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COLLECTOR’S EDITION

OUR

PRESIDENT INS ID E : CHICAGO DANCE CREWS

USHER

HISPANICS IN HIP HOP

HOOPS HIGH AND MORE!


Phatfffat BY RANDY C. BONDS Sophomore, Columbia College Chicago

D

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

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


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

“WHEN I WAS A CHILD, I SPOKE AS A

CHILD, I THOUGHT AS A CHILD, AND I UNDERSTOOD AS A CHILD, BUT WHEN I BECAME A MAN, I PUT AWAY ALL CHILDISH THINGS.”

N

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


SPRING/SUMMER 2009

YOUNG HOLLYWOOD MAKING ITS MARK

PLUS: CELEBRITY

COPYCAT FASHION

INTERVIEWS WITH…

COLUMBUS SHORT MAESTRO HARRELL TYLER WILLIAMS TIA MOWRY THE CAST OF BALDWIN HILLS AND MORE!

THROWING A ‘BOMB’ PARTY WHITNEY YOUNG’S HOOPS GLORY

PATHWAYS TO SUCCESS YOUTH GUIDE INSIDE!


“STOMP THE YARD GAVE ME THAT SHOT TO SHOWCASE MY ABILITY, AND THAT IS SOMETHING THAT ACTORS WORK A LIFETIME SOMETIMES TO DO.”

TRUESTAR MAGAZINE 9


MORE MORE WITH WITH YOUNG YOUNG HOLLYWOOD HOLLYWOOD Tyler Williams enjoys his life By Diondra Bradshaw – Sophomore King College Prep

Naturi Naughton By Randy C. Bonds Sophomore, Columbia College Chicago Photo: Keith Munyan

Why let the stress of a job get to you? Is it worth it in the end?

Naturi Naughton is definitely a survivor, a trait clearly displayed in her career.

“All jobs should be fun and nothing should be taken too seriously,” says Tyler Williams, star of TV’s Everybody Hates Chris. “[Acting] is definitely a job but you should have fun doing it.” Williams knows that even if work is strenuous, you still have to push past it and do what you love.

Many remember her as one of the founding members of the pop trio 3LW. Naughton herself? She prefers to look ahead. “I don’t like to dwell on the issue,” Naughton said, “but instead show people how much I’ve grown from it, and encourage them not to live in the past.”

Ever since nabbing the starring role on the Chris Rock-inspired sitcom in 2005, Williams has shown his comedic skills. No easy feat when you are portraying a comedic legend. “That was the biggest thing for me: how am I going to prove to [Rock] that I can play him?”

After leaving the group, Naughton attended Seton Hall, where she would use her free time to work on music and acting. She began auditioning for Broadway plays immediately after college, and was soon booked on the Broadway National Tour of Hairspray. “A lot of people didn’t know that I was doing a Broadway show,” tells Naughton, “but I was always working, just not in the music business.”

Over four seasons, Williams proved himself worthy of Rock’s status. Now, with the show going off the air, the young actor is looking ahead. “The person who inspired me to become an actor was Will Smith,” Williams said when speaking about his film career. “A movie I saw when I was very young was Men In Black, and from there I kind of got the idea that this is something that I really want to do.” And while Williams became famous for playing Chris Rock, he landed the role just by being himself. “I couldn’t think of anything to say [in auditions], so I just was myself,” Williams said. “In conversations [Rock and I] had later, he said that was one of the biggest things.”

Zon D’Amour:

Brian White By Randy C. Bonds Sophomore, Columbia College Chicago, Photo: Chenoa Maxwell Born into a wealthy family with a star basketball player for a father, fame was never something to strive for in the life of Brian White. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t had it. After following in his father’s footsteps as a professional athlete, an injury forced White into a new line of work. He immediately got involved in modeling while also co-founding the Phunk Phenomenon Urban Dance Theater Company. He collected a SAG card and an agent when he was hired for a commercial, thus putting him in “the union before I even knew what it was.” He moved to New York to continue modeling, and was at an L.A. bar trying to figure out how he was going to get back into the NFL when he was approached by a director for Moesha who, intrigued by his “look,” asked if he had any acting experience. Soon after, White’s career in the field had begun. It is a job that he loves. And to him, that’s important.

After her Broadway success, Naughton took it to the big screen as “Lil’Kim” in the movie Notorious. While Lil’Kim wasn’t too happy with the portrayal, Naughton is proud of her achievement in the role. “It’s unfortunate that she’s not happy with the role,” says Naughton, “But I am aware that it has nothing to do with me.” This is only the beginning for Naugton, who has a movie coming out later this year titled Fame. Be sure to check it out, and continue to watch as she grows from a singer to an actress.

Hollywood’s Next Director

BY DAVID KINGLY JUNIOR, BRONZEVILLE MILITARY ACADEMY

M

ost teens today will give up on high school if they are tired of it. That is not the case for Zon D’Amour: instead of giving up in order to get out, she finished early. It was clearly a good decision, allowing her to devote her time to what she loves: making motion pictures.

As such, she is working to create her own show, a program revolving around the life of high school students that, as she says, “isn’t your High School Musical.” D’Amour, whose program will follow the lives of students from freshmen to seniors, is eagerly awaiting the completion of her trailer.

Zon noticed at an early age that she likes to control the action. She also saw something that bothered her: the largely negative portrayals of black characters, and scenarios that seemed watered down.

Though she is a normal teenage girl in most respects, her drive sets her apart from her peers. While many of her supporters believe she does too much, she believes they do too little. Her advice? Stay motivated and keep moving forward.

Keep your eye out for this rising star. She may be the director of your next favorite movie.

TRUESTAR MAGAZINE 11


Randy's True Star Magazine Articles Compilation