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Opportunities are often given, but seldom made. It takes a truly creative and powerful person of mind, body, spirit, and skill to take what is inside of them and put it on display for all the world to see. There is so much more to The Web World than its stars–think directors, show runners, bloggers, writers, content creators, and networks. Destiny seldom calls on anyone at a moment of their choosing, and these ten amazing people did not wait they are blazing their own paths and shaping the lives of others.

Check out the true dream makers on our list of The Top Ten Influencers of The Web World!

#10.

Davien Harlis

davien harlisIt is rare when anyone can say a year and been “their year.” However, for Davien Harlis this has definitely been the case as 2017 tipped her hat to this director and Web Star. His hit indie film Red Carpet, Hashtags, & Heartbreak is critically acclaimed and we are all clamoring for a sequel. Davien is a relative newbie to the Web World, but his sphere of influence has cultivated a full feature length film that was sold out both nights. If any hashtag suits this rising star and influencer, it is “Tastemaker!”

red carpet hashtags and heartbreak#9.

Alex Jante

alex janteOne of the hottest Web Stars is easily its most brilliant. Alex Jante is a triple threat being able to act, model, and most of all WRITE! This amazing man has written episodes of About Him: The Revolution, Tex Brown, Climax, Uncle Joey, Kingdom Heights and Steel River: When We Were Young, and most recently the first Black LGBT horror film, The Get Away! A series is only as good as its writing and acting; and when Alex puts his pen to paper you are guaranteed to have a hit series. In fact, the only thing greater than his repertoire of work is his stellar reputation. Few can boast that they are loved and respected throughout the Web World. Issa Rae meet your newest colleague!

alex jante#8 & 7.

The Jones Sisters (Alvin Agarrat & Kimberly Jones)

the jones sisters kimberly jones and alvin algarrat

Kimberly Jones & Alvin Agarrat

Web Stars come talented, but all too often they come young and fresh to the industry. Who teaches them the ropes?i.e. How to do interviews, what to say, when, how to dress, efficiently learn lines, etc.–pretty much being their surrogate parent. Meet Kimberly Jones and Alvin Agarrat!

kimberly jonesKim is practically the “Mama of The Web World” and a number of Web Stars actually affectionately refer to her as that. Kim has been in the industry for decades as a writer, author, producer, publicist, and currently a talent manager with Talent Connects. Here, she cultivates and guides the next generation of leading men and women on their way to the rarefied air of Hollywood.

alvin agarratAlvin is an amazing writer and producer who has mostly made his moves behind the scenes. However, the work he has done on many Signal 23 TV shows and their various cast; and his own projects is nothing short of phenomenal. In 2018 he releases a new web series, We Are Fam, that will set the Web World ablaze. If you aren’t down with Alvin consider yourself down and out!

#6.

HeyMikeyATL

hey mikey atl logoWhether you hate it or love it, blogs are the way most people get the news on the Who’s Who of the entertainment world. The Web World is no different, and HeyMikeyATL serves as the nexus to all things Web World-related. Began by Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning in January 2014 this site has consistently brought much needed press and recognition to a community all too often underrepresented and stigmatized.

michael j. fanning

Mikey

Upfront, if you want to know about your favorite web series and Web Stars then this is your first destination. Behind the scenes is a pool of piping hot tea ready for your to dive in (VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED, LOL). The site currently garners more hits daily than most Web Series have views PERIOD. To put it simply, HeyMikeyATL is the nexus of the Web World!

#5.

Anthony Bawn

anthony bawnWhen it comes to someone who truly knows the business of entertainment you need look no further than Anthony Bawn. He came on our radar back in January and we only feel foolish we did not know of him sooner. It is thanks to this visionary that we have Cheetah In August, Blackville, and the continuance of the story line of the first season of About Him, repackaged as H.I.M., in addition to an entire network of programming on Bawn TV. There you will find a good deal of programming consisting of web series, short films, and feature films.

anthony bawnAnthony’s influence comes from his ability to reach across the table and his willingness to work with others. This gives him the rare ability to work with just about anyone while being able to draw out the true talent of his actors. There is much in store for Anthony Bawn in 2018 that we have to keep under wraps– you just be sure you are watching!

