Eminem

‘One of the greatest artists of all time’ – the Rolling Stone

Marshall Mathers or Eminem was born on October 17, 1972, in Saint Joseph, Missouri. He was the only child of Deborah R. Nelson Mathers-Briggs and Marshall Bruce Mathers, Jr. His father abandoned the family when he was only 18 months old and was raised solely by his mother. Marshall moved from numerous cities in his childhood but eventually settled in Detroit in his teens. Marshall’s uncle, Ronald “Ronnie” Nelson (mentioned in many of his songs) first introduced him to hip-hop music at age 11 and from then on he frequently participated in freestyle ‘rap battles’ on the east side of Detroit.  Although he struggled at first he succeeded in a predominantly African-American industry at 17, gaining the respect of underground hip-hop audiences.

Eminem was signed to Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records in 1998 and worked with producer Dr. Dre one year later in 1999 to release his first major studio album, The Slim Shady LP. The album was a huge success becoming 4X platinum certified by the RIAA. Eminem used his new found power to tell realistic stories of his harsh personal life. Marshall was driven to be successful and popular in order to sell records, but he did that because he was trying to get away from a poor and disadvantaged life. The albums lyrics were extremely controversial, with constant references to drug use, sexual acts, mental instability and over-the-top violence. On the other hand he dealt with more serious themes of his life such as poverty, marital and family difficulties while responding to criticism. He became a social icon with influence over many people through his music. What he says in his songs delivers a message to young people, and they look up to him because he stuck to his goals, and made it. He was a beacon of hope for many people because he stayed true to himself and didn’t care what the critics were saying.

His second major album, The Marshall Mathers LP was released in May 2000 and smashed any previous records in the U.S. It sold 1.76 million copies in the first week becoming the fastest selling solo album in United States history. In his second single ‘The Way I Am’, he reveals to his fans the pressures from his record company to sell more records than he did in the Slim Shady LP. Eminem’s third single ‘Stan’ (which uses Dido’s ‘Thank You’) deals with his new found fame, taking on the persona of a deranged fan, (Stan) who kills himself at the end of the song. The song is listed by many as the greatest hip-hop song of all time, being ranked #3 on a list of the greatest rap songs in history by Q magazine. His songs use realistic story telling that deliver a message that touches the hearts of people worldwide. Eminem has travelled to the top of the music industry and is praised by people all over the world as “The King of Hip-Hop” – Rolling Stone. He has 13 Grammy Awards, has sold more than 86.5 million records worldwide to date, has totalled over 1 billion views on his official Vevo page on YouTube and has nearly 50 million likes on Facebook.

Eminem has inspired and influenced millions of people with his music. People criticise him for his ‘sickening’ and ‘childish’ lyrics when you only have to look into the meanings behind the songs to realise the power of his musical genius. People relate to him because he talks in real terms about struggles in life that many people have to face. They feel that he is speaking for them and this influences them, and that’s where he gets his real power from. He uses his power of influence for good by founding his own charity named The Marshall Mathers Foundation, assisting disadvantaged youth in his home town of Detroit and all over America. Eminem struggled through adversity and poverty to become one of the wealthiest and respected artists to date.

– by Matt Benic, 10ENG

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Muhammad Ali

I hated every minute of training but I said, “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

A quote said by a very influential boxer by the name of Muhammad Ali. Muhammad Ali, an American man who was a world renowned Boxer, being World Heavyweight Champion 10 times, along with a gold medal at the Rome Olympics in 1960.

Muhammad Ali, originally know as Cassius Clay jnr. was born in Kentucky, USA on the 17th of January 1942. With self-motivation and self-belief Muhammad Ali made a name for himself, putting him in the position he is today. With a total of 61 fights, in his professional career, he had 56 wins, 37 of them by KO and only 5 losses; he is a true sporting champion. He wasn’t only a boxer but a poet too. Ali influenced people by the poetry he said, along with the belief he had in himself.

Muhammad Ali was directed to boxing by a local Louisville police officer and boxing coach after they encountered him fuming over the theft of his bicycle at the age of 12. In Ali’s amateur boxing career he won many titles such as: six Kentucky Golden Gloves, two national Golden Gloves, Amateur Athletic Union National Title and the Light Heavyweight gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics. Muhammad Ali also had an astonishing 100 wins to 5 losses in his amateur career.

