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20 March 2017

Newly Minted Majority Black City Posts Abysmal Early Voting Numbers

"People died for our right to vote," is a phrase often used by civil rights organizations like the NAACP to encourage black participation at the ballot box.

Down in the newly-created City of South Fulton, however, black voter participation is pathetic.

Based upon new numbers released by elections officials, it will take a whole lot of encouragement to increase black voter turnout in the new City of South Fulton.

Data provided by the Georgia Secretary of State's office indicates that of the 62,865 individuals registered to vote in South Fulton on March 1, 2017, only 4,017 cast ballots during the nineteen day early voting period that started February 27th and ended March 17th.

With the very first election day just hours away in the new City of South Fulton, voter turnout stands at a paltry 6.4%. This stands in stark contrast to the 73.4% turnout for the referendum that created the new municipality.

The 2010 Census places the population of South Fulton at 90.8% black and 2.6% Hispanic or Latino.

South Fulton City Council candidate Catherine Rowell attributes the extremely depressed turnout in part to early voting hours that are inconvenient to citizens.

"I think the hours for early voting were less than idea [sic] with the polls opening at 8:30 a.m. (compared to 7 a.m.) and closing at 6:00 p.m.," Rowell wrote in a Facebook post. "In essence, making it impossible for anyone who works intown to vote without leaving work early."

Rowell predicted that less than 10,000 people would participate in the March 21st election.

Polls open in South Fulton at 7AM, March 21st, and close at 7PM.

Nearly seven dozen candidates are competing for seven city council seats as well as the position of mayor.

For #MusicMonday, "RMB," A Mashup By Robin Skouteris

"RMB" A Mashup by Robin Skouteris

Vanessa Carlton Entertains Her Extended Atlanta Family with an Hour of Songs and Stories

Promoters billed it as a concert to promote a new album. But for the 300+ people at City Winery's concert hall in Atlanta, the cozy performance by Grammy Award-nominee Vanessa Carlton could easily be described as an extended family reunion.

Seated behind a piano, Carlton regaled the capacity crowd with songs and stories -- particularly stories about her grandfather, whose presence was felt throughout the performance in the form of an oil painting crafted by him that loomed large on stage.

(Grammy Award nominated artist Vanessa Carlton's newest album, "Earlier Things Live," is now on sale. Image courtesy Vanessa Carlton.)
"My grandfather's original last name was Liberman," Carlton told her fans. "He changed it to Lee to sound less ethnic. Basically, we're Jews from Brooklyn, and we should be who we are."

The assembly of Vanessa Carlton enthusiasts, which was settled in the shadow of large wooden casks containing chardonnay and other wines, came near and far to see Carlton tickle the ivory keys. Rob Taylor and Cathy Chisholm journeyed from Charleston, South Carolina just to hear their favorite artist play. Another ticketholder said she caught a red-eye flight back to Atlanta from San Diego for Saturday night's show.

Lines began forming at 6PM for 8 o'clock event that opened with violinist Skye Steele Illinois-native singer-songwriter Tristen

Carlton's set started shortly after 9PM with the tune that made her famous, "A Thousand Miles." The 2002 Billboard Music Award nominee was joined on stage by violinist Skye Steele whose strings added extra character to Carlton's greatest hits.

Spanning an hour, the program featured eight songs from Carlton's previous work and some new music, "Love is an Art." Carlton prefaced each musical selection with a story about the song itself, which delighted the mostly female audience.

Carlton's husband, Deer Tick band member John McCauley, even had a song dedicated to him during the show, underscoring the familial nature of the entire event.

The Milford, Pennsylvania-native's Atlanta show was part of a multicity tour, promoting "Earlier Things Live," the fifth studio album by Carlton.

"Earlier Things Live," is a collection of live versions of Vanessa's earlier work and includes fan favorites such as the Grammy nominated "A Thousand Miles" and "White Houses." Additionally, there is a special duet with husband John McCauley of the Deer Tick Song "In Our Time."

13 March 2017

Atlanta Housing Authority Section 8 Waiting List Opens March 15

The Atlanta Housing Authority (AHA) will begin accepting pre-applications Wednesday, March 15, for its tenant-based Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) Waiting List and for the first time ever, city of Atlanta residents will receive residency preference.

