Disney Dreaming: The Interviews

Saturday, 12 March 2011 07:18 Written by  Tiffani Alexander

GMO at the Disney Dreamers Academy: Celeb Q&As

Media Circle Q&A: Steve Harvey, Comedian, Radio/TV Host, Actor and Author

Media/GMO: What kept you from not giving up on your own dreams?

shSteve Harvey: If you dream about something, it keeps you. You go to school because you have a dream of becoming something, so the dream makes you go to school. I had a snap shot in my mind of what I wanted to be and I kept that snap shot in my heart all the time. When I contemplate doing something wrong, you pull the snap shot out and take a look at it...sometimes the dream kept me from going the wrong way.

Photo by GMO

Media/GMO: How has being a part of the Dreamers Academy affected Steve Harvey?

Steve Harvey: I made a pact with God a long time ago, I said if you help me make it, I’ll tell everybody how I got there. And then my mom raised me always to believe that God blesses you to become a blessing. So that helps me fulfill that commitment, because I know she’s somewhere watching. If you have knowledge and you don’t share it, what is that?

Media/GMO: What is your dream for the Dreamers Academy?

Steve Harvey: Hopefully this thing goes on long enough until we get kids who come back o the program who are keynote speakers. Ideally, that would be the greatest thing we could do––that would be the ultimate goal.

Q&A: Dr. Steve Perry, Author, Educator and Motivational Speaker

GMO: Why was it important for you to be here at Disney Dreamers Academy?

Dr. Perry: Because I believe in the Dreamers spAcademy. I think it’ a very important opportunity, not only for the students, but also for the parents and Disney as a whole. I think it extends the brand but more importantly it provides a very real service that’s necessary to our community, to talk to them about what they can do to become better at what they do and most importantly to dream––what else is life without a dream.

Photo by GMO

GMO: Have you met a dreamer who had a particular story that touched you?

Dr. Perry: I read many of their applications, but on of the kids that I really had a chance to meet, was a young brother from Englewood. I met him last night, real good kid, his dad’s going to miss him mightily when he goes away.

GMO: Did you have any advice for him in particular?

Dr. Perry: Stay focused; make sure that you put the right people in the car.

GMO: What do you think is the biggest misconception about our youth and education?

Dr. Perry: I think people think that our kids don’t care about school and their wrong. Our kids really do love school, it’s just that they go to raggedy schools so many times that they don’t get to fall in love with school like they’re supposed to. If they had great teachers in front of the, if they had great leaders in front of them, they would want more.

See video of the interview with Dr. Perry on the Gloss Blog!

Q&A: Kimberley Locke, Singer and former American Idol Runner Up

klGMO: What advice do you have for an aspiring singer?

Kimberley Locke: My advice to her at this particular stage, when she’s trying to get there, is that she needs to be practicing. That practice looks like auditioning for everything, even if you think it’s nothing. You audition for everything because that’s practice. By doing that, you prepare yourself for that big moment, whatever that moment is.

Photo by Todd Anderson

GMO: Why was it important for you to participate in the Disney Dreamers Academy?

Kimberley Locke: Because I believe that more than ever our kids need mentoring. I know when I was their age, I need a mentor and I feel like it is my civil duty to humanity to mentor these kids and share knowledge––especially if they want it, and these kids want it.

Q&A: Steven A. Smith, Journalist and Commentator

GMO: As an inspiration to so many people, who were the mentors that you looked up to and inspired to be like as a journalist?s

Photo by GMO Todd Anderson

Steven A. Smith: My mom and my brother were mentors and inspirations in life. But in terms of the industry itself, there are several: I’m indebted to a sports editor by the name of Terry Oberle for the Winston-Salem Journal because he gave me first gig as a sports clerk in the sports department, while I was a student. I’m indebted to him and that entire newspaper for stories that I don’t even have the time to go into. The things that they did for me, I will always be incredibly grateful to them. A sports editor by the name of Whitmer, who is now the managing editor at the Newark Star-Ledger, gave me my first job. Leon Carter, who’s my boss now at ESPNNewYork.com, he’s been a mentor and advisor since I was in college. Garry Howard, the executive sports editor of Sporting News Magazine who just left the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel––he’s been an inspiration. Mike Bruton, former columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, now at the Philadelphia Tribune. Then you guys like Bobby Clay at Sports Illustrated; Dan McGrath at the Chicago Tribune––there’s no one person. There are people who taught you increments of the industry as time went along.