One of Muhammad Ali’s influential times in his boxing career was when he threw his Olympic gold medal in the Ohio River. Ali did this because he was refused service at a ‘whites-only’ restaurant, even after he represented the country in the Olympics and won gold. This influenced people of all nationalities in the way he made a stand on something that was important to him and people look up to him because of that. Ali didn’t want to feel like a slave to white people and by him throwing his medal in the Ohio River was a symbol of what he believes in.

Power over people wasn’t an intention of Muhammad Ali but it was him getting power over himself and then giving advice. By Ali telling himself and the world he was the best was only to convince himself. It may be taken at arrogance but really it was for self-good. People followed him because of that, especially sports enthusiasts. On top of this Muhammad Ali used his poetry skills in a way to help people to achieve their goals not only in sport but also with life.

Some say Muhammad Ali was corrupt and plain stupid, but with his power Ali proved to himself and the world that he is the greatest boxer of all time and to show this, he was crowned in 1999 by Sports Illustrated the ‘Sportsman of the Century’. Ali has influenced people in many different ways all for the good, with his motivation coming from the determination and desperation to succeed from within. Muhammad Ali is a good influential, sporting legend with all good intentions.

– by Matty Gunn, 10ENG

Mark Zuckerberg

As the youngest billionaire in the world at only 27 years of age and ranking 9th in Forbes most powerful person, Mark Zuckerberg is in a position of power over all 800 million Facebook users worldwide. He is a computer programmer and internet entrepreneur who co-founded Facebook 7 years ago and has made it into the popular site it is today.

While studying at Harvard, Zuckerberg came up with this great idea of a social networking site that would be able to keep everyone on his campus in touch via the internet. It was originally ‘only a Harvard thing’ but since then it has spread rapidly. What he planned to only affect his classmates has turned into a multi-billion dollar, world-wide phenomenon. On February 4, 2004, he launched ‘thefacebook.com’ from his Harvard University dorm which was later changed to just ‘facebook.com’. He’s now the CEO and president of the site which has now become one of the biggest websites in the world. It is estimated that he currently has a net worth of $17.5 billion which is only expected to rise in years to come.

Some people believe he stole the idea of Facebook from the Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss who also went to Harvard. They sued Zuckerberg for $140 million claiming that he broke a verbal agreement and that they were the ones who came up with the idea of a social networking site that they were going to call ‘ConnectU’. Although, it wouldn’t be the first of kind because there were already other social networking sites like MySpace around at that time.

He has built everything in his company from scratch and has earnt all of the power that he’s gained from it, managing not to abuse it either. He has loads of information about the hundreds of millions of Facebook users around the world that he could do anything he wants with, but he respects peoples’ privacy by putting privacy settings that he recommends to use. He could even be richer than he is at the moment if he wanted to. He could easily add more advertisements to the site to increase his profits but he doesn’t because he’s not greedy or power-hungry. He is purely focused on working towards a better site to make world communication more open and so everyone can have the chance to post their opinions. Zuckerberg says himself that ‘It’s not because of the amount of money. For me and my colleagues, the most important thing is that we create an open information flow for people.’

Overall, Mark Zuckerberg is a good person. He only intended for it to help a small amount of people communicate but it became the colossal site it is today which has transformed the internet. He never meant for it to hurt anyone or to steal anyone’s ideas. He created the site because it’s what he loves doing and he wanted to help people communicate more.

– by Katrina Palmer

Jim Jones

Jim Jones was a self-obsessed American Cult leader who manipulated the poor and vulnerable, demanded their complete obedience, and ordered the murder of thousands of people, including two hundred children, to take their own lives in a jungle settlement in South America called ‘Jonestown’, constructed around his own warped and paranoid fantasy.

Jim Jones once said, “I am the way, the truth and the light. No one can come to the father but through me.” James Warren Jones was born in Indiana to a family that was struggling to cope with the effects of the Great depression. From a young age Jim felt sorry for the poor and had empathy for them, and as a teenager he became strongly involved with the Pentecostal Church, preaching to black and white people on the streets. With his jet-black hair and olive skin, his shades and his fixed confident grin, Jones was a handsome and charismatic person, not only that but a person that would convince and manipulate many people.

But even from a young age there were hints of a darker side to Jones. He clearly did not appreciate rejection, and once shot a friend who did not do as he commanded. For many years his wife Marceline, who held traditional Methodists views, suffered his jealous and manipulative behaviour. When Jones for a short period of time rejected God early in the marriage, he threatened to kill himself if she continued to pray and he forcefully and unsuccessfully tried to adopt a 12-year-old son of Marceline’s cousin, against the boy’s wishes. His behaviour was often hypercritical, he demanded clean living for those around him.

