Utopian Support

I just love Nelly!

Nelly Goes to Middle School

Thanks @utopianacademy for the retweet

Last Friday, December 19, 2014, rapper Young Joc visited Utopian Academy for Arts in Clayton County. This would be the fourth special guest that visited the new Charter School in their first semester following Governor Nathan Deal, actor and hip hop artist Ludacris, and daughter of Steve Harvey, Brandi Harvey.

Thank you to everyone that supports Utopian Academy of the Arts! Great Job Utopian Academy!

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Filmmaking in South Korea

Clayton State University is offering a new study abroad program for 2015, Filmmaking in South Korea. For my field production class, a group of us set out to cover the excitement surrounding this program.

The Crew 

  • Murphy McCanless
  • Kaila Thompson
  • Linda Sayseng (Me!)


  • Professor Jonathan Harris
  • Gantt Thomas


East of The Beltline

My first video project covers the Historic Ward Skate Park on the east of Atlanta’s Beltline Trail. The Beltline Trail is in Atlanta, Georgia and is a great place for everyone to take a walk around downtown. The skate park is well known after Tony Hawk, a famous skateboarder, announced his support to the building of the park by granting funds through the Tony Hawk Foundation.


The Big Picture Con

I volunteered at a film and technology conference called GA’s Big Picture Con at my school’s campus, Clayton State University. It was one of the best experiences I ever felt. I enjoyed every moment of meeting people in the same industry as me. Nothing’s more fulfilling then being surrounded by the same people who can empathize on your passion for media.

If you want to know more about the past conference, check out their blog. I hope to see everyone next year!

I also had the opportunity to interview Nancy Howard, the founder of GA’s Big Picture Con. She is a great woman and an inspiration to us all in the film industry. She juggles another job, has a husband and 2 children, and still makes time to help me. I am so grateful for her. She is truly an advocate for education in Media!  So please check out my Video Profile on Nancy Howard, called Her Big Picture. This is my second video ever to create. I would love feedback and insight to develop my craft.

The Big Thank You

Hey guys, so this is a pretty awesome thing so I don’t mind promoting it. If you have kids and would like to write a letter to a soldier working during Thanksgiving, please visit http://bigthankyou2014.com/

If you know me personally or my daughter, Shanelle Barham, you can hand the letters to us and we can make sure it gets to the right designation.

Please make sure your letter meets the criteria by visiting the site. 

Thanks everyone!

Radio/Media Influences-Ray Rice Scandal

If you haven’t heard, recently a video has leaked of NFL player, Ray Rice beating his then fiance, now wife, and dragging her body on the floor. He has lost his job and indefinitely banned from the league. Here’s what has me perplexed and basically pissed as a mass communications & media student; Of course, I intern for the radio show, The Bert Show, however, yesterday I was listening to the Rickey Smiley morning show briefly, and this is the second time I was disappointed with how they went about relaying messages.

The radio station 107.9 FM Rickey Smiley morning show held the topic, “Should Rice be banned indefinitely?”, not is domestic violence okay, not what should we do make sure our children don’t contribute to domestic violence, nothing of real value to society, but should he be banned. I am amazed at how media contributes the wrong views and influences how most society accepts ideas of what to talk about. Is this really something we should be talking about; sitting down at our lunch dates and include the topic of not domestic violence but is the consequence too harsh. Ridiculous. Now before I go deeper into what I heard; I have to commend The Bert Show not because I am an intern for them but the topics that they bring up are more meaningful, realistic and appropriate.

Now, what I heard from The Rickey Smiley morning show was the callers who contributed to the topic. Keep in mind, my everyday awesome mutual human beings, radio shows strategically pick the callers to be aired. I repeat, radio shows strategically pick the callers to be aired. I heard at least 3 men called in saying that Rice shouldn’t be banned and one even made a comment, “Did they ban Chris Brown from making music?” Another caller was a woman who felt that women shouldn’t provoke men and she is in the wrong just as much. Unbelievable! Are we actually listening to this?! People, even I for a moment was thinking, well yeah maybe they are right, that’s harsh, yea they didn’t ban Chris Brown, and sure women get crazy as much as the guys. But then I had to step out of the ideological constructed world that I was placed in and open my eyes. Hell no! Beating someone, physical violence, dragging a women’s body, disrespect, accepting  dis-functional relationships are not okay. Why would we in any way even consider?! MEDIA! Thanks media, thank you radio stations, thank you so much for corrupting the minds with this mental projection that I find disrespectful to my intelligence.