What makes them special is none of them had to do it––all of them volunteered. I didn’t go up to them, I didn’t pursue them as mentors; I didn’t do anything. They all reached out and said ‘you’re special, you’re a special talent, we love you, we appreciate who you are and what you bring to the table and we want to help you achieve your dreams––everyone of them. Because of that, a tremendous amount of gratitude comes with it because they didn’t have to do that. It’s one thing, when somebody’s in a position to help you and they help you from a peripheral perspective, it’s another thing entirely when they come along and they make a personal investment in you, unsolicited.

GMO: As a journalist, everybody remembers that first journalism class when they got that article back, covered in red ink. What do you tell the aspiring journalist who just received that bloody article and is starting to second-guess a career as a writer?

Steven A. Smith: Tell them to be grateful. The last thing you need is to put forth a garbage product and have somebody telling you it’s perfume. You should be happy when somebody informs you of what you’re doing wrong; what you need to do to do it right because that empowers you because it’s giving you the knowledge and the expertise necessary to be good at what you do. Never be dissuaded by somebody critiquing you and honing you. As long as you know they’re making you better, you should be grateful. Always remember that.

Media Circle Q&A: Raven-Symone, Actress, Singer and Entrepreneur r

Media/GMO: Why was it important for you to be involved with Disney’s Dreamers Academy?

Raven with Tracy Powell, Steve Harvey & Yolanda Adams. Photo by Todd Anderson

Raven-Symone: I got involved with the Disney’s Dreamers Academy one, because I am a Disney product, after the age of 13. Before it was Bill Cosby, and always Bill Cosby because he was the one who got me that visual. I got involved because there are so many people of a young age, and of color, and of different ethnic backgrounds that get overlooked for so many years, and there’s someone who wants them to succeed, but there’s always someone who wants them to fail. And knowing that a company as big as Disney wants them to succeed, I want to be a part of that company and I want to help them in whatever way possible.

Media/GMO: What do you personally get from this experience, working with Disney Dreamers Academy:

Raven-Symone: No matter what background that the kids had, no matter what they went through in life, no matter who told them that they could do something or couldn’t, they stood strong to stand up there and face their fears. [Referring to Raven’s Keynote Speech where she put several dreamers on the “spot” – asking them what their dream was]

Media/GMO: What’s your advice to young dreamers?

Raven-Symone: Be specific in your dreams. You have to make sure that what you want to do is something that we need in the world. We have a lot of actresses and we have a lot of singers and a lot of rappers, here and there––whoopty do. I need someone to teach the people who are going to come on my show, that are under-aged. I’m going to need the doctors to make sure that I’m healthy before I get on stage. I’m going to need the cameraman and everyone else because that’s what makes our world.

Media/GMO: What were your dreams?

Raven-Symone: My dream was to be sitting here right now.

Media/GMO: Being involved in so many different areas of entertainment, etc, where do you draw your creativity?

Raven-Symone: I have a wonderful team behind me that makes sure that I’m focused. I’m that person whose like I want to do this, this, this, and this. I’ll get it to right at that point then I’ll be like, ‘I need somebody else to take care of it.’ I’ve accepted my ADD-ism. I’ve accepted it and put people around me that help me focus it.

See the full interview (where Ms. Raven-Symone graciously accepts all the recorders from the media surrounding her into her lap, literally!) on the Glossy Blog!


yQ&A: Yolanda Adams, Gospel Superstar

GMO: Why are you involved with the Disney Dreamers Academy?

Yolanda Adams: He [Steve Harvey] knows that with folks who love children and they love to see people blossom and flourish that, that’s all it takes for some kids. Just having that one person or that group of people, especially this star-studded panel that he has this year … it was just phenomenal. From Ms. Mikki Taylor, to Raven Symone, Dr. Perry… all of the sports figures all of the business people. Just something that one of those people said could make a difference in whether a child says, ‘my dream is not possible’ or ‘I can do this.’ That’s why it was important for me to be here.

