game and to my fans. With every song I write, and every lyric I sing, my fans can tell what my story is. My music tells the truth, and everyone can relate to it.
goal My ultimate goal with my music and my career is to help. That’s it! I
want to influence young women and young men. I want to teach young women to love themselves. I want to teach young men to respect. I want to be a teacher and influence everyone; positively, that is. My main goal is to give back to everyone as well.
influence My major influences are God, my family, my friends,
and most of all my fans. However, one major influence is the idea to succeed. I want to show all the non-believers that I am talented, that I am unique, and that I WILL make it! Contact Information: My fans can keep in touch with me on Facebook (Just search Nevaeh Heart), On Twitter @ItzNEVAEH247, On TrueStaris.com (Just search Nevaeh Heart), and On YouTube (Just search Nevaeh Heart). They can also email me directly: email@example.com
musical style My musical style is R&B and hip-hop. uniqueness What’s unique about me is that I am passionate about life, my music and my career.
goal My ultimate goal with my music is to put the soul back into it. influence When it comes to my music, a lot of things affect me.
I’m influenced by God, my family, my job, etc... Contact Information: www.myspace.com/pashonette, www.facebook.com/pashonette www.twitter.com/pashonette Uproar Entertainment, Reds Management. HR The True Star www.hr-truestar.com
musical style Being positive is key. No profanity; it all comes from my heart.
uniqueness As of right now, I am 11 years old. I inspire
my peers with my music, as well as the older crowds. I’m trying to keep the peace. Much Love.
I want to become a platinum selling artist. I’m going to make history; just watch!
influence My parents and the people that stand behind me 100 percent and the Almighty God, because with out him there is no me. Contact Information. Shortiemactv.com facebook.com/shortiemacmusic youtube.com/shortiemacmusic myspace.com/shortiemacmusic twitter.com/shortiemacmusiq
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 33
Want to Make Some Money BY CEDRIC HAKEEM, SENIOR, URBAN PREP
The Chicago City Treasurer is a proud partner of Young Chicago Saves, True Star Magazine’s Teen Biz and On the Money Magazine.
s a teenager, financial opportunities don’t always present themselves. Therefore, we must make our own. Unfortunately, it is difficult to become an entrepreneur at our current age, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start working towards it for the future. Statistics show that in the year 2000 the percentage of teens with jobs was 34.6%. In one decade, the percentage of teens with jobs has dropped 16%. It now stands at 18.5%. These numbers have only decreased over the years. Something must be done!
I know you are as surprised as I am that the summer is already over! Did you accomplish all of your summer goals? If you did – great! Keep it up! If not, what are you going to change this school year to make your goals a reality? The goals you set for your money are important. Did you save enough for your back to school clothes? As you think about the year ahead, remember how much you want to save for the holidays, winter clothes, prom, and homecoming. These goals will help you avoid wasting your money. When summer comes, you will be able to say “I accomplished my savings goals!”
Stephanie D. Neely Treasurer Make your savings goals a reality. Visit www.YoungIllinoisSaves.org to set a savings goal! On the Money Magazine and True Star Magazine would like to thank HSBC – North America for their support of this Teen Biz segment and the Office of the City Treasurer of Chicago, Stephanie D. Neely, the Chicago Public Library, the Economic Awareness Council and True Star Foundation for their partnership as well as Bank of America for their support of Young Illinois Saves.
34 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
To learn more about the option of entrepreneurship, I interviewed Stephen Thurston, a local entrepreneur who owns a men’s clothing store on Michigan Avenue. He explained how hard it was for him as a teenager to make money, but he didn’t let it discourage him. He did things like sold candy, hosted parties, and managed a store. He did the little things so that one day he could do big things. Mr. Thurston used the term “practice makes permanent.” His experience trained him for what he is currently doing.
He encourages all youth today who want to make money now or in the future to gain work experience through internships or volunteering. If money is your motive, why not do everything possible to open up opportunities for yourself to make more money? Starting your own business is not the easiest thing to do in life, but it’s certainly not impossible. You just need to do your research, create opportunities for yourself, and like Mr. Thurston, do the little things so that one day you can do big things.
