Maleah Briggs: The Music Within

by Asia Mangum Photo above of Maleah Briggs by Kaitlyn Fowler  In 2001, a pregnant Andrea Gordon sat in her living-room chair, contemplating her soon-to-be baby girl’s name. She scanned through long lists of names in a book, none of which appealed to her. “None of these fit my baby,” she said to herself. Then […]

Kelsee Ford: Meet the Future Colonel

by Raha Maxwell Photo above of Kelsee Ford by Darryn Price When a cadet on the drill field at Keesler Air Force Base dropped his rifle, it shocked platoon leader Kelsee Ford and others on the squad. He had never dropped the rifle before in a routine, and the mistake cost the Murrah High School’s […]

Ariyana Jones: No Horsing Around

by Meché Leflore Photo above of Ariyana Jones by Kelsee Ford It was Tuesday afternoon when Ariyana Jones’ mother came in her room with her hands behind her back. “Ari, I have something for you,” she said. With excitement all over her face, 12-year-old Jones could not wait for the surprise. “Now close your eyes, […]

Jeffrey Caliedo: Shaping and Changing Mississippi

by Joshua Wright Photo above of Jeffrey Caliedo by Imani Khayyam The day Jeffrey Caliedo realized he was different was when he asked his parents about it when he was 10. Caliedo went to his mom and asked her, “Why do me and dad look different from you and a lot of people at my […]

Leslyn Smith: Always Ready to Help

by Maggie Jefferis Photo above of Leslyn Smith by Imani Khayyam On a dark, sweaty night deep in Sandhill, Miss., a group of cousins were playing soccer when one of them kicked the ball over a fence while going for the goal. Leslyn Smith, then a 6th grader, volunteered to go get the ball. She […]

Joshua Wright: Back at YMP to Share

by Jeffrey Caliedo Photo above of Joshua Wright by Kelsee Ford What seemed to be a fairly regular day at the Youth Media Project soon proved to be a life-changing experience for Joshua Wright in the summer of 2016. Walking into the seemingly mundane office, Wright discovered an astonishing find. Sitting on the wooden table […]

Sean Collins: Losing Everything and Still Smiling

By Z’eani Furdge Photo above of Sean Collins by Sonni Presley On a very windy night in 2005, Hurricane Katrina was making its way into the Biloxi-Gulfport area of Mississippi. “We have to go,” Sean Collins heard his mother Laura say as she and his father, Chris, woke him up. “Where are we going?” Collins […]

Chauncey Nettles: The Magnificent

by Aja Purvis Photo above of Chauncey Nettles by Kelsee Ford The sun blazed down brightly in the 70-degree Mississippi weather as the Nettles family gathered in the cozy home of Aunt Arleans, enjoying each other’s company and taking advantage of this Christmas Eve they had together in Jackson. ​Younger children gathered around the neatly […]

Young Men, Stop Gambling and Save Your Life

[gdlr_frame type=”border” align=”left” caption=”Photo Courtesy Imani Khayyam”][gdlr_image_link type=”image” image_url=”×300.jpg” link_url=”” alt=””][/gdlr_frame] by Shakira Porter On Wednesday, March 29, 2017, two young brothers, 16-year-old Davonza Jaron Bell and 18-year-old Donta Curry, were in Westside Park in west Jackson with a group of guys playing dice when heated tempers turned the game into gunfire. A friend from my […]

Saved by the Yin-Yang: Learning to Embrace Good and the Bad

Kenytta Brown (left) helped welcome Mayor-elect Chokwe A. Lumumba (right) to the YMP for an interview soon after he won the 2017 Democratic primary. JPS school board member Jed Oppenheim is in the center. Photo above by Donna Ladd [gdlr_frame type=”border” align=”left” caption=”Photo Courtesy Imani Khayyam”][gdlr_image_link type=”image” image_url=”×300.jpg” link_url=” alt=””][/gdlr_frame] by Kenytta Brown When I […]