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JC Gardner

By day, JC Gardner

is a manager at an international nonprofit. Her writing credits include a novel, Sinful Liaisons, published by Aberdeen Bay Publishing in 2011, two published short stories, ghost writing/coaching, and numerous articles for various publications. Visit her at

ON BLAST J. Shephard By: Janice McMillian

Performing and entertaining for me is like oxygen. It gives me fuel to live” says J. Shephard, a dynamic singer and lyricist, with a mission and a purpose designed by God

to uplift the lives of those who revere his music. Jamaal, known in the music circle as J. Shepherd is a graduate from the school of Music at Florida Memorial University. He parlayed his musical interests into a full time career and is the Co-CEO of Guidance Records LLC and is signed to Skeelo Musik LLC and SonyRed ENT. His music is considered crossover because of its various genre contributions including Reggae, Hip-Hop, R & B, So-ca, Calypso, Techno and Pop. J. Shephard has uniquely crafted his craft into a “mix breed” musical sound. It’s no wonder his sound has drawn the attention of music lovers from Germany, Dubai, Bahamas, Jamaica, Antigua, Nigeria, Canada, Trinidad, The Virgin Islands and America who embrace his music as soul therapy and inspiration. J. Shepherd took time away from his busy schedule to fill us in on life as a musical inspiration.

JM: J. when did you know that music was going to be an integral part of your life? J. Shepherd: I would characterize my early years as filled with struggle and pain. I was born into a chaotic world filled with emotional and physical strain which made me different from other children in the neighborhood. I had to grow up fast. While others were worried about the next toy I was thinking, “ok, where am I going to move next or why is it so hard to live. For me music was my way out from this world. JM: How did music rescue you and who were your early musical influences? J. Shepherd: I had to be determined and committed to break out of a cycle of struggle. That deviation came from recording music from the radio station and then recording my lyrics over the recorded music. It was my way of merging my sound to the sound of those who had already “made it.” Some of my earlier influences were Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Tupac, DMX and Chris Cross. I related to these guys because it helped me express my feelings through rap. JM: Many artists draw from personal experiences which often opens the door for fans to be drawn in even more to their struggle and thus their music. Is your music marked by personal pain? J. Shepherd: I am a survivor of gun violence. On May, 11, 2013, I was shot in the eye from a 22 caliber hand gun. At the blink of an eye my whole life changed right before me. My first thought was, “how did this happen to me?” JM: What was the inspiration that helped you to bounce back after such a tragedy? J. Shepherd: Many people may not understand this, but I felt that I walked into my fate. After I recovered I realized that this tragic experience was indeed my destiny. I transcended from a rapper to a singer which gave me a more positive outlook on life and changed my heart’s desire. It actually produced a creative gene that illuminated heights of inspiration which provided a new foundation for my music. There’s no question that my voice is a miracle and a gift from the Almighty. JM: Where has your music taken you thus far - have you had the pleasure of opening for anyone? J. Shepherd: I’ve opened for the reggae artist, Richie Spice in North Carolina. I’ve also connected with artists who’re already established and are proving to be a valuable network to jump start further exposure for me. Having a record deal with Skeelo Musik LLC and Sony Red ENT, provides me with a strong backing and an invaluable resource for marketing

and promotion. It’s no question that my music will continue to draw attention from the local community and the entertainment world at large. JM: Tell me about your current projects? Are you working on anything in the studio? J. Shepherd: I’m currently working on three projects, the first being the release of my official single “SUNSHINE” which was produced by the Titans and music video that’s scheduled to be directed by ELIDO AZEVEDO. The song “SUNSHINE”, exemplifies free spirit and the life of a citizen. No matter what you are going through everyone likes to look good. I consider it a hustling song. Music is my life which brings my efforts into the lime light - it shares my struggle through my appearance or the fruits of my labor. I believe the street hustler, the D-boys, Jack boys, strippers, government workers, laborers and professionals all can relate to working hard to get what you desire. SUNSHINE represents that. The second and third projects are a Mix CD entitled “Dis how it Go” and an EP entitled “Mix Breed”, which displays my range and versatility. JM: J. you say “you hope to reach the soul of the man for it’s his soul that gears his direction/efforts which results in our future.” How is your music designed to do that? J. Shepherd: My goal is to form long lasting impressions that transcend the minds of my listeners and my fans. My career started with gun violence, which launched my destiny. Perhaps my situation was a necessary evil in which out of that came forth new guidance and tools for success. I can now relate to others with physical deformities and I inspire them to live life to the fullest while never giving up on their desires. I tell them, what happened to you was meant to improve your life and stimulate advancement in the mindset and hearts of others. What do I know for sure - circumstances and choices determine our future.

February 1, 2014 From the CEO/Founder of “TEAM ATOC MODELS”: I would like to thank everyone for the support given for the platform of a dream come true! For many photographers, the opportunity to support others on their road to fulfilling their goals makes the hard work photographers do worthwhile. I would like to thank everyone of “TEAM ATOC PHOTOGRAPHY” for making our TEAM work! “What Is TEAM ATOC MODELS” ...TEAM ATOC MODELS is a TEAM designed to complement personal photography and modeling opportunities. Where there are conventional fees attached to photo shoots, portfolio building, fashion shows, events, and private parties, photo editing/manipulation, magazine submissions, and more, TEAM ATOC MODELS have the privilege of having me, and My TEAM of hair stylist (Ajae Northington), MUA (Whitney Imani), and Graphic Designer (Dyron Donaldson), videographer & owner of our studio (The Motive Studio) Rod Antonio Montgomery “Monty”, help make your photographic experiences holistically affordable. Honorable mention to all the TEAM ATOC MODELS past and present: Amy Burlingame, Karis Jones, Debra Neal, Avalla Henning, Emily Elizabeth, Jegie Carrera, Jayonta Mitchell, Taina Correa, Carina Cooper, LaMonica Buckley, Serenity Rayne, Ebony Williams, Cathey Woods, Kendra Cooper, Preston Parrish, Nathan Bryant, KeiZhana Owens, Sharitta Norris, Demetrius Lovejoy, Alexandra Proano, Kanika Abraham, Shaquira Tucker, Juli Wang, Anna Terrell, Allison Elizabeth, Jill Zeugner, Brittany Williams, Safiya James, Beth Hillman, Elaine Dixon, Nala Queen, Julia Papillon, Lashawnda Purnell, Iesha Green, Roxie Pantelyuk, DeAnthony Thomas, & Antonio Castile.



am Kamaria Harris, a 39 year old full figured model from Chicago Illinois. I am born and raised on the Westside of Chicago. I earned two degrees from Robert Morris University and graduated with Magna Cum Laude; and I’m currently in grad school at Loyalty University. I’ve always been a full figured woman and wore it well. I’ve always had the highest of confidence, even before “being full figured was acceptable to society.” I began to think about my future and my health, then realized being “that heavy” would not be good for my health in the future even though I was healthy my whole life. I then decided to do a change of life and that consisted of changing how I prepared my meals, controlled my portion size, and removed different foods from my menus. And with these changes I lost 150 pounds. Very proud of my accomplishment and determination I began to post my photos on social websites to motivate other full figured women to love the skin they are in. As I posted my photos on sites I was approached by a corporate manager for Ashley Stewart’s Clothing to enter a fashion contest they were hosting. I entered the contest and won first place. That was my first experience with modeling. After the recognition I received from winning that contest, I was asked to host several Black Beautiful Women (BBW) events. I began my portfolio building with one of the best photographer in the world, Guthrie Bonnett aka “ATOC” (A Taste of Chicago), we’re working on my website, and I now have a calendar coming out soon for 2014. I really enjoy the privilege of being one of “TEAM ATOC MODELS” and I appreciate the platform it has made for me. My goal in this industry is to let everyone know to be happy in the skin they are in. I can be reached on my Facebook fan page, and I can be reached on Twitter My name is Kyle Logan Seconds. I was born in Indianapolis, IN on September 9, 1990. I have been interested in the fashion industry for as long as I can remember. I didn’t grow up with a lot of monetary value in Columbus, IN. I felt as if I didn’t have the means to express myself via fashion. The older I became the more I realized how little you need to actually express your style. Most of my shopping was done at goodwill. I was always recognized for some of the oddest outfits. It was something I loved! I thoroughly enjoyed the attention I got for my unique style. People would then start to use my ideas to express how they felt as well. That is when I realized that styling was my calling. I had a way of putting things together that revealed the way a person felt. My style evolved quite a bit, from the gothic or punk style to a more sophisticated classy look. My style had become more polished and model esque. That is when I began considering actually being a model. I had had no experience in modeling and in early 2012 my younger sister and I drove to Detroit and slept in my car to attend the America’s Next Top Model casting call held the next morning.