Learning About Financial Literacy
Outside of School BY KAMAL BILAL, FRESHMEN, WHITNEY YOUNG HIGH SCHOOL
hether you’re a 10 year old kid thinking of ways to buy a new toy, an 18 year old teenager figuring out how you’re going to pay for college, or a 25 year old alumni wondering how long it will take to pay back your college fees, it is important to know the importance of saving, spending and investing money. According to the Council for Economic Education, only13 out of the 50 states require their public schools to teach about financial literacy and the significance of economics. This means it’s up to you to become financially literate. In our age of information, there are no excuses for us not to be financially savvy. There is the internet, public libraries, magazines, newspapers, and you can even get financial updates on your cell phone. These are all great resources that we can learn from. For example, Joan Kane, business teacher at Whitney Young HighSchool, says, “Websites like ‘financialliteracy.com’ and ‘themint.org’ are informative and age appropriate for anyone who wants to self-educate themselves on financial literacy.” Furthermore, nearly all libraries have librarians specializing in finance that can potentially help you with
anything you are willing to learn. Visit www.chipublib. org and select Ask a Librarian to have your financial questions answered. Taken as a whole, it should be every young adult’s goal to be financially literate. Even if you’re not particularly focused on money, finance is the basis for many occupations. It can open doors for you in many areas and help you succeed. For example, Curtis Krumreich from Charles River Associates, says that his interest in money, while in college, helped him successfully pursue a career in financial consulting. Everyone has the resources and ability, it just requires a little bit of effort.
Healthy Eating on a BUDGET BY MARIAH WACHTMAN, SENIOR, LAKEVIEW ACADEMY
o you choose a $1 cheeseburger at McDonalds instead of your first choice of buying a healthier meal for $7? Does money interfere with your ability to eat healthy? This is becoming a big issue as 1 out of 3 teens are obese in Illinois, according to the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children. Teens often do not eat healthy because they find it inconvenient, not appetizing, or plain too expensive. After following these tips, convenience, flavor, and money will never determine your decision to eat healthy.
1. Switch to Water—Do not get sucked into buying a can of soda because it is
cheaper than bottled water.
Invest in a good BPA plastic free water bottle and you can fill it up wherever you go. A high school Senior, Mario, shares the benefit, “I’m surprised how clear my skin looks after switching to drinking only water.”
Eat Real Food—The additives in many foods are chemicals that make the food taste good and drive us to repeat purchasing and eating! Julie Burns, the Blackhawk’s team nutritionist and owner of Eat Like the Pros reveals, “You can invest now by choosing to eat real foods or pay later in poor health, medicines, and less productivity.” Buying real foods, foods without sugars, colors, hydrogenated oils, and additives, will keep you physically and financially fit later.
Plan What You Eat—Plan what you eat in advance; pack a lunch, stick healthy snacks such as nuts, apples, carrots etc. in your bag and get that water bottle ready! If you are at home, a simple tasty meal such as salads with olive oil and vinegar versus store bought salad dressing can be a good pick.
Shop Smart—Whether you are eating at a restaurant or shopping in a grocery store, think about what is in your food and if it is worth buying. To make shopping easier, choose places that are known for providing healthy items such as Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods. The benefits of eating healthy are endless. As Julie Burns put it, “Many teens find that as they replace their processed food snacks with real foods, they have more energy, look and feel better.” If it works for the Blackhawk’s, it will work for you! You can find more tips and advice at www.eatlikethepros.com.
