Mayor Johnson Proclaims May 9th as True Star Media Day

by May 9, 2024In the Press0 comments

True Star Co-Founders DeAnna McLeary Sherman and Na-Taé Thompson graciously listen as Mayor Brandon Johnson reads the proclamation announcing May 9th as “True Star Media Day” in Chicago.

In 2008 Jaylin McClinton was an eighth grader when he joined True Star Media as a graphic design intern on the sales and marketing team. Eventually his newfound passion in media instilled a confidence in him that has remained to this day.

“One of the things I’ve always appreciated about True Star is it really helped me find my voice as a young person,” McClinton said. He continued, “I think a lot of times young people have ideas or thoughts and they just want to be heard.”

Jaylin McClinton posses with McLeary Sherman, Thompson and Scoop Jackson. He is one of 23 recipients to receive the inaugural Legacy League Award.

From True Star Media to the White House as a public policy consultant, McClinton is just one of 23 legacies that were honored at the organization’s 20-year anniversary at Bar Sol, inside of Navy Pier, on May 9th. The same day Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson officially proclaimed as “True Star Media Day,” during his remarks at the fundraiser.

Comedian Michael Issac, the host for the evening, addresses the crowd.

Founded in 2004, this night took guests back to the past of True Star, spotlighted the current Legacy League honorees, and glimpsed the future of what is to come for the organization. Hosted by comedian Michael Issac, the evening was filled with music, compelling dialogue, and celebration.

True Star alumna Shannon Smith moderated a fireside chat with Kevin Warren, President and CEO of the Chicago Bears. Smith completed her time at True Star back in 2010, and now works as a morning news anchor at Cleveland 19 News.

True Star alumna Shannon Smith, of Cleveland 19 News, moderates the fireside chat with Chicago Bears CEO/President Kevin Warren.

Notable recognitions of the night went to True Star instructors Marti Parham and DeShaun “Trig” Adams, recipients of the Impact Award; Columnist/Author Scoop Jackson, Icon Award recipient; and Christopher “Lock” Lockridge who was recognized as True Star’s MVP and scholarship recipient.

McLeary Sherman speaks about DeShaun “Trig” Adams and his loyalty to True Star.

“This 20-year event means the world to us,” said Na-Taé Thompson, co-founder and executive director of True Star. “We’re here to celebrate the legacy that these young people are leaving behind the next generation.”

Christopher “Lock” Lockridge receives a scholarship check from the True Star co-founders.

What started as a newsletter and later a published magazine has now transformed into a digital media company that serves over 5,000 young people each year. This fundraiser is a commemoration to True Star’s empowerment of young Black and Brown creatives in under-resourced communities.

“I’m grateful that True Star Media and your entire team are committed to our city’s young people. You’re committed to helping them find their voice and of course you’re helping them find their bright future,” Johnson said.

In the years to come, the youth media organization aspires to have its own building that will serve as the True Star headquarters and digital studio, provide digital marketing services for small businesses, and increase the number of jobs offered for young people.

“We’re not just a program, we’re a family, a village of caring adults who pour our hearts and talents into the lives of young people,” co-founder DeAnna McLeary Sherman said. “Over the years we’ve seen countless transformations and every success story is a testament to the power of saying ‘yes.’”

If you were unable to attend the 20th anniversary celebration, it is not too late to contribute to making the dreams of Chicago’s youth a reality. Visit to make your donation today.

By Taylor Anthony, Northwestern University/Medill

Instagram: @TaylorAnthonyTV

True Star Media’s content is made possible thanks to donors like you. By donating at you are helping to empower young creators and transform lives.


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