My sister had done a few photo shoots before and we though, with the uniqueness of us being siblings, we would be considered. The audition took place at a small dance studio and there were a lot of people! The waiting process was nerve wrecking and seemed to go on forever. They eventually called us up in groups of five to answer a few questions on camera and strut our stuff for them. All in al it was a wonderful experience and I learned so much in the couple hours that I was there. Since then I have been on the hunt for other modeling opportunities to expand my knowledge of fashion even more so. The opportunity to wear another designer’s piece of art is an exhilarating feeling. I ran into ATOC first at the casting call for Midwest Fashion Week. A few days later I did a photo shoot for a portfolio and ATOC was one of the photographers there. Working with ATOC was a wonderful experience. I felt at ease the whole time, never intimidated. Being an ATOC model would mean a great deal to me. It would give me an opportunity to network, it would give me credentials, and it would put my name out there for someone to find.

I am a 36 year old male model / actor from Chicago Illinois. I work in the field of Social Work as a Crisis Intervention Specialist for Uhlich Children’s Advantage Network (UHLICH). I absolutely love working with kids and it’s a passion that I have. I first got started modeling by friends of mine suggesting that I should give it a try. We’ll be out somewhere and a stranger would randomly walk up and ask “Are you a model” or “You should be in somebody’s magazine looking that good”. I’m a very humble guy so I didn’t pay it any mind until I was asked to model in a runway show after posting a few random pictures on Facebook. After doing that show I was asked by several designers and photographers to debut in their upcoming ventures. One of the photographers who stood out because of his work ethic and great photography skills was “ATOC”. I met “ATOC” (A Taste Of Chicago) in September 2013 at the “Style Hard & Vibe Free For Fashion Event 2013” given by Donielle Monique who is Editor-in-Chief at Vibrant Magazine which was hosted by the actor/producer/director Mel Jackson. After that event I did several runway shows including Fashion 2020 Runway Chicago with Larkin Designs and Curve Appeal runway show headed by Yolanda Givens to name a few. I am currently found in the January Issue of Vibrant magazine and will also be featured in the upcoming April issue. Aside from modeling, I have had an acting bug since high school. I started out doing “One acts” for fun which are skits and mostly improv. I was constantly on the stage in college at Central State University for different events and it allowed me to see how people react when you put on a good show. In the last year I have done a commercial with D. Rose from

the Chicago Bulls, acted along side T.I. in the Starz television series “BOSS”, and recently did a stage play entitled “Breaking Free” which was an amazing experience. The most rewarding thing that I gather from these blessings are the looks of admiration that I get from my 10 year old son and hearing him tell me “Daddy, I wanna be famous like you when I grow up”. I consider myself far from famous, but full of thanks and praises to God for his unchanging Grace, Mercy, and Favor. He has allowed me the privilege to be an example and living testimony for those who can see the light that shines within me. I encourage all of whom who will listen to follow their dreams without being discouraged. I can say that I am very thankful to God for the many opportunities that he’s blessed me with and I definitely have to give thanks to Team ATOC!!! WE WERE CREATED TO BE GREAT!!! TEAM ATOC PHOTOGRAPHY. For additional information call Guthrie Bonnett (TEAM ATOC) at 773-656-0789.

This promotional ad has been paid for and is sponsored by: TEAM ATOC PHOTOGRAPHY

Dr. Joy Ohayia A

fter working 20 years in Corporate America Joy Ohayia was laid off from her job in 2005. What began as a challenge ultimately became a blessing in disguise. Joy had found her purpose and was on a quest to share with women the importance of taking care of themselves which sparked the idea to write – Don’t Let IT Get You! – An Empowering Health and Fitness Guide For Women. After her book was published, Joy was asked to contribute to the book – Blueprint for Success – Proven Strategies of Success with Stephen Covey and Ken Blanchard. Her chapter is titled – Passion Driven Chapter 1, where she describes how she found her passion after working in Corporate America. She earned her PhD and has been educating people about Total Wellness through The Seven Elements of Total Wellness – physical, nutritional, social, environmental, financial, spiritual, and emotional/ mental. These all must be in balance for optimal wellness. She does this through her website, corporate wellness programs, social media,

guest appearances and television. The Dr. Joy Show airs in NYC weekly on Mondays at 6pm. NYC Cable Stations: Time Warner Cable, Verizon Fios, and RCN Channel 56, 83 and 34. Each 30-minute episode focuses on one of seven wellness elements: physical, mental, nutritional, social, financial, environmental and spiritual. The guests are specially selected experts that are informative, entertaining and empowering without drama, foul language or violence. I recently spoke to her and this is what she had to say: 1. Tell us a little bit about your background and what compelled you to get into the Wellness field? My formal education is inclusive of BS in Applied Mathematics and Statistics, MS in Statistics. My entrepreneurial journey began in 2005, when I was laid off from my Executive Level Financial Services Job. With the support of my husband, I decided to pursue my passion within the Health and Wellness space. As I commenced my entrepreneurial journey, I achieved my PhD in Natural Health and Holistic Nutrition. The regime to become a nationally ranked Track athlete, Collegiate and Masters Levels, has inspired me to keep in shape. It was a natural progression for me to move into the wellness space. 2. Is there anyone in particular that inspired you? I am inspired by passion driven people who strive for significance and enhance the lives of others. 3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

My passion - educating individuals about The Seven Elements of Total Wellness – physical, nutritional, social, environmental, financial, spiritual, and emotional/mental. All of these elements must be in balance to achieve optimal wellness. Motivating individuals to do their BEST is most rewarding. 4. How was your experience working with Dr. Steve? The opportunity to work with Dr. Steve (WPIX – 11) was fun as I had the opportunity to communicate the importance of “Drinking More Water” to his viewing audience. We discussed “why” water is important for our body, “where” are the natural water sources – fruits and vegetables consisting of 90% water, “how to” calculate the proper amount to consume, and “when to” best consume water. 5. I see you are also an Author, tell us a little about your book “Don’t Let It Get You” Don’t Let “IT” Get You! An Empowering Health and Fitness Guide for Women is my personal story of achievement – how to breakthrough obstacles and people that hinder us from achieving health and happiness. Don’t Let “IT” Get You! is a complete guide which encourages physical and emotional health. Its goal is to inspire all women to achieve and maintain a fit and healthy life. 6. On your website you have a Wellness Questionnaire for people to fill out, what is that about? The Total Wellness website assessment is available to people that would like to receive free advice “Jump Start” to improve their life. The advice provided is based on the results of an in depth assessment. Although someone might feel that they are deficient in one element, the assessment will help them understand the interdependencies of the impacts of multiple wellness elements on their holistic personal health. Based on client assessments, the leading challenge is achieving physical wellness. Many have the desire to lose excess weight and maintain a healthy weight – knowing the steps to get started is key. 7. What are your current projects that you are working on? My current projects include increasing significance and awareness within the health and wellness field and network television syndication. 8. What advice do you have for anyone who wants to get into the wellness industry? The wellness industry is very broad. First, I recommend they determine/narrow their focus (passion) – for example: women, men, children, mature individuals, etc. Second, begin to seek certifications in the specific area, as this will build your credibility. Finally, seek advice from individuals that are accomplished in the field. Be Blessed, Stay Healthy!