How to Make College Visits
MORE AFFORDABLE BY JANET GARCIA, JUNIOR, WALTER PAYTON COLLEGE PREP
t’s November. As a junior, one is dreaming of dorm life and dreading the ACT. Meanwhile, seniors are perfecting and mailing applications. But don’t forget to actually visit the college! It’s a crucial part of choosing which school to attend. Ana Diaz, a freshman at Illinois State University, says “I’ve always wanted to go to ISU, and when I stepped foot on campus, I just knew it was for me.” However, college visits are not cheap. According to Cliff Kramon, an independent college advisor, “It’s not atypical for someone to spend $3,000 on travel, food and lodging costs from such visits before selecting a school.” A number that large can be daunting to parents and students alike, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Here are some tips:
• Look for deals on plane tickets. Whenever possible, travel by car or train. (Amtrak offers a deal to high school juniors/seniors: buy one ticket get the companion ticket half off. Visit: www.campusvisit.com/amtrak) • Gas is expensive! Carpooling with friends is a great way to save. • Visit colleges by region. • Talk to the office of admissions about discounts for local hotels and travel deals. • Already going on a family vacation? Try to combine it with a college visit or two. • Find out if your high school organizes college tours. They are much more affordable.
• Avoid hectic weekends. Hotel rates go up during “parent’s week” and “moving week.” • Narrow down your list. Though 25 schools might appeal to you, you realistically can’t afford to apply to or visit all of them. Most counselors suggest applying to 10 colleges. • Eat at the dining hall. Not only do you get a glimpse of the typical meal, you also save on food costs. • Just can’t make the visit? Virtual tours on college sites and attending informational sessions are great ways to learn about the school and make personal connections without having to spend any money. Other sources: • Check out the Princeton Review’s “Guide to College Visits” filled with helpful tips and info on over 350 colleges. • For more up to date information on tour dates, the website of the college is a great resource. • Try www.campusvisit.com for hotel deals in the northeast. TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 35
Lincoln Park Zoo
inding a career can difficult, but definitely not impossible. All you have to do is find what you’re passionate about. Lincoln Park Zoo’s epidemiologist Rachel Santimyer and Zoo Keeper Sunny Nelson knew at a young age their passion for animals would bring them into a career devoted to helping animals. True Star recently sat down for a Q&A with the duo, and they gave us a little insight on what it takes to be an endocrinologist and a Zoo Keeper.
NAME: RACHEL SANTIMYER TITLE: ENDOCRINOLOGIST LOCATION: LINCOLN PARK ZOO TS: What is an endocrinologist? RS: We study the hormones of animals. We look at reproduction so we can see if animals are pregnant or if they’re cycling. If their reproduction is affected by seasons, we also look to see if the animals are stressed. TS: What made you want to work with animals for a living? RS: I first wanted to be a veterinarian. I applied to vet school and I didn’t get in. I then met a scientist from the National Zoo who was studying reproduction and endangered species and I thought that’s pretty cool, maybe I can make an impact with endangered species. TS: What type of education would you need to be an endocrinologist? RS: For an endocrinologist, you would need to get above a bachelor’s degree; you can also get your masters and PhD. I’ve met some who even had a veterinary degree and a PhD. You don’t have to have your PhD, but most doctors have it. TS: What is the average annual salary for a person working in your profession? RS: If you are working for a non-profit organization, usually one would make $40K starting off and as you continue it ranges between 50 and 80K. If you are working for a university, you make much more. TS: Is there a high demand for your job? RS: There is a high demand for my job. I think most people think that working with animals is glamorous, but it’s actually hard work. It doesn’t matter how many degrees I have, I’m still playing with poop.
NAME: SUNNY NELSON TITLE: LEAD ZOO KEEPER LOCATION: LINCOLN PARK ZOO TS: What made you want to become a Zoo Keeper? SN: I was a pre-vet major at my college and part of the requisite was to volunteer at a vet clinic for a year before you could declare it as your major, which was actually a good thing because after two procedures and passing out during those procedures, I realized the medicine side of animal care was not for me. So at that point I had to find another major, I began volunteering at Zoo Atlanta and I thought I was going to go to graduate school and do research but I fell in love with working with the animals hands-on. TS: Was there anything you did in high school that helped you in your career today? SN: My science and my AP physics teachers were beginning to focus more on the environment, and then they launched our Green Team and they really brought home our environmental impact and that was really interesting to me. TS: Is there a high demand for your job? SN: I think we do, but it’s very competitive. I think a lot of people want to do it, but they don’t realize the amount of work that goes into it. TS: What type of education do you need to be a Zoo Keeper? SN: You would need at least your bachelor’s degree in any of your hard sciences, zoology, psychology, biology, and chemistry. TS: What is the average salary for your job? SN: It depends on the type of city you live in and the type of zoo you work at. But somewhere between 50 and $80K a year. Starting off, it could be as low as $24K. TS: How physically demanding is your job? SN: My job is extremely demanding, especially if you’re working with the elephants or rhinos; picking up the poop and feeding them can be demanding because it’s very heavy. Mentally it can be exhausting too because you’re constantly focused on making sure your co-workers are OK and nothing happens, considering that we work with potentially dangerous animals.
