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Who says you have to be a nationally recognized individual to make a difference? Mississippi recording artist Carlos Sims (aka Jokah the General) uses what he has to promote national reading campaign.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MS Hiphop artist uses car dealership to support literacy
Contact: Carlos “Jokah the General” Sims, recording artist/owner
Next of Kindredz Automotives
Cyrus A. Webb, President/Founder,
Conversations Book Club & Hiphop and Books Literacy campaign
When Cyrus A. Webb,33, began Conversations Book Club in November 2006, it was with three members meeting once a week at the Medgar Evers Library in Jackson, MS. The meetings were open to everyone free of charge and those in attendance were able to either talk with authors each week on the phone or in person. Webb hoped that the interaction with the author would encourage those in attendance to want to read the book and then share what they had read with others.
Now in August 2008 Conversations Book Club is one of the most celebrated book club in the country, with seven chapters in Mississippi, one in Louisiana, another in Tennessee and meetings being held in Atlanta, Chicago, Little Rock and Baltimore. Not only did the word spread about that Webb was doing to encourage reading, but authors from all over the country joined with him—adding not only credibility but results to his literacy campaign.
There have been some challenges to the work that Webb had done, yet few would know it by looking at the results. One of the biggest hurdles has been that he has done all of this building without his own vehicle. “I never gave much thought to it really,” says Webb, “because things always seemed to work out. I would pay individuals to take us where we needed to go or I would be in a position to rent a vehicle to get from point A to point B. There have been times, though, that events would have to be rescheduled because I had no transportation.”
Beginning in September 2008, however, this will no longer be an issue. Next of Kindredz Automotives, a new car dealership in Jackson (MS), has agreed to donate a vehicle to help support the work that Webb is doing. Carlos “Jokah the General” Sims has known Webb for over four years, and currently is being managed by him. Sims is also part of the Hiphop and Books coalition that Webb formed to encourage reading among music lovers. His group's song "Welcome 2 Da Jack" is featured online at http://www.hiphopandbooks.com as well as on the compilation cd produced by the organization. When he saw that there was a way he could help outside the music, he jumped at the opportunity.
“Cyrus does so much out of his own pocket to help others when it comes to reading and promoting the arts that I was glad to give something to him,” say Sims, 30. “Next of Kindredz is to help the people, and helping begins with family. He is like family to me, and I know this will help to keep his mission going.”
To date, Conversations Book Club has hosted more authors than any other book club in the country, over 50 to date! The group was recognized in February 2008 during a ceremony in New Jersey for its commitment to literacy, and Webb has been featured on BET and endorsed by recording artists such as C-Murder, Jon Boy (VH1’s The White Rapper Show), Universal recording artist Josh Gates and others.
During 2008 the group has been traveling around the country to encourage reading and strengthening its coalition to combat illiteracy.
For more information about Conversations Book Club or Hiphop and Books, visit http://www.thebestbookclub.info and http://www.hiphopandbooks.com.