SUNNI GIRL By: Chery Sonny Thompson

Life’s shadows past can often be spiritual growth in forms of broken dreams . The art of w​H​at can be found in many different realms of life an love , through trials of joys an pain , that find ourselves left in compromised positions .. Not wanting to admit we put ourselves there . I treasure more the audacity of self confidence . “The comfortable pocket of misery “ The understanding ? To pen straying natural growth of instinctual intangible convictions , toward attachment. Relentless passage resides beyond the labor less contribution . Mental affliction , Not allowing us detachment from our own ignorance . Everyone has a stem handed down from love , natural pure an true , felt , with glorious , great love . Tangible ? Written in scripture for learning , teacing . Plausible passions . Beginnings with experience from a mother . Freshen reputation makes no hesitation , searching things old an past. Which cant changed nor rearranged because love is the Cry of any heart to living hope for discouraged tribulations of selves and others the children to mother’s. life is filled with magic tricks some mistakes some miracle when we reach the front door of discovery,, Within... The art of war has been conquered untestable temptations a member shadow of glue, truth breezes and vigorous restoration over mental afflictions Freeing all of destructive emotion , A new breed in philosophy , human photosynthesis This is the art of love. -ONELOVE-


The Jackie Starr Story

ackie Starr was born in Kansas City, Missouri. She moved to Minneapolis in 1980. Jackie spent years in and out of addiction to crack cocaine and alcohol and eventually she was sentenced to do 15 years of hard time in prison for embezzlement. During that time, Jackie made the decision to give her life to Christ. That worked for Jackie for a while, but in February 1999 Jackie says she went back to ‘The Life’. By the time January of 2000 came around, Jackie was sentenced to do a total of 30 years in prison. With the help of some friends she checked into an addiction program; Minnesota Teen Challenge. The same addiction program that delivered singer, Sheila Raye Charles, daughter of legendary sing Ray Charles from the throws of addiction, and many others. It was during her involvement in Teen Challenge that she made a decision to re-dedicate her life to Christ. Via a powerful testimony Jackie told us all about it. “Another friend told me I was not going to live until I walked in the word. I didn’t quite understand then but I could not let those words go. They still ring loud in my head today”. While in the Teen Challenge program putting together a “message” was a part of the graduation requirement. Jackie says she managed to do it, with the help of the Lord. “The Executive Director of the program at the time, Pastor Rich, told me God had a calling on my life to be an evangelist. At that time I couldn’t see it. I was stuck on who I used to be, without Christ. I joined Bread of Life PCG after graduating from the program in 2001”. In 2005 Jackie was ordained as a Minister, and in 2010 she was promoted to Pastor of the ministry. In 2012 she married a man of God, love of her life, Marvin Banks. Jackie’s story goes to show that no matter what life throws out at you, or how many struggles you have to overcome, through God, all things are possible! “God has surrounded me with praying people and very thankful people in our congregation. My husband always says we are small in number but mighty in faith and prayer. God has blessed me with great friends at Grace Lutheran Church of Deephaven. What motivates me most is the food ministry that God has blessed our congregation with. On drugs I took a lot from the community and now I have a way of giving back. I am far from perfect, and I will never be, until I crossover to the other side. But it gives me great joy to be on this side of the cross. Although the battle may seem overwhelming at times, I rest in the fact that I know God has me safely in His arms. I have five granddaughters and the oldest one just turned 18 years old. I just want to leave a positive mark on their lives”. It is clear that God has indeed touched Jackie’s life and that through her, He will certainly touch…many more. Further tribute to the lives that Jackie has touched is the faithful member of Jackie’s church, Evelyn Doyle, who reached out to us to commission this article to be written in honor of her pastor. Such love, loyalty and honor could only be fitting for one who has inspired many and loved more. Jackie Starr, you are a TRU. Inspiration and we thank you for sharing your truth, with all of us.

Glenn Lewis … G

lenn Lewis took the R&B music world by storm in 2002 with the release of his critically acclaimed debut album, “World Outside My Window” released on Epic Records. His smash “Don’t You Forget It,” became an instant hit with R & B lovers around the world and a new STAR had been born. It placed him #4 on the Billboard charts, and soon sent the crooner ‘with looks to kill’ out on a nationwide tour with music superstar, Alicia Keys.

Love, Music and other cool things

Glenn is a Grammy Award nominee and Juno Award winner and it doesn’t look like even 12 years later, stopping is on his agenda! Possessing an indistinguishable reverence to male singers of yesteryears, Glenn encompasses invigorating vocals with romantic messages over rhythmically charged production. His sound is a fresh blend of the classic melodic R & B soul we love, laced with the sexy kinda cool, which only TRU. artists like Glenn can offer. A masterful singer/songwriter Glenn is a trendsetter whose trail just continues to blaze. With his first single “Can’t Say Love” already creating a cyberspace buzz, Glenn’s work with Grammy Award winning production duo; Dre & Vidal, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, Ciara, Macy Gray, Robin Thicke, Jill Scott, Usher, Keyshia Cole, Tamar Braxton and the list goes on and on only goes to show that his versatility, creative genius and drive, has truly stood the test of time. His latest track, “All My Love,” where he teams with fellow Toronto native and Roc Nation songstress Melanie Fiona for a duet, recalls the chemistry of greats like Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Proving once again that yes, the ‘Golden Voice of R&B’ is back. This remarkably modest, humble and exceptionally gifted performer is gearing up to prove to the music world that he is deserving of a place among the music industry’s most elite vocalists. In a time when many pop stars have become further and further removed from the folks that they speak to with their custom made looks and unattainable lifestyles, Lewis remains a lot like us: a tender, tough, self-possessed young man on a quest to strike a chord with his gift. I was excited to do this interview;

Photos by: Whitney Thomas, Devon Walker and Dominic Episcopo

Lydia: Hi Glen. How are you? Glenn: I’m great. Thank you. How are you doing? Lydia: I’m wonderful; I thank you for taking time to sit down with Tru. Entertainment Magazine today. I want to let you know I totally love the new single All My Love, the new duet with Melanie Fiona. What was it like to work with your beautiful Toronto neighbor? Glenn: I mean – there’s like things in life, certain moments that you have really got to be present for and you’ve really got to appreciate the opportunity to have those moments, whatever it is. My work with Melanie was definitely one of them. Just because – and I’ve said this to a few people; outside of music I don’t think there’s anybody you would meet that knows Melanie that wouldn’t say that she’s really like an outstanding person. She’s really amazing. It just so happens that she’s also extremely talented and she has had so much experience and stuff and I’ve watched her on her come-up, like just pursuing her dream and everything. So, to see her now, winning multiple Grammy awards and all this other stuff-it’s pretty amazing. So first to have the opportunity to come together and work, it’s cool. It’s really special just for so many reasons. She’s a lot of fun, she’s really funny and she’s an amazing woman and super talented. So we have fun and I feel like that came across on the record as well. Lydia: Absolutely, the chemistry between the two of you is wonderful and clear. I’m a fan of both. So hats off to you on the release of a terrific single. On your current project you’re working with Grammy award-winning producers Dre and Vidal who produce many well-known artists. How did it feel to be in the studio with these mega producers? Did you ever feel like you would have to compete with any of the other celebs that they worked with to get the hits for your record? You know what I mean? Did you ever feel that push and pull when it comes to getting the songs that you felt were right for you? Glenn: Well, not really, just because I actually started working with the Vidal and Dre before they had worked