TS: What would you tell a young person looking to get into a career as an endocrinologist? RS: Getting experience and trying different things to see if you really like it is a really good thing to start off with.
TS: What advice would you give to a young person looking to become a Zoo Keeper? SN: I would say to not give up. Seek advice; I got so much support from my professors. So one never give up, and two seek advice; you’d be surprised at who would help you reach your goals.
TS: Thank you for taking time out to speak to True Star about your career. RS: You’re welcome.
TS: Thank you for taking time out of your day to talk to us about your career. SN: You’re very welcome.
36 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
INSIDE & OUT
e h T
s r e n n i W e l c r Ci
True Star partnered with Walgreens, Chicago Public Schools and The Department of Health to sponsor the Expression Against HIV/AIDS Art & Literacy contest. Teens submitted essays, poetry, and artwork to build awareness to combat the disease in urban communities. Thank you to all the participants and finalists for your efforts and for taking a stand against HIV/AIDS. Grand Prize Finalists received $1,000 for themselves and $500 for their school and $500 for their teacher. All other finalists received a $100 gift card to Walgreens.
WHAT DO YOU THINK MADE YOUR PIECE STAND OUT THE MOST TO HELP YOU WIN?
Hyde Park, Grand Prize
Innovations High School, Grand Prize Rap/Poetry
Essay Winner “I think it stood out more because a lot of people are talking about STD’s from girlfriend and boyfriend, and I did mother. I knew a lot of people would do the basic girlfriend and boyfriend thing.”
“I don’t know. I think I was blessed. I think I was lucky for them to even pick my poem. I think it’s just the way that I approached it. It’s about education, so I talked about education and using contraceptives.”
Foreman High School, Art Category
Brittany Hardaway, Hannah Neely, Idris Pedro, Charla Agnew, Kira Bowman, Dunbar High School
“I have to say the other finalists were better than me, I don’t think I deserved to win. I think my piece is complex, I had a lot of stuff in there that had a lot of meaning.”
CONGRATULATIONS 2010 WALGREENS EXPRESSION
CONTEST WINNERS 38 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
“Our video was about 3 different girls, each had HIV in three various ways but when they got it they didn’t know what to do, so there best thought was to run. Don’t run away from your problems; just because you have it, you can still live a normal life. It is not a death sentence. A lot of people want to commit suicide. They all bumped into each other. This concept made us stand out.”
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THE PIECE?
Gallery 37 Center for the Arts
Morgan Park High School
“Because I really wanted to get the word across about HIV and AIDS. There is hope, even when you get AIDS it is not the end of the world and you should know information about HIV and AIDS.”
“To combat AIDS in a way that could reach everybody.”
MARJA MOORE ISRAEL SANCHEZ Curie High School “I was just sitting at the computer doing some homework and I heard about this competition and it just like, hit me. I asked people to help me out, and they agreed.”
IVY ZHAS Whitney Young High School “How the youth can be the cure for AIDS. I feel that the youth can provide the hope. Most of the time, you see adults leading the fight; however the youth should be more active.”