If I Meditate, Will You Too?

Yesterday morning on The Bert Show, a radio show stationed in Atlanta, GA, the host Bert expressed how his wife cannot stop smoking cigarettes and it’s a huge family issue. She wants to stop but it seems addiction has won more battles.

Addiction carries a strong definition. Addiction is broad because we can be addicted to so many things so easily; drinking, sex, pain, cigarettes, food, attention and the list goes on. The biggest understanding of addiction is that it provides an escape goat for the addicted. However, the greatest thing about human life is that we have the power to change most of its courses. If you want to help someone gain back control over their life, meditation would be a great counter escape goat.

I am not a specialist; I can only speak from my personal experience. In truth meditation is an individual practice, however, if its something you’re not accustom to, it is great to have someone to practice with you (at least in the beginning).

When you ask the love one in your life, “If I meditate, will you do it too?”, here’s a few points that could be mentioned…

1. Meditation has no time frame. It could be 1 hour or 1 minute. It’s up to you. So there’s a way you both can compromise on a timeslot and duration.

2. Meditation is no longer just a religious practice. It is a mind cultivation method. If we think of it in terms of mind over matter, it’ll work.

3. There are plenty of different meditation methods. You will have to find the one that works for the both you. You are not restricted to one way.

I’m not going to explain all the benefits and name the types of meditation. I’ll leave that research up to you.

This is how I practice and it’s a little non-traditional but it definitely works for me and I hope it will for you both…

1. In the beginning, you will be full of thoughts, that is common. Try to imagine those thoughts as clouds passing by in your mind. Now imagine gently pushing them to the side as if sliding a photo gallery and removing it from your path.

2. Another  practice, is focusing on breathing. This is a great way to place yourself in the “now” moment. By imagining every breathe you take flowing through your body, you find what’s important, Life! You are alive! All your worries become obsolete.

3. Majority of life’s problems are our reactions to emotions. Emotions are like a ball bouncing up and down. One moment you are happy and next you are angry, one moment you are ambitious and next you are depressed.  In meditation, imagine that ball bouncing up and down, now put all your focus on placing that ball in the middle. When you place the ball in the middle, you are balanced, harmonious, unbiased and free.

When practicing meditation to relieve addiction, know that it takes time. As much time as you put into creating that addiction, you will need time for your mind to gain back control, hence mind cultivation.

Everyone has lost control at least once but what I see truly important is the support along the way. Sometimes we just have to revise how we support each other.


(This topic was inspired by The Bert Show. There is no affiliation between the show and the author.)

P.S. If this seemed somehow inspirational to you, I apologize for the misconception.


Change Will Come: Nothing You Can Do About It

Change is always present and is part of life.  Change can be scary in any given situation especially when you make the change to better yourself physically and professionally. Maybe you want to go back to college and start a new career. Maybe you decided those burgers are no longer meant for you and became a vegetarian. However, understanding change will clarify your goals and keep you moving on the right track. Here are a few common misunderstandings you tell yourself and how to grasp it:


1. “I fear failure and success”

You fear both, failure and success? Doesn’t make sense. No, the truth is you’re just scared of change. That’s what you really fear. It’s ok to admit it. It is only natural but not indefinite. Take a step, walk into the unknown and know that fear of change is a thought. That thought plays a small part to the great life you could lead.

2. “What if it doesn’t work?”

Great question! To bad for you, you can’t find the answer unless you make a change. So, what if it doesn’t? Will you fall into a pit of despair? Will you burn in eternal hell? Let’s think about this. What if it doesn’t work? Is it the end? I doubt it. In fact, you will most likely gain a little more wisdom from your adventure. Walter Mitty anybody?

cloud question mark3. “I have 1 more year left at this job, then I can pursue my goals.”