with a lot of the artists that you’ve mentioned. So we have a pre-existing relationship and as a result, our work process, really it derives mostly from digging deep and vibing out and finding out what suits me. They’re really diverse and incredibly talented and real students of the game. So with any artist they work with, they customize things specifically to that artist. It’s still them and if you’re familiar with their sound, then you will know certain things that are ‘signature’ for them, but for the most part, when they create music with an artist- they customize the work around that particular artist. So mostly the driving force is really challenging ourselves or them challenging me or me challenging them. It’s not so much of anything that either one of us has previously done. It’s more so that we just get ‘in the moment’. Lydia: I get it.-o.k, so you took a break from the industry for awhile. Tell us about that. Why the break and what did you do while you weren’t releasing music if there was ever a period when you weren’t? Glenn: Right. Well, yeah, there was. I mean the hiatus is just that. You know what I’m saying? I took a hiatus away from music, but I guess with anything, there’s a story. It’s just one of those things where I was always working on music and I was doing things and in and out of different deals. But I guess with this particular situation, it was just one that happened when all of the stars aligned, the tim-

ing was right and finally I was able to come out with this particular body of work. But prior to this, the success on Sony and then eventually leaving Sony and being in different deals, was just a result of changes going on at the record labels and different executives that coming and going. And a lot of what held up certain projects at that particular point in time, was all of the thing going on at Napster to all the different adjustments that were being made in the industry, and even some of the stuff that was happening at Sony. I got caught up in that whole thing and it took a little while to sort out and wait for the dust to settle. But I’m here now, with a new album and oftentimes people say music changes everything and it seems like that’s going to be the case. Lydia: Well, you definitely have a timeless voice, that’s for sure. I know that no matter what kind of trend or changes there are in the industry, you’re in it for the long run. I myself have been a fan of yours for years and so, I’m really thrilled about your current project. Being that you are from Toronto. Do you actually live there when you’re not recording or touring? Glenn: Yeah, I do. I do. Yeah Toronto is home. Usually I frequent between Toronto and Philadelphia but for the past few years, Toronto has been home again. Lydia: OK. I got to do this for the ladies because I know that they will simply kill me if I don’t ask this question. Is there a special someone in your life and if so, how does she deal with the hectic work schedule and all of your adoring fans, especially the women chasing you down from city to city when you’re on the road? Glenn: Well, there’s no one that has to worry themselves about that right now. Right now I’m really just doing the music. It’s a funny sort of thing though. I guess they say when you stop searching it’s usually when that person comes along. I’ve kind of had to learn it’s not really about searching those sorts of things. Things have to kind of happen on their own. The important thing is to just have healthy relationships with people. So right now, I have a lot of friends. We hang out. We have a great time and it’s like it’s one of those things that I think usually the best kinds of relationships often come from friendships. So I always feel like that’s a great place to start. So for the moment I’m chilling. I date- but I’m chilling.

Lydia: Hmmm…so what does that job application look like? What do you look for and expect in someone, if you were to choose a significant other? Glenn: I think the first thing is I like somebody that understands and operates at the pace of life. There’s a certain level of tolerance and understanding and compassion and empathy and acceptance and I think once you have that, the world has a way of opening up to you and so when somebody has those qualities, their approach to things is different. Their conversations, how they deal with people is different. I think it says a lot about a woman when she’s like that, because I think chances are, there’s somebody who doesn’t take themselves too seriously- unless of course, it’s a serious matter. Other than that, they sort of understand that hey, we’re human. We make mistakes. It is what it is and actually those imperfections are what make us beautiful. That’s what’s up Mr. Lewis., I like your style!


For more on the smooth, sexy, super cool Glenn Lewis check him out at:

George Aja Public speaker, Author, President of Enjoy life movement, LLC

Giving Up is Not an Option Life is filled with experiences and circumstances that test the very core of who we are and can even drive us to the point of despair resulting in embracing a mindset that says “what’s the use”? “Or “I should just give up”! Statements like these reveal something about us that should be taken seriously as to ensure the stability of our minds, emotions and ensuring us a much better quality of life.

aware and engaged in my personal healing process. Let’s take a look at these keys and see how they can apply to you:

I fully understand what it is to encounter pain and loss that drove me to a dark period in my life. A time when all of my energies were simply exhausted on keeping my sanity and knowing that this was not the way I wanted to feel or live. That being the case I knew I had to take matters into my own hands, I was solely responsible for learning the lessons in my now, with a happy, teachable mindset that was and is filled with gratitude in all things. This led me to a greater understanding of who I was, why I was and what I loved to do.

2. You are not alone – Many others have gone through similar experiences and feelings and have done so successfully, including bumps and bruises, it’s just part of the deal.

One of the first things I did was I began to list the reasons why I shouldn’t give up and these principles where a key in my turn around and even though I encountered some rough times it still allowed me to remain moving forward and fully

1. You have value – discover it, mature it and never be ashamed to communicate and display your value.

3. Personal Responsibility – Stop waiting for someone to save you! Get yourself together and stop playing the blame game. 4. Failure is a myth – The very dynamics of life are filled with cycles of learning as we move forward. Doing so does not mean we have to do it perfectly, if anything we are all failing forward, learning from what has brought us pain and moving in the direction of what brings us joy. 5. Laughter is good medicine – Whatever you do keep laughing, you might think that this is a trivial point but in fact it is one of the most therapeutic things you can do. Laughter al-

lows us to completely forget about are hardships in that moment and allows our system the break it needs; not to mention all of the good physical things that take place when you laugh. 6. Take time to invest in yourself. That could mean getting a massage or going hiking, see a movie, meditation or whatever refreshes and invigorates you. But do it! 7. Nutrition is vital – Eat organic foods, drink the best water you can, get rid of fast foods and anything processed and up that fiber intake. 8. Physical fitness – This is non optional, our bodies have been equipped with pressure release points and exercise is one of them. When we do the body releases endorphins that provide for us a rush that is a legitimate high in itself. That’s right, if you want a mood enhancer just try exercise and feel how alive you can feel, if you would just push yourself just a bit more. 9. Decide to be happy – Happiness is first a mindset that we build within us. A mindset that is not affected by external circumstance but keeps its perspective and maintains a happy disposition in any trail. This takes time but it begins the moment you decide to be happy within yourself. 10. Spiritual practice – With so many religions and disciplines I will just say whatever your flavor and its methodology find the ones that activate your connection to the divine. Pray, mediate, worship, take a walk in nature, whatever it takes to be touched by divinity. 11. Assess your strengths, identify your predominant gifting’s and move in the direction of your passions. 12. Help others along the way – the very things you are learning will become the

wisdom you will share with others who just might be facing the very same things you have and you will be there with good sound advice to help them along the way. These are but a few of the simple things I have learned along the way that have kept me in the game. Some of the greatest truths that I have uncovered about myself came out of great moments of pain where I had to decide to either become better or bitter. We all have a choice when it comes to the state of mind that we choose for ourselves, so choose wisely as it will determine the experiences that are coming your way. You are far from done my friend, it is time to be rested, renewed, refreshed and ready to engage life on your terms making sure that you live true to yourself, enjoying the authenticity that will afford you a life filled with significance and increasing the quality of life that you experience. There is so much within you, that hasn’t even manifested yet! Be brave, be strong and never allow the opinions of others to control your present or your future. Remember your historical past does not have to dictate your future. Harness the power of your past, extracting the wisdom and knowledge from every experience and use them to the positive. So it is I say to every one of us: Never Ever Give Up on yourself! You are the possessor of great gifting’s unique to your journey and the people that you will touch and be touched by; enjoy the journey and understand that the only thing that can stop you is yourself. Never give up! Believing in you George Aja


H T I /W

1 1/2 teaspoons blackened seasoning 4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 diced peeled avocado 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 1 lime) 1 lime, cut into fourths


Directions 1.Sprinkle seasoning on both sides of chicken. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add chicken; cook 1 minute or until seared. Reduce heat to medium; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. 2.Combine avocado and next four ingredients. Squeeze lime over chicken before serving. Top with avocado mixture. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 1/4 cup avocado mixture).