Morgan Park Essay
XERXES FLORES Von Steuben Rap/Poerty
MIASA HAWK Brooks College Prep Video
*JOSE GUZMAN, Foreman High School, Art (no picture) TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 39
2010 WALGREENS EXPRESSION AGAINST HIV/AIDS WINNING ESSAY
Death at a Funeral BY SHAQUILLE ROBERTS, JUNIOR, HYDE PARK ACADEMY
walked into the funeral and saw the looks of my relative’s faces. Their cheeks were stained from the tears they cried that day. I don’t like funerals because they’re sad, but I had to come to this one. Not just because it was mine, but because I just can’t let go. I walked to the front of the funeral home and looked into the casket. There I was, looking more beautiful than ever before. Being born with HIV will change your appearance in the worst way possible. There were so many years of fighting this disease and it finally caught up with me. There are a lot of facts people don’t know about HIV. For instance, you cannot get HIV from kissing, sneezing, or just simply being in the presence of someone who has the illness. You can get it from unprotected sexual intercourse, blood contamination, or like me, you’re the offspring of someone who has HIV. I read an article once that said there is a 10 to 20 percent chance that a pregnant mother could pass HIV to her child. I’m one of those unlucky ones. But another article said without treatment, a child that has been infected lives on average for around two years. I’m part of the lucky few that lived to be 19 years old. Now that I’m gone, who is going to teach people without HIV about the disease and persuade them to get tested? Who’s going to teach the new ones coming into this world with HIV the best way to control it? Who’s going to show them how to fight this? Who is going to help them find the strength to carry on and live life? It wasn’t my time to go; I didn’t achieve my goal; I still had work to do. I never got to tell my story. I never got to help others and influence lives. At the funeral, some of the closest people in my life got up and spoke about me. My best friend went up to the podium and read a poem she wrote about me. “Never was afraid of this disease called HIV, it took over her body but it couldn’t have her spirit,” she read. This line stood out to me the most because this is exactly how I felt about having this sickness. It had me physically but it couldn’t have my soul, my heart, my character or my self-esteem. Next, was my cousin. She got up and talked about how big of a dreamer I was. I wanted to start my own program for HIV awareness. I really wanted to help the people in my situation. It’s hard fighting HIV, but there is a way to fight it. I never let it take control of me and my life. I heard my grandmother speak about how much of a fighter I was. This was true, but for the last eight years I really had to fight for my existence in this world. Now it’s over. But I’m not ready to let go. I was sitting in the front row next to my mom 40 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
who has been battling HIV for almost 20 years. She was crying on my aunt’s shoulder as I held her hand. My mom and I had a bond like no other. We both had HIV so it just seemed like she understood everything I went through. Weight loss, sinus infections, depression– she knows how hard it is to live with HIV. My mom was the last to speak. She talked about how I inspired people, including herself. She said I was her motivation. When she felt like giving up, I was there to lift her up. She told the crowd I was an example for her; the example of what she wanted to be. If you didn’t know her, you wouldn’t even know that she was fighting HIV. Hearing my family talk about me helped me put things into perspective. All I ever wanted to do is influence someone and their words confirmed that I already have. I have, in fact, achieved my goal. My purpose on this earth has been fulfilled. Now I can go.