In 1952 Jones seemed to have recovered his faith, partly because he realized that his wife’s Methodism religion was interested in the plight of the poor. But Jones personal views, mixture of Christianity and socialism, traditional family vales and social liberalism led him to establish his own church, the ‘Peoples Temple’ which he would have a high ranking position. The people’s temple set up a soup kitchen and offered support to the poor and outcasts, such as former prisoners and drug addicts. Jones promised miracles for all kinds of illnesses, including cancer in an attempt to recruit more followers.

Jones did not do much good for the people that followed his ways and views. Jones just thought that he was doing well, when in reality he was doing the complete opposite. Unless convincing parents and children to commit suicide was a good thing to do, I think not. He was motivated by his own power hungry appetite and self interest.

In 1965 Jones moved with his family and 140 followers to Ukiah in northern California, apparently because he believed it would be safe from a nuclear attack. By 1968, as his following dwindled he affiliated the Peoples temple with the Disciples of Christ, a larger church group, which gave him access to 1.5 million members. But as his cult grew even bigger, so did the scrutiny from journalists and politicians, accusations began to emerge that Jones was taking fund from cult members for his personal use. Eger to escape in 1977 Jones and his followers moved to Guyana, where, in the rainforest, they set up a commune called ‘Jonestown’. In the process, his followers handed to Jones control of all their possessions. People were already moving giving him control of possessions and following Jones wherever he wanted with his manipulative ways and his persuasive manner. He had clear control and brainwashed many people but as he got away from all the suspicion of the public eye, Jones began to tighten his grip on his followers. There were reports of beatings and death threats, and each person was required to confess their sexual practices and fantasies, which women were, encouraged to criticize their husbands’ skills in bed.

On the 17th of November 1978 United States representative for California Leo Ryan arrived in Guyana with a group of journalists and concerned family members to inspect the camp. After fourteen members of the cult agreed to defect, Jones gripped by paranoia believed that his fantasy was crumbling around him. On 18th of November, as Ryan and the defectors made their way to the airplane that was due to fly them home to the United States, they were attacked by members of the Peoples Temple. Jones got people to attack others, which they would possibly never of even considered if they hadn’t been overcome by the control of Jones. Ryan was shot dead, along with three journalists and one defector. Back in the camp Jones ordered his followers whom he had trained for mass suicide on many occasions to come together drink a punch laced with cyanide. The vast majority went through with it unthinkingly; babies had the lethal cocktail force into their mouths with syringes, which anyone who objected was coerced or shot. Jones took an easy way out shooting himself in the head. When Guyanese troops arrived at the scene to pursue those who had committed murder on the airstrip, the sight of nearly a thousand bodies, men, women and children greeted them, slumped together on the ground. From Jones manic desire of domination and when that control was threatened, he was prepared to bring destruction down on all those around him. He had ultimate control over everyone who was brainwashed and believed every word that came out of his mouth.

He was most certainly a monster and will be remembered for a long time for all the wrong reasons. Anyone who could convince not only adults to commit suicide for him but also force their kids to commit suicide as well had to have a very manipulative, persuasive, cunning, selfish and power hungry persona. Jones was someone who will go down in history that’s for sure, someone who had men, women and children’s deaths on his conscious, their blood was forever on his hands.

– by Mia Holt, 10eng

William Shakespeare

1564-1616

Little is known about Shakespeare’s life. He was born in Stratford 1564 into a burgess of fluctuating fortunes. William attended a local grammar school and at the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway whom was some years his senior and already pregnant.

At some point he moved to London to begin his career. He started by writing plays his earlier plays were Richard the third and Henry the eighth.  Shakespeare’s work has made a lasting impression on later theatre and literature. In particular, he expanded the dramatic potential of characterisation, plot, language, and genre. Until Romeo and Juliet, for example, romance had not been viewed as a worthy topic for tragedy. Soliloquies had been used mainly to convey information about characters or events; but Shakespeare used them to explore characters’ minds.

His work heavily influenced later poetry. The Romantic poets attempted to revive Shakespearean verse drama, though with little success. Critic George Steiner described all English verse dramas from Coleridge to Tennyson as “feeble variations on Shakespearean themes.” Shakespeare has power in his words which influence those who witness his plays or read his books. Shakespeare’s legendary talent let him achieve this power. His work has no outcome other than entertainment to it; his work is incorruptible as art. I overall see him as a person who used his position of power for good.