JALAPENO POPPER 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (softened) 1 cup Monterey jack cheese (shredded) 1 (4 ounce) can jalapeno peppers (diced) 1 teaspoon fresh garlic (minced) 3 green onions (diced) 1 tablespoon bacon bits (or more, to taste) ground black pepper (to taste) 1 (16 ounce) package wonton wrappers 1 egg 1 quart vegetable oil (for frying)

Step 1: In a medium bowl mix together cream cheese, Monterey jack cheese, jalapeno peppers, garlic, green onions, and bacon bits. Season with a little black pepper. Beat an egg in a small bowl. Step 2: Place about 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture into the center of a wonton wrapper. Fold over the left and right corners to the middle. Using a brush or the bottom of a spoon, brush the beaten egg on the edges of the wonton wrappers. Finish rolling up tightly and secure to make sure there are no leaks. Repeat until all of the wonton wrappers are used or the cream cheese mixture is gone. Step 3: In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat (these can also be cooked in the deep-fryer at 375 degrees). Drop 3-4 of the rolled wontons into the oil at a time, and quickly fry, turning once until they are golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all of the jalapeno popper rolls are fried. (Makes 15 Servings)

BANANA PUDDING CAKE 1 box yellow cake mix eggs, oil and water called for in cake mix directions 2 (3.4-oz. each) packages instant banana pudding 4 c milk 1 (8-oz.) carton cool whip, thawed 20 vanilla wafers, crushed Make cake according to package directions for a 9 x 13 pan. Cool 5 minutes. Beat pudding and milk until smooth. Let sit (to slightly thicken) for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, poke holes in cake a half an inch apart using wooden spoon handle. Pour pudding over cake and spread evenly. Chill. When ready to serve, spread cool whip over pudding layer. Sprinkle crushed vanilla wafers* on cool whip and cut into squares. Store in refrigerator. TIP: *Only sprinkle the vanilla wafer crumbs on cake pieces being served immediately; otherwise, vanilla wafers will soften.

2 cups strawberries, sliced 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon olive oil 4 (6 ounce) beef tenderloin filets salt and pepper to taste 1 tablespoon chilled butter freshly ground black pepper to taste

Strawberry Balsamic Filet of Beef

Mix together the strawberries, brown sugar, and balsamic vinegar in a bowl, and allow to sit for 1 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in an oven-safe, heavy steel or cast-iron skillet over high heat. Sprinkle the filets with salt and pepper on both sides, gently place in the hot skillet, and sear each side until well-browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Slide the skillet into the preheated oven, and cook until they start to become firm and are reddish-pink and juicy in the center, about 10 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 130 degrees. Transfer the steaks to a platter, and tent with foil to rest. Pour steak juices from the skillet into a small saucepan. Strain the strawberries and discard the liquid. Add the strawberries to the steak juices, bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-low heat, and melt the butter into the sauce, tilting the pan several times to gently incorporate the butter into the sauce. Serve each fillet topped with about 1/2 cup of strawberries and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.

Crust 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs 3 tablespoons butter, melted ...

down the sides of bowl as needed.

Filling 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons cornstarch 5 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese 2 large eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Pour into prepared pan.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat bottom and sides of 8-inch spring-form pan with nonstick spray; set aside. Crust: Mix graham cracker crumbs and butter together; press firmly over bottom of pan.

On low speed, add cream; beat just to blend.

Bake 55 to 60 minutes until cake has risen, edges are very lightly browned and center still jiggles when pan is moved. Cool in pan on a wire rack about 1 1/2 hours (cake will set completely). Run knife around edge of pan; cover loosely and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Top with your favorite topping or canned pie filling.

Filling: Mix sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add cream cheese and beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth.

Simple Cheesecake

Beat in eggs and vanilla just until mixed, scraping

Miro This spring or summer we’re in for a treat as Miraslova Comstock’s book, “Miroslava” will be out in print! I had a chance to connect with Mrs. Badass herself (wife of Dale Comstock from the cover of the December 2013 issue of Tru.Mag) and ask her some questions about her upcoming book! Miroslava Comstock was born in the jungles of Panama on August 23, 1975. She is a wife, a mother, a grandmother, certified personal trainer, figure/fitness competitor with B.A. and M.S. in Human Resources Management through the University of Maryland. She was born and raised in a jungle by the Chagres River. She hunted for food with a bow and arrow, speared fish underwater in the recesses of the banks of the river,

oslava Sneak Peak by: Gena Rinckey

and collected fruit and plants from the jungle to help feed her family of 12 brothers and sisters. The family lived in a Penca; a hut with only thatched roof made of palm leaves and elevated floor with no walls, where they huddled at night side by side to stay warm. They would awaken in the morning with bloody legs and feet from where they were bitten by vampire bats as we slept. Those, believe it or not, were the heavenly days. Living in the city of Panama was harder and every bit as dangerous. Miroslava lived in the era of Manuel Noriega’s reign and when she was 14 years old she moved into the city to live with her sister so she could work and buy books for school. She ended up sharing a one-room apartment with her sister and others and squeaking out a living sweeping hair in a salon. She earned just enough pay to feed herself. Miroslava has chosen to write her book to show that there are a lot of life lessons that other women and girls can learn from her. She is also a social caseworker who advocates for children in low-income families, often with single mothers. She sees and hears the plight of women and wonders why can’t they do better for themselves and how did they end up in their situation? Often these women are the victims of their apathy, lack of confidence, and they spend a lot of time looking for a man to cling to. Very often these women are victims of childhood incest, rape, drug abuse, abusive relationships, or their own mal-adaptive and destructive behavior. These past experiences become a crutch, an excuse, to justify their station in life. What they lack is the “warrior” mind-set. My husband always tells me, “Never look at a bad situation as a problem to solve. Look at a bad situation as challenge to be met and overcome on your journey to greatness!” Finally, I asked Miroslava where she sees herself in 10 years. She responded with, “I intend to be in better shape than I am now. I will be a Hollywood success story, and if all goes as planned I will have my Ph.D. My husband and I fully intend to be the next “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” of Hollywood, except we will be substantive. We will be the real deal, so move over Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt … you’re dismissed!

Photographers Chasen Grieshop - Ft. Walton Beach Fl Ace Wheelie - Pensacola Fl Tim Skipper - Dothan Alabama Janice Freeland - Ft. lauderdale Fl.