Clever Ways To Meet A
hen trying to “get up” with a girl, there is obviously a right and wrong way to go about it. Some guys make the common mistake of thinking it all has to do with looks, which makes someone powerless unless they are one of the lucky few who were born with good looks. But if you looked beyond the superficial, you would realize that girls are attracted to more than just looks. One of these is finances. Girls are looking for someone who has a dream and a plan. You have to work on yourself before you work on finding her. What better way to do start off your journey by finding a job and getting your money right. Coolest thing about having a job is that it can bring you a few other things that can help you find a girl, like a car, nice clothes, and the ability to take her out on a nice date instead of to the corner store to share a pack of Jolly Ranchers. In school, lots of guys make another common mistake in assuming that it is “lame” to join extra-curricular activities. But what they fail to realize is that they are perfect places to meet girls. Activities like Cheerleading, ROTC, ASM, The Book Club, the Choir and True Star Magazine are packed full of potentially available girls. Putting yourself around girls logically increases your chances of interacting with one. 44 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
BY BRYAN WILLIAMS, SENIOR, SCHURZ HIGH SCHOOL DESIGN BY ANSHAUNTI HILLERY JUNIOR, SIMEON CAREER ACADEMY Another clever thing to do when wanting to meet a girl is to make friends with as many girls as possible. The obvious benefit in this approach is that by making friends with girls, you stand the chance of being introduced to her friends, and might even find yourself invited to one of their parties, which will obviously be packed with none other than: girls! So don’t ever be sour if a girl turns you down by saying “I’m not interested. But we can be friends?” Take her up on her offer and see where it can take you. You never know; she might end up reconsidering how she feels about you once she gets to know you. Finding a girl is not the easiest thing to do, but it’s not impossible. Keep in mind that you have to work on yourself before you start looking. Once you feel comfortable with yourself, start to put yourself in situations where you can actually interact with them, like extra-curricular activities. And never close the door on an opportunity just because things didn’t work out the way you wanted them to. Don’t be afraid to make female friends and open yourself up to larger and larger social circles. At the end of the day, you will benefit from all the self-improvement work you put into yourself. Good luck!
Need A New ‘Type’? Then Try Something New! BY SHAQUILLE ROBERTS, JUNIOR, HYDE PARK ACADEMY
ypically, we see the ‘gangster boy’ fall in love with the ‘ghetto girl,’ and the ‘motivated girl’ falls for the ‘ambitious boy.’ We read about this in books, we see it on TV, and it’s happening in real life. Growing up around a certain group of people, we tend to get comfy and adapt to our surroundings, even when it comes to love. But ever think that good things can happen if you switched your dating interest up a bit? If you are exposed to the same type of people, that’s all you will take interest in because you haven’t seen what else the world has to offer. According to local psychologist Valerie Jencks, what you’re familiar with is usually what you tend to like. “In general, we are attracted to what we know. If we recognize something as familiar to us, we are drawn to that person more than to someone who is not like us. Dating someone your own ‘type’ means that you spend less time getting to know the other person in order to feel close and connected.” Many times relationships don’t last because you’re dating the same type of person and having the same problems in every relationship. There’s no change. Avoid repeating the past. Do not limit yourself to one type of person. Dr. Jencks adds, “Dating someone who is not your ‘type’ can give you a chance to learn about new things, whether it’s different activities or an unfamiliar culture. For the individual, dating someone with unfamiliar interests or beliefs can provide a person with new possibilities that may influence who he or she becomes as
an adult. Your socioeconomic, religious, or ethnic culture can increase a person’s tolerance for variation and diversity in their own community by making differences seem less different.” So, are you up for the challenge of dating outside your typical type? Then you need to try something new. A small gesture can make a big difference. If you usually go out with people in your neighborhood or school, consider changing where you hang out. If you make the effort to explore different neighborhoods and new places outside your familiar environment, you are opening yourself up to the possibility of meeting that new partner who can change your life for the better.