GMO: All weekend we’ve been hearing about dreams and how your dreams continue to grow: What is a dream that you still have that you want to accomplish?

Photo by Todd Anderson

Yolanda Adams: Wow. I’ve pretty much accomplished a whole lot of things; I am now working on business things that are taking me to another level as far as a businesswoman. I’ve always been a businesswoman, I’ve been very diligent in my businesses, but this year I get a chance to put my feet down into the ground and just go for it and I am so so excited…I am so excited about my life right now––there are at least three dreams that are coming to fruition this year.

GMO: A young aspiring sister wants to be a singer, what would you tell her?

Yolanda Adams: First of all, know all you need to know about the music genre you want to get into. You definitely need to know how to sing, number one [laughs], and practice every day, make sure you know yours tones, make sure you know your range, and I would definitely suggest that they know how to read music. There are some places, you know like becoming a singer––you may not get to where Beyonce or Lady GaGa is, but hey you can go to Broadway––and you have to learn how to read music on Broadway, and there’s always work on Broadway. And of course, there’s always work at Disney––you can sing forever and ever at Disney.

See the full interview with Yolanda Adams on the Glossy Blog!




An interview with 17-year-old Disney Dreamer DeHattcia Bradd,

a student at Trezevant High School in Memphis, TN

“I aspire to become a teacher who will make a difference and change the future.”

-DeHattcia Bradd

GMO: In your words, what are you getting out of the Dreamers Academy this weekend? dh

DeHattcia Bradd: They are giving us more insight on how to believe and to dream big, and to know that we are capable of doing things that we probably thought we weren’t able to do. They are helping us to feel inspired.

Photo by GMO

GMO: What is your big dream?

DeHattcia Bradd: My big dream is to publish a book and everyone will be like, ‘Oh, that’s the author, I want her autograph.’ [Laughs] I want it to be one of the top-selling books––that’s my dream.

GMO: What will the book be about?

DeHattcia Bradd: My life. But after that I want to write African American literature, because I love African American literature, it’s like all I read.

GMO: What is the message that you want to project in your book?

DeHattcia Bradd: My issue is that I hold everything in, to a point where it broke me down literally. My message is, don’t be afraid to express what you’re going through because everyone’s not going to judge you. If you hold it all in it can turn into a disaster, so express yourself. If you can’t get yourself heard, then write it down. I just want people to know that if you have a story, you need to tell it. Someone needs to hear it, because it may help the next person.

GMO: How often do you write?

DeHattcia Bradd: Everyday! My diary, that’s the starting point for my book.

GMO: You’re 17, do you know what college you’re going to? What will your major be?

DeHattcia Bradd: Lincoln University. I will major in Education. My book is going to be on the side, I want to teach, because I think teachers make differences. We need a change and to make a difference.

GMO: What has been your favorite session at the Dreamers Academy so far?

DeHattcia Bradd: My favorite session has been “The Essence of You” [hosted by Editor-at-Large Mikki Taylor of Essence Magazine]. It’s like, you think your experience is bad and then you hear the next girl’s experience, and you’re just like ‘wow.’ So it’s like stop feeing sorry for yourself, there’s always someone worse off than you. I love how we all came together; it was so heart-felt.

Tiffani Alexander

Tiffani Alexander

Publisher and Editor in Chief of GlossMagazineOnline.com (GMO), Tiffani Alexander came to Chicago in the fall of 2004 to pursue her Master's degree in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management at Columbia College Chicago. Tiffani earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of
 Maryland, College Park. She has worked for both Cygnus Business Media and Maher Publishing before embarking on her dream to start her own magazine. In addition to publishing GMO bi-monthly, Tiffani freelances and works as an editor on a legal journal in Washington, DC.


Tiffani can be contacted at TiffaniA@glossmagazineonline.com

Follow her on Twitter: @TiffaniGMO


Website: www.glossmagazineonline.com