Archive for the ‘Culture and Media’ Category

Checkout the non-profit that inspired this video: ‪http://ow.ly/bMEHE

Amanda Todd was only one month away from her sixteenth birthday when she took her own life. Bullied to the point where she believed her life no longer had meaning, she succumbed to the insurmountable pain that her life had become and released her grasp on the world that had caused her so much torment.
How did this beautiful, bright and talented young woman cease to believe her life had value?

It all started with a simple mistake made by a naive teenager who just wanted to be loved. Amanda lived in the suburban town of Port Coquitlam, just outside the city of Vancouver, Canada, but her ordeal had begun almost four years earlier and miles away.

At twelve years old, Amanda Todd was a normal outgoing teenager who enjoyed spending time with her friends. During a video chat with several of them, an anonymous user asked Amanda to flash in front of the webcam and, in a moment of teen naivety, she revealed her breasts. She had assumed the person who had made the request was another teen, but as time progressed Amanda realized she was dealing with a much darker force. The anonymous user tried to blackmail her and asked her to put on a “show” for him, and if she refused, he would send the video of her breasts to everyone she knew. Soon the police were knocking on Amanda‘s door with the news that the video of her exposing herself had been distributed over the Internet.

The anonymous user soon turned into a stalker and relentlessly hounded Amanda online, sending the video to all of her Facebook friends. She began to experience depression, anxiety and panic disorder, and turned to drugs and alcohol to escape the mounting pain in her daily life.

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Music video by Beyoncé performing I Was Here.

“How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

Essence magazine provides a behind-the-scenes look at a recent fashion shoot with West Des Moines-trained gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas. Check it out!

The 16-year-old Olympic gymnast will also appear on “Oprah’s Next Chapter” this weekend. Click here for a sneak peek.

Hip-hop artist Lecrae is the newest individual to share his story on Iamsecond.com, a website featuring video testimonies of personal struggle, transformation and hope of celebrities and everyday people.

“Hip-hop is more than music, it’s actually culture,” said Lecrae. “It’s the lens through which you see the world.”

As a child, Lecrae’s world was void of good role models. Growing up with a single mom, Lecrae admits he would watch rap videos at his grandmother’s house and found people to fill the void. Despite his ability to rap, Lecrae wrestled with insignificance, having never met his father and experiencing abuse and neglect. He sought to fulfill this emptiness by surrounding himself with gangsters. Before long, Lecrae was embroiled in a world filled with drugs, theft, alcohol and gang activity.

“I didn’t fit in anywhere. I was just a misfit of a person,” he said.

His mother encouraged him to read the Bible, but instead he tore out the pages. Lecrae thought church was for older people and not for him, a perception he developed while attending a few times with his grandmother.

It wasn’t until a friend invited him to attend a conference out of town, that Lecrae realized his preconceived notions about faith may have been wrong.

“I saw guys who have been shot for being in gangs, girls who were extremely promiscuous in the past – rappers, dancers, singers – people who came from the same background I came from and they still embodied who they were culturally. But they were all in love with Jesus,” Lecrae said. “And I had never seen that before.”

Lecrae didn’t understand the God they were talking about but remembers asking God to get him out of the life he was living.

Not long after, Lecrae was driving and took a turn too fast when his car flipped over several times. The roof caved in, the windshield broke and the glasses he was wearing molded into the frame of the car, yet he didn’t have a scratch on him. It was that moment he decided it was time to live for Jesus.

“I saw a change. I spent a lot of time searching for father figures, and God has shown me that, ultimately, he’s my father that drives me to keep pressing,” Lecrae said.

Lecrae started volunteering at a juvenile detention center, singing songs he had written in his darkest moments when crying out to God.

“You’d just see them sitting there weeping. And time after time they keep requesting, ‘Can you do that song? I need something that’s going to remind me that I need Jesus,'” said Lecrae. “This is what I want to do – use music to offer hope and encouragement.”

Lecrae has released four albums with his newest, Rehab Deluxe, hitting stores Sept. 27.

I am Second is designed to help individuals discover hope. The iamsecond.com website includes authentic film testimonies of “everyday” people and celebrities related to a variety of personal struggles, including abuse, addictions, pride, eating disorders, broken families and the search for success and meaning in life. Celebrities featured include 2010 American League MVP and Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton; former Korn band member Brian “Head” Welch; surfer Bethany Hamilton; and football stars Bradie James, Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford.

Launched in Dallas-Fort Worth in December 2008, iamsecond.com quickly spread virally across the globe. To date, the website has seen more than 5 million visitors from 217 countries/regions who have viewed over 20 million pages on the site. The site has since officially launched in Orlando, Fla., Evansville, Ind., and Kansas City, Mo., with several other cities planned for the future.

The I am Second movement is now readying for the debut of its newest initiative – the I am Second book, slated to release from Thomas Nelson in January 2012.

For additional information about I am Second, visit http://www.iamsecond.com or for information related to the I am Second book, visit http://www.ThomasNelson.com.

A. Larry Ross

“Men, what will you do with this life” is the question that Reach Life ministries is using to challenge the lives of its audience, with the emergence of their Man Up Campaign.

The campaign is focused on addressing the issue of manhood in hip-hop culture because they feel “its evident that men don’t know what it means to be a man” said Christian rapper KB, a spokesperson for Reach Life ministries.

Reach Life ministries is a non profit of Reach Records, which houses co-founder and famed Christian rapper Lecrae. Gaining a platform because of the label’s success, the organization has purposed to “help bridge the gap between biblical truth and the urban context” and one of the ways they have set out to accomplish this is through their soon coming movie Man Up.

The film stars, new comer and main character Anthony Moone and presents six different areas of manhood that the creators feel young men often fail to live up to. The six depictions of manhood are aimed at making young men of the urban culture question their standards and beliefs of what authentic manhood means.

Click the video trailer below and read more here.

BREATHEcast.com is the largest and most extensive online source for Christian music in the nation. Opened to the public on October 30th, 2004, BREATHEcast.com houses the latest and greatest in all things Christian music including news, radio, videos, interviews and more from the best artists in every genre, including Contemporary, Rock, Worship, Gospel, Urban, and Southern Gospel.

From the Teen Choice Awards last night, PEOPLE scoop:

Unable to suppress a smile that lasted throughout Sunday’s 2011 Teen Choice Awards, Sean Kingston walked his first red carpet since his near-fatal jet ski accident in May.

After two separate brushes with death, the Jamaican-American rapper knows he’s lucky to be alive, but more important to him are the lessons he’s learned.

“Basically, I learned that in life anything can happen and you have to count your blessings and worship God, and believe in God,” Kingston, 21, tells PEOPLE. “And know that anything can happen, so you have to be cautious about what you do.”

Cautious yet optimistic, the singer, who received a standing ovation and a big onstage hug from pal Justin Bieber, insists that while his jet-skiing days may be over, he’s chomping at the bit to get back into the studio to take creative risks that don’t land you in an ICU.

“I’m feeling good, I’m feeling blessed, a hundred-percent,” he says. “I’m happy to back healthy, and I’m going back into the studio tomorrow.”