Inside City Hall: Atlanta politics and hip-hop intertwine in new documentary –  The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Inside City Hall: Atlanta politics and hip-hop intertwine in new documentary – The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Chaos broke out at the CNN Center after a peaceful march turned violent. Around 9 p.m. that night, Former Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms emerged behind a podium at a press conference flanked by two iconic rappers, Killer Mike and T.I., to urge protesters to go home.

The coordination between the city’s highest elected official and well-known musicians underscored the undeniable intersection of politics and hip-hop that’s charted a unique course for the city over the past 50 years. In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s first feature length documentary, Atlanta politicians and rappers alike discuss the city’s stake in the genre.

“I grew up in the aftermath of the Civil Rights movement and hip-hop has been part of the soundtrack of our very lives,” U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock said last week at the premiere of the film at Center Stage Theater in midtown. “Rappers just like preachers tell our story.”

“Tonight is a celebration of culture, a celebration of music, a celebration of people who were oppressed but refused to give into that oppression,” he said.

The documentary featured comments from Warnock, former U.N. ambassador and Atlanta mayor Andrew Young and current Atlanta mayor Andre Dickens who all reflected on how Atlanta’s culture and politics intertwine.

“There’s always been a relationship between the politics and the culture,” Young said in the documentary. “In fact, politics is part of the culture and hip-hop is the voice of today’s people.”

Hats off to our AJC colleagues Ernie Suggs, DeAsia Paige, Ryon Horne and Tyson Horne for their amazing work painting a poignant picture of Atlanta. You can watch the full documentary “The South Got Something to Say” at

Speaking of 50 years of hip-hop, the city is inviting residents to take part in a first-ever time capsule project to gather and bury items that showcase Atlanta’s impact on music since hip-hop was born in the Bronx in 1973.

The city is partnering with the Atlanta History Center to curate a hip-hop time capsule that will remain buried underground for the next 25 years. Organizers are looking for items such as diaries and journals, rare published material, tickets, artist merchandise, tapes, vinyl records, CDs, photographs, keepsakes, signature equipment and more.

Interested residents can submit an email with a picture and description of their chosen item to: [email protected].

A new poll commissioned by opponents of light rail along Atlanta’s Beltline showed that 53% of city voters would prefer upgrades to the current MARTA system rather than install rail, while 43% support the idea of rapid transit along the trail.

The question was posed to 600 registered voters in Atlanta in early October. Fifty-three percent of polled voters also agreed putting rail on the Beltline will damage the pathway connecting neighborhoods by interrupting greenspace and gathering areas. And 60% are worried about safety risks for bikers and pedestrians.

Last month, city leaders gathered for the State of the Beltline event where Dickens and others boasted the long-planned proposal to install transit along the 22-mile loop of trails and parks.

“The promise of transit will serve to integrate with, and not disrupt, what Atlanta has already fallen in love with on the Beltline,” Dickens said.

But not all agree. We suspect the debate over light rail on the Beltline will only intensify as the idea comes closer to fruition.

Got tips, tricks or just want to say hello? Email me at [email protected].

Credit: Miguel Martinez

Credit: Miguel Martinez

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