– by Joel Bienefelt, 10ENG

Kate Middleton

Her Royal Highness Princess William Arthur Phillip Louis, Duchess of Cambridge, Countess of Stonem, Baroness Carrickfergus. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Kate Middleton. No matter what people know her as, everyone knows her. The recent princess is one of the world’s most watched people. If she gets married in a lace covered dress with a nine-foot train, thousands of people rush to get their own lace covered wedding dress. If she goes to the supermarket pushing her own trolley wearing a green cardigan, millions of women go shopping the next day in a green cardigan, pushing their own trolley. Catherine may not be the founder of a massive worldwide company, and she most definitely is not an evil man with a particular interest in genocide, but she still has a lot of control, a lot of power in her tiny palms.

After a quick search on the internet you can find out almost everything you could ever want to know about Catherine. What outfit she wore yesterday, what charities she supports and what diet she did before her wedding. She has the eyes of almost every media organisation on her, all the time. Everything she does is scrutinised and shoved in the public’s face. Her position in the English royal family means that everything she does is then taken and people model themselves after it. When people are taking everything a person does and modelling him or herself around it, the person in the spotlight has a lot of power in their hands. Catherine knows the power she has over people, and every aspect of their lives. She continues to maintain a near perfect reputation and hasn’t done anything silly since she was in high school, therefore using the power she has for good and nothing less.

Catherine, or at the time Kate Middleton, had a crush on someone in her dorm at University. That someone was Prince William, who had a crush on her too. Soon enough, they were in love and Catherine was being hailed as the future Mrs William. From that moment she was being watched, thus having a lot of power. It wasn’t a choice thing, or something she worked overly hard for, but something that resulted from her romance with a prince.

Purely in existing the way she does, not stepping out of line and always holding herself in a majestic manner, Catherine is using her power for good and only good. If she decided that she would act horribly in public and dress in scanty clothes, then perhaps she wouldn’t be using her power for good but instead bad or evil.

– by Cassie Burge, 10ENG

Gaddafi

When Muammar Muhammad Gaddafi became ruler of Libya, he took advantage of everything he could, leaving Libya in a horrific state of poverty.  This was all because he wanted wealth and he wanted power. Libya is now left to pick up the pieces and start again.

Muammar Muhammad Gaddafi, who we know by the name of Gaddafi was born in Surt, Libya in 1942. Libya gained independence in 1951 under a Western leader, King Idris. Gaddafi joined the military. After graduating, Gaddafi slowly rose through the ranks of the military. King Idris became a man who many disliked so Gaddafi became involved with a movement of young officers who tried to overthrow the king. On September 1st, 1969, Gaddafi staged a coup to seize control, King Idris was overthrown. Gaddafi was named commander in chief of the armed forces and at the age of 27, Gaddafi had become the ruler of Libya. He gained support in the early days of his rule but his corruption, military interference in Africa and human rights abuse turned a lot of the Libyan population against him, as he was accused of supporting terrorism. In the last decade of his rule, after Gaddafi and his government were nearly overthrown they he spent months on the run, until October 20, 2011 when Gaddafi was killed in his hometown.

This man was in power for 42 years, he lived the majority of his life as a ruler. He was a wealthy man who let nothing stand in his way. For many of these years he abused the rights a leader should have, he took advantage of his power. Libya was a place great for oil, Gaddafi knew this and he soon took it away from other countries, when he did this he did it for himself. Gaddafi was a selfish man, and the income that he received from this oil he used for his own good. Libya was struggling, for food, for water for the bare necessities but Gaddafi would not give them these things. The country had the money, they had more than enough but Gaddafi saw it as his and would not share.

He shut down American and British military bases in Libya, has he thought they would be better off on their own and he wanted to be fully independent. He did not want help from anyone; Gaddafi had a mindset that he would be able to do all things himself, with the help of his close friends and family. He made sure of this by making his government only friends and family, these where the people in power, these where the people he trusted and believed in, the people who would never betray him no bad things got.

A man with great power that turned monststrous just like Gaddafi had no right to be in power, I believe that to be a ruler you need to lead your country into victory not into poverty. Gaddafi didn’t quite get his country to victory and I don’t believe that what he did to his country was fair at all. He was a human being who misunderstood what it meant to be in power. Gaddafi’s body was put on display in a meat room, it was open to the public, this is disgusting and no human being deserves that no matter what they have done.

– by Ally Reid, 10ENG