#4.

Corey Knott & Lyrik London

corey knott and lyrik londonLit, Lit, LIT! Pun totally intended! Corey Knott and Lyrik London are two amazingly popular and talented content creators, directors, and show runners all while being the faces of HD Productions. These two best friends turned business partners specialize in series that push the envelope, showcasing the grittier aspects of LGBT community. Their shows have collectively grossed over six million views and continue to climb. This is no easy feat, but when you have hot shows like LIT, Dirty Talk, Living For The Weekend, Fallacies, and Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies (which returns for its fourth and final season in Spring 2018) and a host of new series debuting in 2018 it is not surprising.

corey knott

Corey Knott

Corey Knott is truly one to burn the midnight oil spending his time and energy creating amazing content and working even harder as the CEO of HD Productions to take it to the next level. Corey is also a Web Star in his own right as the star of his own hit web series, Living For The Weekend. We, however, are living his latest web series to debut soon, Twenty20 and House Boys. We are watching Mr. Knott and you’re becoming a force to be reckoned with!

lyrik london

Lyrik London

There seems to be literally nothing that Lyrik London cannot do. Whether he is on set filming for Chasing Atlanta, or shooting one of HD Productions’ own web series, he proves himself to be an artist through and through. Perhaps the only thing we are more impressed by than his skills are his dance moves. Tall, light, and dreamy–we see you!

#3.

Tyson Anthony

(Tyson wishes to remain faceless)

There is much to say about anyone who can take the stories and experiences of a community and not only turn them into novels, but equally amazing web series. This is a feat Tyson Anthony boasts with ease! The book that the now hit web series, About Him, was based off of us is just one of many projects Mr. Anthony has gifted to the masses. Tyson’s influence comes from his unique storytelling, the stories he chooses to tell, and the artistic actors he chooses to bring his characters to life.

raisin eli chris june promo posterThis has truly been an amazing year for Tyson as he launched his own network, Tyson PLUS and released a second season of Raising Eli, as well as premiering Ellenwood and Honest Men. The latter has easily become one of the most popular and complex web series to hit the net. If Tyson Anthony has proven anything it is that his stories are viable, relevant, relatable, and above all else CAPTIVATING!

tyson anthony's honest men#2.

Lamont Pierre

lamont pierre art house tvHave you ever seen cinemaphotography so beautiful it puts you in awe of everything on the screen? That is the mesmerizing feeling you get watching any of Lamont Pierre’s many projects. This taste maker is the creator and father of Free Fall, the web series that foreshadowed the rise and popularity of most LGBT web series to come after it. Lamont not only pushes the envelope with his series, but pushes you to your limits with a full body reaction to characters you cannot help but have yourself intricately connected to and invested in.

free fall web seriesLamont’s network, Arthouse TV, has some of the net’s premium web series and is honestly a journey and joy to explore. Mr. Pierre’s influence comes from the confidence of knowing what he is doing and that he is truly one of the best to ever do it. Have you seen Red Skin? ‘Nuff said!

#1.

Henderson Maddox

henderson maddoxAll hail the Kingpin! Henderson Maddox tops our list thanks to the sheer popularity of his web series, his skill as a director, and prowess as a business man. (He makes shit happen!) When it comes to web influencers he is immediately atop anyone’s list. As the CEO and founder of Signal 23 TV he has introduced the masses to the likes of Gary Lavard, Brandon Karson, Alex Jante, Rahim Brazil, Rico Pruitt, Tripp Ali, and Jaquay Wilkerson; each of them talented and top Web Stars.

henderson maddoxSignal 23 TV is the giant of the Web World and there is no navigating around its sphere of influence. However, as Henderson proves with great power comes great responsibility and consequences. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, especially when it comes to controversy. Still, we do not see Henderson Maddox bowing out anytime soon and we just know that 2018 will see him to take his company mainstream.

Movie News

Atlanta Actress, Toni Bryce, Stars in Her Own Indie Film, “Best Thing I Never Had!”

We are all for growth and expansion here at HeyMikeyATL, and are always elated when a great light flexes even more of her talent. That is exactly what Toni Bryce, a popular Atlanta actress, is doing with her latest venture, an independent film entitled “Best Thing I Never Had!”