Ace Wheelie - Pensacola Fl







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Self- Love

Haley Smilow Tru. Teen Jr. Sports Reporter Age 11

By: Ka’myia Gunn

Tru. Teen Columnist Ka’myia Gunn is a junior in high school who participates in several extracurricular activities such as; Model UN, choir, and the dance team


ebruary is the month for love for many reasons, one being Valentine’s Day. Around that time, you begin to distinguish two types of girls, those with Valentines and those without. Girls with Valentines receive flowers from their beaus, teddy bears with “Be Mine” written on the stomach, and chocolates galore. Seeing this constantly, those without begin to wonder why they don’t have Valentines. What does she have that I don’t? Why can’t I have a boyfriend? Well, the answer is simply that you don’t need one. Even though, the holiday symbolizes being with that special someone, there is this thing called self-love. Self-love means loving yourself unconditionally. Most importantly, it means valuing yourself enough that you don’t need someone else to make you happy. So remember, if you love yourself, others will love you too. Also, don’t forget, Valentine’s Day involves the people who love you. Friends and family count as well. Furthermore, listed below are a few ideas as to how to have fun with your girlfriends. • Have a Girls’ Night Out: grab your best friends and hit up a public place (the mall or the movies). • Have a Girls’ Night In: invite your closest friends for a sleepover. Make sure to include the three P’s: pizza, pillow fights, and Pretty Little Liars. • Have a DIY party: one trend that will never go out of style is bleaching your jeans. Grab a pair of darker jeans, cut it to your desired length, and add bleach via spray bottle or directly pour. Wash jeans, add a cute top, and you’re ready to go! • Bake & Shake: invite your friends over to bake some treats; you can never go wrong with fudge brownies or chocolate chip cookies. While baking, turn up the volume on your radio and dance.


s my dad and I head down to Florida at the end of March for Spring Training I am reminded how much baseball can change in one year. Last March I interviewed Adron Chamber when he played for the St. Louis Cardinals, he got called up during the post season for the series against the Dodgers. During the off season things changed for Adron who is now a member of the Houston Astro’s, but of course my question were never really about baseball but more about Adron as a person and I found out a lot of cool things about the 27-year-old Pensacola, Florida native. HALEY: Do you have a favorite ballpark and why? And is there a ballpark where you feel you always play well in? ADRON: One of my favorite ballparks is Wrigley Field because of all the history and nostalgia and I think I play best at home in St Louis. HALEY: Can you share with us your first memory as playing in the majors?



ADRON: When I got called up in 2011. It was an amazing experience just being in the locker room with all my teammates, coaches and they have TV’s in the locker room. Then my first opportunity to play was being a pinch runner and I was happy to be on the field. HALEY: What part of your game do you feel like you need to improve upon? ADRON: I feel that I could work on all aspects of my game. There is always room for improvement. HALEY: What brand of gear do you use? ADRON: Louisville Slugger bat, Rawlings fielding glove, Franklin batting gloves and Nike cleats. HALEY: What teammate do you feel has helped your game? ADRON: Lance Berkman, he has a lot of baseball knowledge and lots of great stories. HALEY: Have you ever been the victim of a practical joke? ADRON: Yes, but it wasn’t really a practical joke but as a rookie they made me put on a pretty red dress and we all had to take pictures. HALEY: What did you want to be when you were a kid? ADRON: I wanted to be a professional football player. Football is my passion but I love baseball as well. HALEY: If you were a super hero who would it be? ADRON: Batman because he is a cool guy. HALEY: Do you have any pets, and what is your favorite animal? ADRON: I like dogs, cats, and I love most animals. I think my favorite animal is a pitbull, they are misunderstood dogs and really wonderful pets. HALEY: What is your favorite thing to cook? ADRON: Spaghetti, but I like to cook a lot. I can throw down some chicken and pork chops too. HALEY: Who has better BBQ Kansas City or St. Louis? ADRON: St. Louis of course, and I would say my friends joint Smoki O’s is the spot. I make the best BBQ in St. Louis. HALEY: During away games what do you generally do before the game? ADRON: We stay in 5 star hotels so it is just great to relax in these nice hotels. When I am in New York it is fun to travel around the city and do a little site seeing.

HALEY: Do you have any other favorite sports besides Baseball? ADRON: Football, Basketball and Soccer, I like to watch all of them. HALEY: If you were not playing baseball, what else could you see yourself doing? ADRON: My mom says I should have been a lawyer. Maybe I will try that after my baseball career is over. I love working with kids. We built a sporting facility in Pensacola Fl. where we educate kids about youth sports and help them develop their skills. HALEY: What was your favorite school subject? ADRON: Math HALEY: Favorite Ballpark food? ADRON: Philly Cheesesteaks HALEY: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? ADRON: Butter Pecan HALEY: Do you have a favorite book? ADRON: Anything written by Gary Sheffield HALEY: Best Baseball Movie? ADRON: Major League or Sandlot HALEY: 5 songs in your IPOD you have on repeat? ADRON: Dwayne Woods “Stop Worrying”, Kirk Franklin “Storm Is Over” and songs from Kem, Brian McKnight and Jill Scott HALEY: What city needs a Major League Baseball team? ADRON: Pensacola FL, We would have the Pelicans, the fans would show up and we would turn it out. HALEY: What advice would you give to young players? ADRON: NEVER QUIT, seems simple but it is the best way

He began his professional career in 2007, playing for the Johnson City Cardinals, hitting .279 in 36 games. In 2008, he played for the Quad Cities River Bandits, hitting .238 with 13 stolen bases in 95 games. He played for the Palm Beach Cardinals in 2009, hitting .283 with 21 stolen bases and 16 triples in 122 games. He split 2010 between the Springfield Cardinals (75 games) and Memphis Redbirds (37 games), hitting a combined .283 with 14 stolen bases in 112 games.[1]

Chambers during 2011 World Series parade. On September 6, 2011, Chambers was called up to play for the St. Louis Cardinals. On September 16, 2011, during his second major league at-bat, Chambers earned his first Major League hit which brought in the go ahead runs for the Cardinals to beat the Phillies. Chambers, who had been brought in as a defensive sub for Lance Berkman attempted an inside the park home run, but was tagged out at the plate. Nonetheless, he was credited with a triple off of Michael Schwimer who had walked Albert Pujols in order to get to Chambers.[2] On October 28, 2011 Adron Chambers was added to the St. Louis Cardinals World Series roster as an emergency replacement for the injured Matt Holliday before game 7 of the 2011 World Series against the Texas Rangers. [1]

Killer Whales in K iller whales are powerful, majestic, and intelligent creatures that roam the open ocean. Unfortunately some of these amazing creatures have been taken from their natural habitat and locked up in an aquarium to perform tricks. The morality of doing such has been brought into question in the last few years. I believe that because of the killer whales intelligence, and the incidents that have already occurred, killer whales should not be kept in captivity.

Killer Whales (Orcas) are actually a species of dolphin that roam the sea in pack like groups called pods that can grow as large as one hundred members. They work together to capture their prey using echolocation to communicate with one another (NOAA Fisheries, 8). They form strong family bonds within the pods for example the adults teaching children how to hunt and participate in rare social activities such as playing. They are the largest species of dolphins measuring around 32 feet for males and 28 feet for females (NOAA Fisheries, 1).They hunt fish and marine mammals, depending on where they live. Studies have shown that these animals are extremely intelligent and are capable of complex brain activity such as planning and emotion. In addition significant discrepancies between pod behaviors such as feeding and socializing have been observed leading some to believe that these groups may be different enough to warrant the creation of multiple subspecies. These characteristics are reminiscent of higher level thinking beings such as humans. A killer whale’s high intelligence and ability to feel complex emotions such as sadness and anger are key points in the debate on the morality of keeping these creatures. Many argue that because these creatures are capable of such intelligence that keeping them in captivity is like locking a child in a zoo. Many problems can arise when dealing with such intelligent animals when they interact with humans. Miscommunication between trainers and the whales can cause many problems. Social interactions between the whales themselves can prove disastrous if not handled properly. In one case a whale named Corky II was being bullied and harassed by another whale in the tank named Kandu V. Both Corky II and Kandu V along with Kandu V’s calf were in an enclosed tank together despite recent showings of aggression from Kandu V to Corky II. Corky II was interested in Kandu V’s calf angering Kandu V and causing her to ram Corky II in the head. Corky II bled out for 45 minutes before dying in front of helpless trainers and visitors (SeaWorld Refutes, 18). Many supporters of releasing the whales from captivity claim that SeaWorld’s inability to prevent bullying between the whales highlights the company’s ineffectual methods and lack of understanding of their captives. SeaWorld, the company responsible for

