LaRaven Taylor

On Second Thought Producer

LaRaven was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, so she’s no stranger to the south. LaRaven developed a passion for storytelling at a very young age. She became a features editor on her high school’s newspaper staff and an anchor on the school’s station. She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in Journalism. She started working as an Associate Producer for WLBT in Jackson, MS. There, she worked her way up to become a senior producer. She also did some reporting. LaRaven is a member of NABJ and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She loves reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She lives by the quote: “I think, therefore I am” by Descartes.

Courtesy Grey Henson

Here’s something you add to your burn book. "Mean Girls" is now a Tony Award-nominated Broadway musical. The musical is up for 12 awards. (That’s so fetch!)

The play features an all-star cast of mainstays and breakouts, including Grey Henson, who is nominated for the Tony for best featured actor in a musical. Henson grew up in Macon and plays Damian in the show.

Virginia Prescott joined the On Second Thought team at Georgia Public Broadcasting earlier in May. Prescott, the new host of On Second Thought, comes to GPB from New Hampshire Public Radio, where she hosted "Word of Mouth" and the "Civics 101" podcast, which is used in classrooms throughout the United States. She spoke with Adam Ragusea about the move from New England to the South, and why she loves Georgia.

Jerris Madison

If you’re looking for entertainment this weekend, several musicians will hit the stage at The Atlanta Jazz Festival. Among the artists performing is the Tia Fuller Quartet.

Last month, cast members from TV’s “A Different World” reunited at Home Depot’s Atlanta headquarters. They were there to award renovation grant money to nine Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports HBCUs have received less philanthropic support than most colleges and universities, particularly for infrastructure and campus renovation projects. The AJC has looked at the role of HBCU’s across the country and the financial health of these schools. We spoke with AJC reporter Ernie Suggs.

Allyssa Lewis Talks About Her Animated Life

May 24, 2018
La'Raven Taylor / GPB

Fans of anime, gaming and comics: Prepare to geek out at this year’s Momocon in Atlanta.

 

It’s one of the fastest growing all-ages conventions in the country, with more than 90,000 visitors expected this year.

After writing his New York Times op-ed, “Dear White America," George Yancy received hundreds of hateful messages. Yancy, an Emory University professor of philosophy, knew that his letter was controversial, but he says he never thought he would receive literal death threats. This past April, he released his newest book, "Backlash: What Happens When We Talk Honestly About Racism in America." It addresses how people confronted him after the publication of his op-ed, and how to proceed from there. In his book, he asks white Americans to rise above their initial racial response and have empathy for the African-American community. George Yancy joined us in studio to talk about "Backlash."

Some Georgia law schools want to appeal to more than their traditional law school students. In the fall, the University of Georgia begins offering a graduate degree program for non-lawyers. As schools broaden the appeal of the law, there is major concern about Georgia’s lawyer shortage, particularly in rural areas. We have seen a number of companies form that offer online legal services, but are these viable alternatives?

It's been 100 years since a Spanish influenza epidemic killed as many as 50 million people worldwide, including 675,000 Americans. A new book on the deadly pandemic is out this week. It's called “More Deadly Than War.” The author, Kenneth C. Davis, talked with us about how the Spanish flu affected the course of World War I.

Colleges and universities across Georgia have wrapped up the semester, but one Morehouse College student has more work to do. Last year, Julien Turner took an extra credit biology assignment and turned it into a viral music video about the differences between mitosis and meiosis. The rising junior's video made it all the way to the people who work on "Sesame Street." Now, Julien and his brother are creating an educational music video for the show. Julien spoke with GPB's Leah Fleming about the project.

Atlanta’s Donald Glover has found a new level of success. He’s an actor, the creator of a hit show named after his hometown of Atlanta, and a rapper under the name Childish Gambino. But his most powerful statement might be “This Is America”, a new song and video released over the weekend. Freelance entertainment reporter Jewel Wicker gives us her take on the video and what role musicians should play when it comes to social issues.

Atlanta’s professional soccer team has come a long way fast. Atlanta United FC took to the field for the first time in March 2017. Now it draws in tens of thousands of fans. We talked with the team’s president, Darren Eales.

Several major productions are being filmed in Georgia right now.  AJC Buzz Blog writer Jennifer Brett joins us to talk about upcoming films “Boss Level,” “What Men Want,” and “Ant-Man and The Wasp.” We also discuss the television shows that are filming in Georgia, like “Stranger Things” and “The Walking Dead.”  

The heavy metal band Mastodon got its start performing in Georgia in 2000. Nearly two decades later, the band has a Grammy Award and returns to Atlanta May 16 with a show at the Fox Theatre. We sat down with Brann Dailor, Mastodon's drummer and vocalist, to talk about the band's journey to stardom and its latest album "Emperor of Sand."

Pixabay

Sci-fi films typically dominate the box office for premiere weeks. Earlier this year "Black Panther" made more than $1 billion, and last month "Avengers: Infinity War" made $1.5 billion. The upcoming "Solo: A Star Wars Story" is also projected to have huge success.

 

So, why are people fascinated with fantasy and science fiction?

Courtesy Marvel Studios

Several major productions are being filmed in Georgia right now.  AJC Buzz Blog writer Jennifer Brett joins us to talk about upcoming films “Boss Level,” “What Men Want,” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp.” We also discuss the television shows that are filming in Georgia, like “Stranger Things” and “The Walking Dead.”  

Actor Tony Hale first rose to fame as the ultimate mother's boy Buster Bluth on the show "Arrested Development." Hale also starred in the HBO series “Veep.”  His character was the personal assistant to President Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Hale's parents live in the Macon area and he spends a lot of time in Georgia. We talked with him in 2016 about his career. 

Georgia is a hub of multiculturalism. At Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, there’s a new class tapping into that topic. It's called "Literary Tribalism: How to Read Race, Class, Nation & Gender." Oglethorpe University English professor Reshmi Hebbar joined us in studio to tell us about her new class. Her students, Caleb Logan and Yasmin Tehrani, also joined the conversation.

Courtesy Naia Izumi

You might recognize Naia Izumi if you're from Columbus, Georgia. Izumi is winner of NPR's 2018 Tiny Desk Contest. He started playing guitar when he was just a kid living in Columbus.

 

Izumi now lives in Los Angeles. He wrote the song “Soft Spoken” for the Tiny Desk Concert Contest on YouTube. The video submission has been viewed nearly 200,000 times.

 

Following this win, Izumi says he hopes to win a few Grammys and perform at different venues around the world.

May is Older Americans Month. In 2017, Georgia ranked 41st in the nation for senior health. GPB Special Correspondent Celeste Headlee talked about the state of our elder care system with Kathy Floyd, executive director for the Georgia Council on Aging, and Glenn Ostir, director of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Georgia.

Pollution and global warming rank near the top of environmentalists' growing list of concerns. But according to the Environmental Protection Agency, another menace to the environment is in many people's own backyards. Over a two day period, the EPA studied waste from 100 dogs. The findings were alarming; there were enough bacteria to force the closing of a city’s watershed. Anna Truszczynski from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division explains how dog feces is an environmental hazard.

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