AHA's HCVP Waiting List will open at 9:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, March 15, 2017, and close at 5:00 p.m., EST Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

"AHA recognizes the growing need for housing for Atlanta's working families as well as the elderly and people with qualifying disabilities," says ReneƩ Bentley, senior vice president of Partnerships & People Investments at The Atlanta Housing Authority. "Given that Atlantans have expressed the need for housing close to home and by opening the waiting list with a city of Atlanta residency preference, we may potentially support 30,000 low-income households, who work and live in Atlanta proper, in finding housing that suits their needs."

Individuals 18 years of age or older or an emancipated minor, as defined by Georgia law when the Waiting List opens on March 15, are eligible to submit a pre-application online at

Individuals who require special assistance in completing a pre-application because of a disability, need for language translation services or other communication formats in order to complete the application can call the AHA Waiting List Hotline -- (855) 242-7701 -- between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15 through Tuesday, March 21. Pre-applications will not be available nor can they be submitted in paper form or in-person at any AHA locations. Only one application per person will be accepted.

Interested individuals who do not have internet access may submit their pre-application online at one of the internet access sites listed on or at any of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library locations.

Those who submit an online application will not automatically become part of the Waiting List. Instead, a computerized, random selection process will select 30,000 registrants to establish the official waiting list.

Ali & Atlanta Film Examines How a 1970s Fight Transformed Both City and Fighter into The Greatest

October 26, 1970 was perhaps one of the biggest nights in Atlanta history.

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali began his comeback, after three and a half years out of the ring, on that autumn night in the South.

(A program and ticket from the 1970 Ali comeback fight against top-ranked contender Jerry Quarry.)
5,100 people packed the small municipal auditorium located in the center of Georgia's capital city. But the 15-round bout wasn't particularly eventful. Top-ranked contender Jerry Quarry didn't answer the bell at the start of round 4, handing the 1960 Summer Olympic medalist a victory.

Still, the fight's legacy looms larger than the fight itself. The contest's incredible impact on both Ali's career and the City of Atlanta remains a story of legend.

That story, the story of how Atlanta hosted Ali's comeback, is at the heart of a new documentary produced by veteran director Art Jones.

Jones, whose previous work includes a feature length documentary (Thirteen Percent) about the devastating toll HIV/AIDS is taking on the black community in America, places Ali v. Quarry under the microscope for an intimate look at how the fight was organized from start to finish.

"We started going down this rabbithole to find out who were the people who made this happen," Jones said. "What were the forces that came together to get [Ali] back in the ring?"

Ali's three and a half years out of boxing came as a result of his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War.

“I will not go 10,000 miles from here to help murder and kill another poor people simply to continue the domination of the white slave master over the darker people of the earth,” Ali said at the time.

The World Heavyweight Champion refused to be inducted into the armed forces in 1966. He was ultimately convicted of draft evasion, stripped of his title and was unable to receive boxing license in any city or state except Atlanta, Georgia.

The documentary with the working title "Ali's Comeback" is a film that tells about the little known politicians and businessmen who navigated a circuitous and challenging path to bring the World Heavyweight Champion back to boxing after three and a half years. It also details how Ali's Atlanta fight was the precursor to some of The Greatest's greatest matches, and examines how the event moved Atlanta even closer to becoming the world class city it is today.

The documentary features interviews with former Atlanta Mayors Sam Massell and Andrew Young, attorney and Emory University graduate Robert Kassel who provided a $600,000 letter of credit to finance the fight, family and friends of Muhammad Ali and the family of Jerry Quarry.

"Our story is less about Ali as it is about those who made it possible for him to go back in the ring," Jones said of his film.

The documentary is slated for a June premiere date.

07 March 2017

Famed Budweiser Clydesdales Return to Atlanta for Saturday's Annual St. Pats Parade

(The iconic Budweiser Clydesdales return to Atlanta for the 134th annual St. Patrick's Parade. Image courtesy Budweiser.)
The world famous Budweiser Clydesdales are becoming a fixture of Atlanta parades.

Anheuser-Busch's iconic horses will trot down Peachtree Street to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Atlanta for the third time in four years.

The annual event, sponsored by the Atlanta St. Patrick's Parade Committee, steps off Saturday, March 11th at noon.

A bevy of bands, floats, dogs, llamas, Star Wars stormtroopers and a giant Irish flag will parade down Peachtree from 15th Street to 5th Street.

Spectators are encouraged to pick out a good spot along the route early. Nearly a quarter million line the streets for this yearly tradition, and the good seats are often snatched quickly.