n Captivity the whale’s care denied this accusation. SeaWorld claimed that because they are animals killer whales are incapable of “bullying” and were simply expressing dominance (Blackfish, SeaWorld Assertion 3). The makers of the movie Blackfish responded that while acts of dominance do occur in killer whale pods the wounds suffered from such confrontations aren’t nearly as severe as those that occur in SeaWorld. Furthermore in the wild when such confrontations occur the Orca that is being bullied is able to simply swim away showing submission from the aggressor (Blackfish, Film Response 3). This is just one of the many examples of how captivity negatively impacts social and intelligent animals like killer whales. The ability to feel emotion is a rare trait found only in intelligent organisms such as humans. Orcas, just like people are capable of feeling emotions such as anxiety and resentment. Because many underestimate the complexity of these creatures they may inadvertently hurt them emotionally. Unlike in the wild, within SeaWorld it is not uncommon for a mother orca to reject her calf. The whales are often moved around and

added to other pods. This can cause high levels of anxiety akin to suddenly moving a child to a different state. The effects on the whale’s mental state could be one of the causes of their hostility towards each other and the trainers. Incidents at SeaWorld between whales and even trainers are not as rare as you might think. There have also been multiple occasions were trainers lives were injured or put in serious danger. One whale in particular, named Tillikum has killed three people alone. Despite SeaWorld’s safety regulations it’s simply a fact that in the water the trainers are at the whale’s mercy. Because of this many question whether we should have these powerful predators of the sea in captivity, or if it is simply too dangerous. Tillikum is a prime example of what can happen when humans lose control of a wild animal. This whale has killed three people, two of which were trainers. The first incident involved a now closed aquarium park called Sealand of the Pacific. Sealand was one of the first in the aquarium business to put whales in shows. Though unlike SeaWorld, the trainers were generally not in the water with the Orcas.

By: Christian Moses Christian is an 18 year old college student studying veterinary science in southern California.

However, death still occurred. On February 20th 1991 Tillikum and two female whales attacked and drowned a trainer named Keltie Bryne who had accidently slipped into the pool (Vivian). Like most incidents the trainers nearby were helpless, unable to do much about it. Though the motive for the killer whales to drown Keltie is uncertain many experts believe it was a mix of lack of stimulus to keep the whales occupied and pent up aggression. After the incident Tillikum was sold to SeaWorld where he would go on to kill two more people. One of those individuals was another trainer by the name of Dawn Brancheau. Considered in expert in her field by many Dawn Brancheau was practicing tricks with Tillikum for next show when he dragged her into the pool. Bystanders witnessed Tillikum repeatedly push Dawn back under as she tried to surface for air. Eventually she drowned and Tillikum refused to follow trainer’s instructions to go to the medical pen or release her body. SeaWorld claimed that Dawn’s death was her own fault for putting herself within reach of Tillikum. But as trainers how can they not be in danger when a close proximity is required to work with these creatures. Many would argue that a whale like Tillikum who has proven to be willing to kill even should not be at a place to like SeaWorld in the first place. I believe that a broader approach must be taken because any whale, not just Tillikum is capable of killing. Writer for the New York Times James Gorbon shares this opinion: Beyond the death of Ms. Brancheau and the arguments over how SeaWorld manages its many facilities lies a fundamental disagreement about whether killer whales and other cetaceans -- the group of marine mammals that includes whales, dolphins and porpoises -- should be held captive at all. Because we understand so little about these creatures we cannot correctly differentiate between the “killers” in the killer whale population.]The fact of the matter is that the risk is simply too great. Any of these whales are capable of killing a human easily if given the chance. In a way you can’t even blame them imagine being taken away from your home and forced to work and perform for food. Though there is an abundance of reasons to free these whales SeaWorld does

supply some rationale that supports keeping the whales in captivity. SeaWorld claims that ultimately their goal is to bring awareness and aid marine wildlife. They accomplish this by rescuing animals and sometimes showing them in exhibits. In addition SeaWorld supports marine conservation groups by donating part of their killer whale show proceeds and creating charities such as the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. However, by far their biggest contribution to the marine community is the interest in ocean wildlife generated by their aquarium and the killer whale shows. SeaWorld has served as a rehabilitation center for marine mammals for years. Since starting their rescue program SeaWorld

has saved over 23,000 animals (SeaWorld responds to questions about captive orcas, 4). Though SeaWorld’s most vital service goes towards the marine mammals that are “beached” such as whales and dolphins. Many marine conservation groups are unable to afford to maintain rehabilitation projects for very large and demanding animals like whales. Because of the aquariums size and the amount of money it makes, SeaWorld is able to take care of such large creatures as whales. By doing so SeaWorld is able to support a valuable part of the marine community. SeaWorld donates some of their proceeds to preservation efforts preformed by wildlife conservation efforts around the world. Through the SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation program SeaWorld

on the marine community, I still believe that releasing the killer whales is the right thing to do. Many marine biologists argue that we have learned all that we can from captive killer whales; who because of their complexity, behave very different from wild ones. SeaWorld can still support the community while not committing immoral and dangerous acts by becoming a haven for whales that may have been injured, abandoned, or beached. They can still put these amazing animals on display, but only temporarily, as they try to help the injured whales recover and eventually reintroduce them into the wild. As for the current killer whales shows should be changed to rehabilitation programs that teach the whales the techniques required to survive in the wild. Finding innovative ways to replace the money lost from

so far has donated 10 million dollars to wildlife projects such as studying arctic penguin’s migration movements (From Antarctica to Florida, 1). These donations are a big part of keeping these vital programs running. SeaWorld plays a major role in informing the public about marine life and aquatic ecosystems. Many marine biologist credit SeaWorld and its exhibits for their initial interest in studying the ocean. In addition SeaWorld has provided researches convenient live specimens for studying whale physiology, something that is very difficult to do in the wild. Much of what we know about killer whales in fact is owed to SeaWorld for their continued support of scientific research. Despite the large beneficial impact that SeaWorld has had

Work Cited “Killer Whale (Orcinus Orca).” Killer Whale (Orcinus Orca) - Office of ProtectedResources - NOAA Fisheries. NOAA Fisheries, n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2013. Cowperthwaithe, Gabriela. “Blackfish - Seaworld Bites Back.” Blackfish Official Film Site. Dogwoof, 15 July 2013. Web. 27 Nov. 2013. Kirby, David. “SeaWorld Refutes New Film That Exposes the Cruel Treatment of Captive Whales.” TakePart. Participant Media, 13 July 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. Zimmermann, Tim. “The Killer in the Pool.” Outside Online. N.p., 30 July 2010. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. Wikipedia contributors. “Tilikum (orca).” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 29 Nov. 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. Kuo, Vivian. “Orca Trainer Saw Best of Keiko, Worst of Tilikum.” CNN. Cable News Network, 28 Oct. 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2013. “Blackfish” Dir. Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Magnolia Pictures, CNN films, 2013. Documentary. Gorman, James. “Smart, Social, and Captive.” New York Times 30 July 2013: D1(L). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 23 Nov. 2013. Kirby, David. Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity. New York: St. Martin’s, 2012. Print. Spear, Kevin. “THE NATION; Orcas have Big Brains to Go with their Brawn; Interest in Killer Whales has Surged since One Killed a Florida Trainer. Researchers are Amazed by their Intellect and Communication Skills.” Los Angeles TimesMar 17 2010. ProQuest. Web. 25 Nov. 2013 . Sessoms, Hallie. “A Life with Whales.” American Scientist 101.3 (2013): 228+.Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 25 Nov. 2013. “Killer Whales” Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2013.Web.25 Nov.2013 “SeaWorld Responds to Questions about Captive Orcas, ‘Blackfish’ Film.” CNN. Cable News Network, 28 Oct. 2013. Web. 05 Dec. 2013. “FROM ANTARCTICA TO FLORIDA, 93 WILDLIFE PROJECTS RECEIVE MORE THAN $1.2 MILLION FROM THE SEAWORLD & BUSCH GARDENS CONSERVATION FUND.” SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Sept. 2013. Web. 06 Dec. 2013.