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toni bryce best thing i never had movie

We are all for growth and expansion here at HeyMikeyATL, and are always elated when a great light flexes even more of her talent. That is exactly what Toni Bryce, a popular Atlanta actress, is doing with her latest venture, an independent film entitled “Best Thing I Never Had!”

toni bryce best thing i never had movie

Toni Bryce as “Brittany”

The film centers on the love story between a Black man and woman–with a twist. Toni states, “.. this relationship is no ordinary relationship. Dante, a Black Cis and Heterosexual identifying Man is openly dating Brittany, a Black Trans and Heterosexual identifying Woman. ‘Best Thing I Never Had’ chronicles the journey of their love story as Brittany learns to overcome her apprehension of whether Dante’s intentions are pure or evil. The story shows what it’s like for the two as they deal with raising children, reconciling friendships, and yearning for family acceptance while overcoming societal judgement and criticism. With the many challenges faced and bumps in the road, will this love last or will it all be a fairytale?”

Cast of "Best Thing I Never Had"

Cast of “Best Thing I Never Had”

We have to say based on the synopsis we are highly intrigued by this story. It is out of the ordinary, and with society seemingly becoming more receptive to transgender rights and people, it makes the story timely and necessary for representation and perspective. Toni went on to reveal she wrote the film to show everyone deserves love and to experience something real. This project was formed from an Instagram post I made where I was just speaking on my opinion that the sex work narrative is old and played out. I wanted to see something more. So, the amazing artist, Di Thomas saw my story, screenshot it and sent it to Onyx Keesha and Coley. They wanted to meet with me, we met and I told them where I was speaking from and shared my own experiences…BUT the kicker was, they wanted me write the script because it’s coming from my own experiences…then not only that, but they suggested that I star in it as well. And now a year later, we have ‘Best Thing I Never Had’ short film.”

Toni hopes people will see the film as a real love story, like any other cinematic portrayal of love. I truly want people to see a story where they get to experience and journey with these characters where love between ‘othered’ people is normalized and OK. A story that gives men that are Trans-Affirming or Attracted a visual display of what their own happiness could look like if they’d only live for themselves and not what everyone else thinks about their happiness. A big part of my own reasons for being single is because my worth and value don’t matter to the men pursuing me because society tells them that they’re gay and less of a man for dating me. Where everything is an effort and a life changing decision that they don’t feel they’re ready to make. Thus, I’m hidden in a room and only explored sexually. My health, mental stability, goals, passions, career, desires, and etc are left outside the door for the sake of ‘I’m ready to nut!'”
Production of “Best Thing I Never Had” seems to be well under way as the film has already been cast, and they have already had their first table read. Check them out below:

We are really happy for Toni and excited to see this cast in action. Congratulations Toni on this project and all your future endeavors. It is needless to say, but your 2020 is shaping out to be “lit!”

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Fashion

“BLOW!” Gary Lavard (@GaryLavard) Releases New Hoodie Line Benefiting Suicide Prevention & Awareness!

BLOW= “Because Love Outweighs War,” the new acronym for life, and the name for Gary Lavard’s new line of hoodies! The hoodies hilariously feature Gary’s face on the front of them blowing a big bubble of gum, and come in an array of colors. However, this is not just another hoodie line, instead these new products are adding philanthropy to his already impressive resume. BLOW instead donates a percentage of its profits toward suicide prevention and awareness.

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gary lavard blow hoodie

BLOW= “Because Love Outweighs War,” the new acronym for life, and the name for Gary Lavard’s new line of hoodies! The hoodies hilariously feature Gary’s face on the front of them blowing a big bubble of gum, and come in an array of colors. However, this is not just another hoodie line, instead these new products are adding philanthropy to his already impressive resume. BLOW instead donates a percentage of its profits toward suicide prevention and awareness.