Parade organizers say volunteers are still needed to make the 2017 event a success. Email to sign up.

Visit for more parade info.

03 March 2017

Ludacris, Jermaine Dupri, & Rich Homie Quan On Tap to Showcase Atlanta at SXSW

Three of Atlanta's biggest ambassadors are headed to Austin, Texas next week for the world-famous South by Southwest (SXSW) festival.

, a movement dedicated to attracting and retaining top talent in metro Atlanta, announced that hip hop stars Jermaine Dupri and Rich Homie Quan will headline ChooseATL’s exclusive party at SXSW on Monday, 13 March 2017.

Hundreds of tech, film and music professionals will get a true Atlanta music experience with a DJ set by Grammy-winning artist, record producer, songwriter and rapper Jermaine Dupri. His hypnotic set will be followed by a live performance from five-time BET Awards and BET Hip Hop Awards nominee Rich Homie Quan.

Actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges will kick off the day's events, appearing at the Choose ATL Southern Brunch & Conversation to discuss how Atlanta nurtured his rise to fame.

The brunch and party is being hosted in partnership with lifestyle and marketing company Culture Republic. Maggie Mae's on Sixth Street, in Austin, is currently being transformed into the “ChooseATL House” for one day.

“With more than 300 recording studios, 60 music venues and 30 annual festivals, our city’s music scene has launched hundreds of artists from all genres,” said Kate Atwood, executive director of ChooseATL. “We’re excited to present three of Atlanta’s most notable artists and some of the biggest names in hip hop – Ludacris, Jermaine Dupri and Rich Homie Quan – as we showcase our region during SXSW 2017.”

ChooseATL’s activation during SXSW is made possible by premier sponsor Georgia Power, as well as generous sponsorships from AR|PR, Delta Air Lines, Pinewood Atlanta Studios and more.

27 February 2017

Andrew Rayel Returns to Atlanta for a Few Magical Moments at the Gold Room

Andrew Rayel made his moment at Tomorrowworld 2015 legendary, performing both a solo set and a short back to back with Ferry Corsten for the Atlanta Trance Family.

The Moldolva DJ, once hailed by Armin van Buuren as "the modern day Mozart," returns to Atlanta for a special April 15th show at the Gold Room to make a few new moments for his fans across the South.

The live DJ performances of Andrew Rayel are an art form that exudes an unbridled enthusiasm for the music he plays. His onstage performances are electric and filled with physical energy, leaving him drenched in a well-earned sweat after every set.

Since his first full-length studio album, 2014's "Find Your Harmony," Rayel embarked upon a three-year period of nonstop touring that took him to world famous events like Atlanta's Tomorrowworld, Belgium's Tomorrowland and Miami's Ultra Music Festival.

Andrew Rayel is now releasing his second studio album, "Moments," following several stints of intense focus in the recording studio.

“I’ll Be There,” the first single from the album, is out now. The piano-laden number with reverberating bassline and a bouncy beat that drives the song forward features Eric Lumiere.

The 16-track album also includes collaborations with Emma Hewitt (“My Reflection”), Christina Novelli (“Lighthouse”), Max Vangeli (“Heavy Love”) and KhoMha (“All Systems Down”).

"Moments" official release date is May 5, but you can listen to "I'll Be There" here.

Tickets for Andrew Rayel at the Gold Room are available for purchase here

Atlanta Democrat Behind Proposal to Name Two Streets After Samuel L. Jackson & Tyler Perry

Georgia State Senator Donzella James (D - Atlanta) resumed her street naming spree at the State Capitol this year.

James, the legislator behind a 2016 proposal to re-name a south Fulton County road in honor of controversial preacher Creflo Dollar, introduced two bills that would dedicate a couple of heavily traveled Atlanta thoroughfares to entertainers Samuel L. Jackson and Tyler Perry.

Senate Resolution 243 changes Lee Street, from the Mall at West End to the entrance of Fort McPherson, to Tyler Perry Highway.

Senate Resolution 298 adds the name of actor Samuel L. Jackson and his wife, LaTanya, to a portion of State Route 3 near the Atlanta University Center.

Both bills declare it is "abundantly fitting and proper" for Jackson and Perry to be honored with a road bearing their respective names.

S.R. 243 and S.R. 298 were both referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.

For #MusicMonday, "Hot 'N Cold" by Katy Perry

"Hot 'N Cold" by Katy Perry