Chris Ludacris Bridges and Deborah Alyse McDonald
Chris Ludacris Bridges recently released his fifth solo disc, Release Therapy, which won two Grammys in 2007, including Best Rap Album. The 28-year-old rapper put not only his experience as an artist into Release Therapy, but also his experiences as the CEO of Disturbing Tha Peace Records, the Founder of The Ludacris Foundation, and an actor in the Oscar-winning film Crash.
Bridges has recently seen major changes in all facets of his life. At his record label, Ludacris has collected a talented and diverse group of artists. The roster includes Shawnna (the dynamic Chicago-bred female rap star), Bobby Valentino (the smooth R&B platinum-selling singer), Field Mob (the groundbreaking hip hop duo), and the newest addition to the DTP family, Shareefa (the soulful and sultry R&B rising songbird). In his burgeoning film career, Chris took home both a Screen Actor Guild Award and a Critics’ Choice Award for his performance in Crash and won rave reviews for his turn on NBC's Law & Order: SVU a role he will reprise next year. His Ludacris Foundation continues to grow and has raised over half a million dollars towards helping kids to empower themselves. I'm not going to lie. I've made my share of mistakes, confesses Ludacris. I know about success, but I also know about failure and having to pick myself up to try again. It's the balance of the two and all of my experiences that became the foundation of this album. In the beginning I was thinking of putting out a double record, with one being Release and the other Therapy, but it's more real to have that dualism on one disc.
One listen to Luda's Release Therapy and the growth is obvious. Maturity is a beautiful thing, Ludacris says. Going into the studio to make Release Therapy, I felt like a wiser, more intelligent person. That was part of the vibe I wanted to bring across on the record, a more personal side that many have not seen. I know this is my fifth album, but I feel as though this is the first time I've ever exposed this much of myself. Like the film Crash, people can either love me or hate me, but they'll always respect me.
While there isn't any doubt of Luda's seriousness on Release Therapy,he also comes on strong with his trademarked humor. To me, part of being a complex person is a balance of many things,says Luda. On this record I talk about striving, silliness, sadness, sex, and salvation amongst other things. I'm not knocking anybody's hustle, but many rappers only talk about one side of their lives. Personally, I'm trying to be a more three-dimensional storyteller, and I hope that comes through on the record.
With Release Therapy, Ludacris releases a classic disc that rises to the top of the hip-hop heap and firmly establishes him as one of the most insightful lyricists of his generation.
This bio was adapted from a profile by Michael A. Gonzales.
Deborah Alyse McDonald wanted to become a teacher ever since childhood. I would play school with my younger cousins, she says. I always had to be the teacher. I would write out math problems for them to do as class work, and when they turned them in I would check them with my red pen.
Sure enough, Ms. McDonald went on to become a teacher. Over the years, she has taught both music and math to students in grades K-12. (She earned two Bachelor of the Arts degrees one in Music at Howard University and one in Mathematics at Pepperdine University.) She began her teaching career in Newark, New Jersey, her hometown, and now teaches math at Banneker High School in College Park, Georgia. In 2001, she earned her Masters of Public Administration from Troy State University Alabama.
While Ms. McDonald's teaching career has produced a wealth of memorable experiences, one aspect she will certainly not forget was having Chris Bridges (a.k.a Ludacris) as her pupil. He was always pleasant with a positive attitude ready and eager to learn, she recalls. When asked if she saw fame in his future, she concedes, he loved to rap even when he was in high school. But in a moment of typical teacher fairness, she adds, I expected great things from him as I do all my students.
In addition to teaching math at Banneker, Ms. McDonald is also the JV Cheerleading Sponsor(1992-present),Junior Class Sponsor (1993-present), and a member of the Georgia Educator Club (1995-present). In the 2003-2004 school year, Ms. McDonald was named Teacher of the Year for Banneker High School Fulton County. She has also been recognized by Who's Who and Marquis Who's Who of American Women.
In her personal life, Ms. McDonald is blessed with a lovely family. She is married to Sam McDonald, with whom she has two sons, Sam Jr. and Clifford McDonald. Her two beautiful grandchildren are Jaylan and Brianna McDonald.
After 35 years of teaching, Ms. McDonald has a lot of wisdom to share. I became a teacher to instill integrity, accountability, positive attitudes, and respect, she says. I bend over backwards to help [my students] even if they are disrespectful of me. I respect them. I hold them accountable, I challenge them, I'm consistent, and I'm fair. I love them and THEY KNOW IT!!