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First Months’ Rent
True Star Magazine Presents
The Next “Star Mogul” W
OULD YOU LIKE TO MAKE YOUR OWN MONEY? OWN YOUR OWN BUSINESS? HAVE PEOPLE WORK FOR YOU? BE YOUR OWN BOSS? DOES BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR SOUND LIKE THE RIGHT CAREER MOVE FOR YOU? MANY OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE IN BUSINESS TODAY STARTED OUT AS TEENAGE ENTREPRENEURS. FOR MANY YOUNG PEOPLE, BUILDING SOMETHING OF THEIR OWN INSTEAD OF WORKING FOR “THE MAN” COMES NATURALLY. RECENTLY TRUE STAR GOT THE OPPORTUNITY TO SIT DOWN WITH A FEW YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS AND TALK ABOUT THEIR BUSINESS. BY MAYA BRYANT, SOPHOMORE, MORGAN PARK HIGH SCHOOL AND ACHAIA MOORE, FRESHMAN, PERSPECTIVE CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL
Kevin Grove, 21 (designer name: Ramal Shine)
Business: Urban Fashion
TS: What type of fashion are you into and how did you get into it? KG: I’m into urban fashion. I got into when I was 12. The first thing I ever made was a pair of Kobe Bryant shorts. In 8th grade, we were taught to hand sew. We didn’t learn how to sew clothes, it was just art material. I got two Kobe Bryant jerseys and one of them sewn onto some shorts. I wore them to 6 flags for our 8th grade trip, and then my freshmen year they came out nationwide. In my mind, I was thinking somebody saw the shorts, got them copyrighted and paid for. In high school, I was making clothes as a hobby. Then when I graduated high school, I thought it was time to take it serious and I’ve just been working and moving ever since. TS: What kind of pieces do you make and how much do you charge? KG: I make jeans, shirts, all types of urban clothes. Right now I’m in the process of putting a line out for the summer of 2011. I sell clothes to my friends and just random people, but I’m not in the field of selling. But if someone was to ask me to make something, it depends on what they want. It can be anywhere from a shirt for $20, or a whole outfit for $100. TS: What is your clothing line called? KG: L.I.C., which means Life In Clothes.
Caroline Kelly, 17 Business: Food Girl Lunch Services TS: What does “Food Girl Lunch Services” do and how did you get involved with that? CK: “Food Girl Lunch Services” is a business where we make and create lunches. What made me want to get involved with that is basically not being interested in our school lunch, not being satisfied with the taste and pricing of it. So I thought I would take it into my own hands and make something good for the students and teachers. TS: So what type of lunches do you serve on a regular basis? And what are your prices? CK: On a regular basis, I usually sell sandwiches. A meal would come with the sandwiches, usually a bag of chips or cookies and a bottle of water. In colder months, I have a special beef stew that I sell too. Along with the beef stew, I’ll add some cookies and a bottle of water and it’s about $5. TS: How is the money you make now helping financially? CK: It’s helping a lot. It’s good to have the money on the side just in case I need something. I don’t go out and spend it, I keep it for emergencies. TS: What are your hopes for the future? Would you like to have your own business one day?
TS: How do you make your designs? Do you draw them? KG: I just freestyle everything I draw.
CK: I would love to open my own business, either following up with this and expanding or going into other businesses. If I can expand this and get a small restaurant or cafe, I would love it! I do hope to open my own business one day.
TS: What inspires you? TS: Good luck with that and thank you for your time. KG: Life in general. Things I’ve been through, things I’ve seen, my past, stuff that my friends are dealing with. Just the things I’ve seen in my life.
CK: Thank you and your welcome.
TS: Okay, thank you for your time and good luck with your business. KG: Thank you.
TRUE STAR MAGAZINE 47
ON THE COURT
THE H O O P S H I G H HYPE
Nike 120 Days:
CREATING HOPE THROUGH BASKETBALL BY JASMINE MORALES, MALCOLM X COLLEGE
eaningless! Meaningless!” Someone once said of the game of basketball. “A meaningless game that promises a false future.” For Nike, the company that many will tell you helped to bring meaning to basketball, the game is anything but: It saves lives. For years they have used the game to bring people of different backgrounds together, and to bring hope to countless inner-city youth. All across the world, Nike sponsors under-privileged basketball programs that bring hope to many players who otherwise wouldn’t have a future. On November 12 , 2010, Nike presented the latest in their efforts to change the world through sports called “120 Days.” An event that brings eight Chicago high school basketball teams together for a night of anticipation, encouragement, and hope. The anticipation: The “120 Days” represented the upcoming high school basketball season. As I began to watch the young players of Whitney Young, Crane, Farragut, Brooks, Simeon, Morgan Park, Von Steuben and Marshall come in, I realized the future of the game was walking through those doors. These players were about to embark on a journey much larger than basketball. I didn’t know the faces of the players or all of the names, but what I did know was they were all packing