These mammals are not docile simple minded creatures content to swim around their fishbowl for the rest of there lives. Killer whales are intelligent beautiful creatures that deserve to roam the seas free from human interference. They form strong family bonds that are ripped apart when companies like SeaWorld arbitrarily move whales around for their own financial benefit. Captivity is what turns a gentle giant, who has yet to kill a human in the wild into a viscous killer. Keeping intelligent creatures such as the killer whale locked up in a tank is wrong. As long as this practice continues more people will continue to be harmed by this distraught behemoth of the sea. The right thing to do is to stop forcing killer whales to perform in shows and use the funds to retrain them to survive in the wild where they belong.

How Do YOU Feel?

not performing the whale shows should be the new goal of the company. The fact of the matter is that for all the good SeaWorld does for the community it is null and void in comparison to the emotional suffering they inflict on the captive killer whales and the danger they put trainers in.

By: Zeina Adel

“18 here and there” Zeina is a young writer who resides in Egypt. She is frustrated by the lack of freedoms she feels that young people her age should have in her country. This month Zeina vented about it, here’s part of her story; I am 18 in Egypt, either here or in any other Arabian country in the world, what are my legal rights? The answer is none. Teenagers suffer a lot here in Arabian countries; we cannot leave the house until we get married. Is this even humane? We can have our driver’s license and that is one good thing but we cannot attend a university or a college unless it is with our parent’s acceptance. We still take pocket money from our parents. This might seem to be a benefit to us but it is wrong. We need to rely on ourselves, face the outside world. We need to be mature and responsible for ourselves. We are living in a prison with the parents as prison guards and you cannot escape except by getting married. What if I don’t want to get married? What if I want to travel or leave my parents? Will I be considered a fugitive and be forced to return home again? I believe that we have the right to leave our house, drink, travel, not attend a specific university or do whatever we want with our lives because these are our lives. Unfortunately, even if it became legal to do these things still the society has forbidden this, especially for girls; because this is what the Arabs call “our culture”. There seems to be no way out of this mess unless you have open minded parents who will let you leave and rely on your own and they seem to be only a few of them.

My son is a 15 (almost 16 yr. old) teenager who feels that young adults his age are caught in the middle between too old and not old enough. So, in the interest of being fair, here is a mothers perspective: All of my sons life I have tried my very best to protect and nurture him. To give him guidance and support. Once we got past his terrible two’s it all went well until puberty crept in. Suddenly I was stifling and babying him (in his opinion) by not letting him go to late night parties with his friends that were unchaperoned and in unsavory areas of the town we live in. All of the sudden “I” became the “enemy” in my son’s life. The one who ruined all of his intended fun, made homework his most dreaded job and I became the “single-handed” bearer of all news revolving around “work” and no play. Forget the fact that I consider myself to be preparing him for the world that he will soon face. Nevermind that I have protected him with my good judgement and maternal instincts for nearly 16 years and that I want to see him safely through the last few and beyond. We parents often times get a bum wrap for caring too much to the point of suffocating our kids (according to their standards), and it’s hard to know where the line is to be drawn. When is too much too much and too little- too little? All I know is that I have dedicated my entire life to raising my children, keeping them safe, ensuring that they enjoy life and that they are prepared for a future of possibilities. I may not have always gotten it right, but no one can say I haven’t tried. “Hey kids, give us parents a break. We may not get it right every time, but it sure isn’t for a lack of trying”.

“Dam*ed if I do, dam*ed if I don’t” By: A frustrated parent

Minneapolis’s Own Barkhad Abdi S

By:John Speaks

omali-born actor, Barkhad Abdi, had been directing hip-hop videos before responding to a casting call, though his relative inexperience did feed into his portrayal of a desperate pirate in Captain Phillips. Until recently, Barkhad Abdi was doing shifts at his brother’s Minnesota mobile-phone shop. Now the 28-year-old has acting plaudits coming out of his ears thanks to his turn as khat-chomping rookie pirate Muse in Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass’s retelling of the real-life 2009 hijack of the Maersk Alabama off the Somali coast. When we meet, he’s just snatched the London Critics’ Circle supporting actor gong from the jaws of Jared Leto and Michael Fassbender and, two weeks later, he scoops the same award at the Baftas. But it’s his Oscars nod that’s proving most difficult to digest. “It’s surreal, I would say,” muses Abdi, sitting in his room at the hotel that hosted Sunday’s ceremony. “That was the one show that I used to watch.” If he’s victorious at the Hollywood back-slap this weekend, it will be a historic win; for what makes his rapid rise all the the more remarkable is that Captain Phillips is Abdi’s acting debut. “There was an open casting call on TV and I went,” says Abdi. He’s managing to look only vaguely weary despite recounting the inauspicious beginnings to his success story for what must be the millionth time. “They asked me easy questions--’What’s your name? ‘Where were you born?’--and they assigned me to a character and gave me a script.” After the open audition, targeted at Minneapolis’s sizeable Somali community, Abdi’s quietly authoritative presence won him the role of Muse, the pirate ringleader who wrangles with Tom Hanks’s Phillips for control over the hefty American cargo ship. Three of his friends were cast as his cronies. “We auditioned together, we went home and practiced. We loved acting and we really wanted to get this.” Much has been made of Somali-born Abdi’s previous life as a limousine driver in Minneapolis, where his family settled when he was a teenager; his story touted as that of the most unlikely zero-to-hero American dreamer. But Abdi wasn’t a complete newcomer to the film-making process, previously jobbing as a director on Somali hip-hop videos. “I was working on my own film, too, but it never worked out,” he said in previous statements. “When you work with a great director you realize you are far from being a director.” As a child, Abdi lived in Somalia amid the beginnings of civil unrest. But the forked path in his childhood, which could have resulted in a life not unlike his character’s, apparently had no bearing on his preparation for the role. He bristles when he was asked if he was expected to bring any of his experiences of Somalian life to his character. “No, we never talked about that,” he said quickly. “It was just all about the script.” Which must make the treatment of him by some media as a spokesman for the Somali community especially odd, and a little daunting. “It is weird. A lot of people try to ask me political questions. I’m not a politician. There’s not much I know about the exact politics of Somalia today.” He hasn’t been back to the country yet. Instead, he says his experiences of Somalia are just like everyone else’s. “It’s what I see on the internet, what I hear word of mouth. People don’t have schools, they don’t have jobs, there’s no system; it’s crazy to look at it and to imagine how you live in it. I feel truly blessed to survive that, get an education, and to understand what life really is about.”

Clearly, Abdi’s future now looks dazzlingly bright, so much so that it’s hard to envision what might come next. He’s looking at scripts, but has gone on the offensive when asked if he’s worried about being typecast: “That [Muse] is not me. If that was exactly who I am then that would be scary.” In the year’s limbo-like hiatus between the film’s wrap and its release, he went back to work in his brother’s shop. He’s stated that, “I remember when the film came out, a lot of people came to the store. To see him [Muse]. So he couldn’t work there any more.” If that door has been closed, many in Hollywood are suddenly ajar, but for now Abdi remains remarkably level-headed about his newfound success.

Tru Issue 20  
Tru Issue 20