Excuses, excuses, excuses. The longer you wait, the more likely you won’t change for the better. If we depend on outside reactions to effect our own actions we let “the man” hold all the cards. And you my friend, should be the only one holding the cards to your life.  If you were to leave tomorrow, the job or person, they won’t wait to fill your position to meet their goals. Why should you?






healthy mind


4. “I’m just big boned and it runs in the family.”

Ok, I know there are things called chemicals, genes, traits, etc. Here’s my perspective, if you think you will never change physically, there’s nothing wrong with changing mentally and habitually. Physicality does not only define health. Making healthy decisions and exercise is essential to health factors. Assuming that if you make these healthy decisions will not change you physically and find it pointless, maybe you need to readjust your point. Instead, look at the possible changes internally. Honestly, that is what truly defines health and a long life. And hey! you never know, maybe that physical change you didn’t think would come, had a changing point as well!

Sometimes even the most educated mind can find themselves rationalizing something that’s far from true. I know there are more excuses out there we make to justify our daily 9-5 boring life…..what excuses do you make?



Ashford University Volunteers at Books for Africa

Students and staff of Ashford University united on Saturday, July 19, 2014 to volunteer at Books for Africa of Atlanta. Books for Africa is a non-profit organization that collects, sorts, ships and distributes books to communities all over Africa.  Their books are targeted to all ages and are considerately donated to eager minds.

This organization truly exemplifies altruism and compassion.  All books are donated with regards to age, language, and publication. Workers explain to volunteers that the most updated textbooks are most desired. Workers also explain that they do not wish to send books that push our nation’s history (i.e. American history, American civil war, etc.) upon any group  but simply responds to the need of educational books.

bfa Jen Hale

The staff at the warehouse in Smyrna, GA was a great joy and worked well with the volunteers. They were courteous, informative and obviously enjoy their mission and service. The success of the event excites the members of Ashford University and hopes to have more volunteer affairs with Books for Africa.

me and bfa dev. asst Jen (640x360)

Me with the Development Assistant of Books for Africa ATL








bfa staff john

A helpful staff member of Books for Africa


You can help too! You can make a donation; it cost roughly 50 cents to send a book to Africa. You can also donate books or your time. I also suggest if you are affiliated with a sorority, club or any organization, this would be a great way to have your group establish some volunteer work as well as networking. Please visit their website for a great cause at www.booksforafrica.org. You can also follow their page on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @BooksForAfrica


5 Ways to Detox Naturally

I found some great ways to detox my body. I lost 20lbs, I have more energy and I feel happier throughout my day. Here’s a few ways to detox and start pushing yourself towards a healthier lifestyle…


1. The Detox Mixture

Detox Water


  •                           2 thinly sliced lemons
  •                           1 thinly sliced lime
  •                           1/2 thinly sliced cucumber
  •                           3 to 5 mint leaves
  •                           1 large water bottle


This drink works! Try to drink it twice daily, preferably before meals. Everyone has their own preference; however I love the taste  when the drink mix is cold. Enjoy!

2. Drink Green Tea

Here’s a drink to fight about it in regards to taste (according to my sister). But honestly, it’s great! Green tea has wonderful  health benefits such as antioxidants,  lower cholesterol, natural stimulant (caffeine) and it can also increase metabolism. The Japanese are known to have morning tea and afternoon tea time. I do the same. You should too!

3. Drink Water

Of course, water is the essential compound for living. It is obvious that drinking water has many benefits. It helps control calorie intakes, it flushes out toxins, boost immune system and it moisturizes your skin.

4. Exercise

Physical activity can prevent a wide range of health problems and concerns. Physical activity is another great way to cleanse your body of unhealthy fats. Take a brisk walk in the morning, ride your bike with the kids or even go on a hike with friends. You don’t have to work like an Olympic athlete but just know you can have fun and obtain the benefits.

5. Meditate

Meditation is not just a religious practice or some serious practice of only the few and reasoning minds.  Actually, more people are using meditation to help cope with their everyday lives.  Meditating can be a moment of silence, a nice walk by the lake or sitting in a nice rocking chair on your porch. The key is to be in the moment, take deep breathes and control the “ball”. I was taught to imagine a ball bouncing, like how emotions flow up and down; now by meditating, focus on controlling the ball to the middle where everything is harmonious and emotions such as anger are obsolete.

Clean Mind, Clean Body