the Wicker Park Field House for one common goal: to fight for a lucrative future as a basketball star. The players were able to experience what it would be like if they were actual NBA players. They held a press conference, were interviewed on camera and took many pictures. They were superstars for the night. Walking into the gym there were lights, a stage, benches and a screen. All around were banners that read Nike: 120 days. As the players sat down, the screen began to play a commercial highlighting the teams and players of the past seasons. At the end of the video, the screen read “Who will make history now?” When asked about the season and the goals they have set, Whitney Young’s small forward Luke Hager said “we just want to go downstate and bring back a championship.” The encouragement: For many players, making history as an IHSA champion is their ticket to go to college and get a free education. To ensure that the students actually have a chance at getting a free education, Marshall high school’s point guard Marlen Sykes said “ before every practice we have tutoring sessions, we also have to finish our homework.” During the program, I noticed how much Nike stressed the importance of school and ceasing the opportunities that are given to student-athletes. To shed light on the importance of taking advantage of any and all opportunities, Nike brought out ESPN columnist Scoop Jackson. “I think it would be foolish for students to not take advantage of the opportunities Nike has provided for them. Not that I’m a big believer in hand-outs, but you hear kids complain all the time that ‘no one does anything for them.’ Well, here it is. A support program that encourages you to reach beyond being your best, but a leg up to achieve goals. And all done using the game of basketball as the catalyst. How could anyone that loves the game of basketball not want to use that to their advantage?” 48 TRUE STAR MAGAZINE
At the end of the day, basketball teaches you how to rise above the influence, overcome, and persevere. Essential habits needed for a successful life. With faithful sponsors like Nike and events like 120 Days, we are able to bring hope to an otherwise hopeless situation that is inner- city life.
The Perseverance of
Shannon Brown BY JASMINE MORALES, MALCOLM X COLLEGE DESIGN BY JAMES HUDSON, SENIOR, SIMEON CAREER ACADEMY
ave you ever gone past a group of kids playing basketball? Ever wonder what their dreams and aspirations might be? Many young kids growing in urban areas dream of one day making it to the pros. But what they fail to realize is the road to the NBA is a long and hard one. One might see the average NBA player and only see the flashy cars and clothes, but if they were to get an inside look into their lives they would realize that it takes a lot more than talent to make the NBA. It takes strength, ambition, self-motivation, but most of all it takes perseverance.
The next two seasons would result in him going back and forth between the pros and the developmental league. Brown was better than the guys playing in the D League, but not as good as the guys in the NBA. After a continuing spiral of disappointments, Brown was a part of a 3 player deal sending him to his hometown Chicago. He got little playing time and soon would be traded to the Charlotte Bobcats. It seemed that Charlotte would be a repeat of what happened in Chicago. As his season ended with the Bobcats, he was faced with yet another trial. Brown was left unsigned that summer.
When adversity comes their way, many players become discouraged and give up. Shannon Brown, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers and has two NBA championships, recalls a time where he too had to beat the odds of becoming a solid NBA player.
“I felt like I was going crazy, not knowing if a team would pick me up.”
“My first two years in the league, I didn’t respect the game and I paid for it. I felt I was better than a lot of players and I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t able to make my mark in the league. You definitely have to respect the game in order to make it.” Shannon was going up against all the odds. Only 1.2 percent of college ball players actually go pro. And even though he already beat those odds by being drafted as the 25th pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers, he would once again have to prove he really wanted to play the game of basketball. After showing some promise his rookie season, scoring in double figures twice, an injury to his shin would unfortunately disrupt his rookie season.
Most players give up when it seems hopeless, but Shannon Brown never gave up. He believed in himself and his ability to play the game. With faith in God and himself, he finally landed a team in Los Angeles. In his two seasons with the Lakers, he won two NBA Championships. Not bad for a guy who had to beat the odds more than once. Your perseverance is defined by how you choose to handle adversity. If you choose to take adversity head on, more than likely you will be able to accomplish the goals you have set before you. Every successful person on this earth has gone through some kind of adversity to get where they are. The saying “you can do anything if you set your mind to it” might sound corny but it is very true. Shannon Brown is truly a testament to this reality.