gary lavard blow hoodie

Gary came up with the idea of BLOW based on his current mood and mental health. He relayed on iHeartRadio’s The Hey Mikey Show, that he once dealt with depression and anxiety, issues that can lead to suicide and wanted to give back. “There’s no shame in me saying that I’m currently in the best shape of life mentally, physically, and emotionally and I owe that doing some work on myself and seeking professional help through therapy…Getting the help you need and talking to someone can really change or save your life…there’s such a stigma in the Black community with mental health and it needs to change, so I’m doing my part to give back…”

gary lavard blow hoodie

We have to say we are really proud of Gary and the contributions his making in combating suicide and discussing mental health. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center states the following alarming facts:

gary lavard blow hoodie

Prevention efforts should address increased suicide risk among Black males. While increased suicide risk among Black females also warrants action, rates have typically been higher among males. Depending on the age group, the male-to-female suicide rate ratio has ranged from four-to-one to as high as eight-to-one.5 Young Black males are most at risk, although there has been a recent rise in suicide rates among Black children of both sexes under age 13.

Mental health matters. Having a mental illness significantly increases suicide risk among Black teens and adults.6,7 Although depression must be addressed, the strongest mental health predictor of attempted suicide in this population is anxiety. Prevention efforts should help enhance the existing psychological resources that help to buffer Black people against suicide risk, and also help protect them from sources of vulnerability. For example, Blacks who are socially connected through organized religious affiliation have a lower suicide risk.8 And we are learning that social stressors, such as perceived racism, exacerbate suicide risk among Blacks.

Congratulations Gary on your latest venture! You all be sure to purchase and support BLOW by getting your own hoodie by clicking here! Happy shopping!

**If you, or someone you know is contemplating suicide please contact someone at the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.**

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Web Star Watched

Web Star Watched- Ryan K. Sanders (@iamryanksanders)

The good thing about the Web World is that it’s always growing. Sure we have our favorite, veteran Web Stars, but there is always love for the newbies! One newbie in particular, Ryan K. Sanders,  has big dreams, major acting chops, and even bigger dreams. What’s the trivia behind this new beau making waves on AConnectionTV? Find out in our latest edition of Web Star Watched!

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Ryan K. Sanders

The good thing about the Web World is that it’s always growing. Sure we have our favorite, veteran Web Stars, but there is always love for the newbies! One newbie in particular, Ryan K. Sanders,  has big dreams, major acting chops, and even bigger dreams. What’s the trivia behind this new beau making waves on AConnectionTV? Find out in our latest edition of Web Star Watched!

Ryan K. Sanders

1. Have you always wanted to be an actor? What’s been your favorite role?

 It was not until I began acting that I knew I wanted to do it for the rest of my life moving forward. My favorite role so far has been playing O’Neil on H.O.E. I connected so well with role because of the similarities to one of my prior relationships and some of the events that took place.

2. How do you prepare for a role?
   I prepare by learning the characters background and trying to develop how I see them speaking, walking, their mannerisms, etc.

3. Who are biggest personal influences?
   My parents and my brother. My parents each have instilled in me work ethic that won’t allow me to be mediocre while my brother has constantly reminded to be true to myself no matter what anyone says.

4. Who are your biggest professional influences?
   Issa Rae & Rome Flynn

5. How do you manage your personal and professional life?
   I’ve recently had a difficult time managing the two; I’m still working to find that true balance.

6. What do you do in your downtime? Any hobbies?
   In my downtime, I play video games, listen to music, watch movies & (my two favs) sleep and eat! I also enjoy being outdoors, playing sports or working out.

7. What is the biggest misconception people have about you?
   The biggest misconception is that I’m mean or stuck up.

Ryan K. Sanders

8. Single, taken, or “it’s complicated?”
    Single

9. What do you think is your best physical feature?
   My lips and arms

10. Is there anything you don’t like about yourself, or feel you can work on?
    My confidence

11. Last movie you saw
    Greta

12. Your favorite web series
    Awkward Black Girl

13. Your favorite web star (you can’t pick yourself)
    Tina Christine

14. LGBTQIQA or straight?
    Gay

15. Something you can’t live without
    A peace of mind.

16. Biggest pet peeve
    Being cut off from speaking repeatedly and being ignored.

17. Tell us something you’ve never told anyone
    I really don’t have a peanut allergy

18. Age
    27

19. Sign
Capricorn

20. Quote to live by

    “To be yourself… is the greatest accomplishment”

Ryan K. Sanders

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