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You have purchased 3 articles, and you have 7 remaining before the subscription expires on 12/09/2004 11:09 PM.

August 10, 2002
Section: Local
Page: 1B

Joyner, Jackson fans `party with a purpose'
Cherryl T. Watson

By Cherryl T. Watson
Clarion Ledger Staff Writer

The thunderous ovation of a few hundred sounded like thousands in the wee hours of Friday morning when Tom Joyner grooved his way onto the stage at Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson.

"We're in the 'Sip. The Dirty South. Mississippi. And we're partying with a purpose at the Sky Show," he said.

The Tom Joyner Southwest Airlines Sky Show had landed in Jackson, and the whole country was listening by radio. Joyner was joined by the rest of the Tom Joyner Morning Show crew, Sybil Wilkes, J. Anthony Brown, Myra Jay and Miss Dupree.

An estimated 500 people attended the four-hour, nationally syndicated show that began at 5 a.m. People began gathering for the show as early as 12:30 a.m.

"Tom Joyner is my hero. His voice alone `is' empowerment," said Janice Davis, who drove to Jackson after her 12-hour nursing shift in Vicksburg. "I know of no other individual who has the power to pull people together like he does."

Joyner uses his Sky Shows to raise money for The Tom Joyner Foundation, which helps students at historically black colleges and universities with financial assistance. Each month, the foundation assists a different historically black school. The show also encourages voter registration and participation.

"It's a party with a purpose - and that's voter registration," Joyner said.

"When Tom Joyner takes a stand for any cause, I stand behind him," said Gene C. Young, a retired educator from Jackson State University.

The Sky Show differs from the regular daily shows in that it is broadcast live from a new city each week and features live entertainment.

Bobby Womack, whose hits include Harry Hippie and Think it Over, was the guest performer Friday.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was on hand to register voters. According to Derrick Johnson, state coordinator for the Voter Empowerment Project in Mississippi, 17,000 voters have signed up so far this year.

"Voting is the key, and the NAACP implores everyone to get out and vote, vote, vote," Johnson said.

Mississippi Blood Services' bloodmobile was also at Thalia Mara Hall to encourage blood donations.

Corporate sponsors and local organizations gave a total of $55,000 and four laptop computers to the foundation. Contributors included Red Lobster, Budweiser, Blockbuster Video, Shaver's Choice, Nokia, Cingular Wireless and the International Association of Black Firefighters.


"Tom Joyner is my hero. His voice alone `is' empowerment. I know of no other individual who has the power to pull people together like he does."

- Janice Davis, Vicksburg nurse


Radio personality Tom Joyner brings his popular, nationally syndicated morning show to downtown Jackson's Thalia Mara Hall on Friday.

Vickie D. King/The Clarion-Ledger


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