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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Literary Soldiers Wage War Against Illiteracy

There's a powerful movement taking place across the world, and the battle that is ensuing involves everyone. It is a fight against illiteracy. One of the Generals in the war is Mississippi native 34 year-old multi-media personality Cyrus A. Webb (seen below with bestselling author Darden North at a book discussion in Waldenbooks).

"With so much going on in the world it's easy to forget how many lives are being affected by not being able to read and write well," says Webb, but he is determined to use the various platforms he is given to not only keep the awareness on literacy but bring others together to do the same.

In May 2009, ABC News reported that about 30 million Americans have trouble reading and writing. "There is no way I can reach all the people that need help," Webb admits, "but I am taking advantage of every opportunity to not only mention the problem but network with individuals who care about being a part of the solution."

Since 1999, Webb (seen below with a classroom and associates at Pearl High School in Mississippi) has been working in classrooms promoting visual and literary art and made his services available to non-profit organizations and others who wish to shine an all-important light on the subject and importance of reading. "Mississippi has had one of the highest rates for illiteracy, teenage pregnancy, obesity and high school drop-outs for a number of years," says Webb. "This is something that has to be addressed on a daily bases. Those who have been given a voice have to use it in order to make a difference and impact the lives of as many as they can."

Through his radio and television show, bi-monthly Conversations Magazine, the numerous chapters of the Conversations Book Club, his blog as well as articles and commentaries, he is introducing the world to authors of various genres and interests as well as discussing ways that those who are readers and non-readers can come together and join what Webb refers to as an "addiction to books."

He realizes that there is no one way to address the problem. "We all like different things," Webb says, "so it is our job as literary soldiers to find ways in order to reach those who are in need of help." Publications such as Crunk Magazine, Hype Magazine, S.T.I.L.L. Magazine and Nu South Magazines have also enlisted into the service to promote the importance of reading.


In order to tie all of his literary components together, Webb (seen above during a book discussion of Platinum-selling recording artist Corey "C-Murder" Miller's bestselling novel DEATH AROUND THE CORNER at Barnes & Noble) created the "Do The Write Thang" Campaign (see http://www.dothewritethang.com) Thus far Webb has joined with allies in over 30 states, including bestselling and up-and-coming authors, celebrities in tv and radio as well as recognizable names and faces in sports(including Tray Cheney of HBO's The Wire, Derrick Hargrove of MTV 50 CENT: The Money & The Power, Korto Momolu of Bravo's Project Runway, numerous cast members from VH1's I WANT TO WORK FOR DIDDY, Recording artists Nappy Roots and more). They are hosting and supporting what are called "Reading Parties" that provide networking for book lovers but also discussions as to how we can work together in order to help others. Webb is also hosting a series of town-hall style meetings in-person and through his radio show addressing issues that everyone are dealing with, offering solutions along the way.

One of the most popular tools that Webb is utilizing is a touring event called "Art, Books & Beats" (http://www.artbooksandbeats.com) During these events those involved in the various forms of the arts can come together with musicians and authors/booksellers to create an atmosphere that will attract a variety of groups that may not otherwise come together. Admission is free to these events. HunidRacks Energy Drink based out of California is the official energy drink of the literary campaign.

In order to cover travel, lodging and venue costs during this literary warfare, Webb is donating 50% of his artwork sales, 100% of his Hip Hop & Books compilation cd sales as well as 100% of his organization's newest Word Search book (available beginning Friday, August 7, 2009) to help take ocaer of the expenses. A website has also been setup using Give Forward in Chicago, IL (www.giveforward.org/thewritestuff).

For more information about the war Cyrus A. Webb and his associates are waging against illiteracy, contact Webb at cawebb4@juno.com or 601.896.5616. Also visit http://www.dothewritethang.com.

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