The Sound of the Fury
The Sound of the Fury
The Olympic City through the Prism of Black Atlanta’s Expressive Culture
Chapter six focuses on Mayor Maynard Jackson’s creation of the City of Atlanta’s Bureau of Cultural Affairs, the first institution within city government dedicated to the support of artists, their creative expressions and arts organizations. The goal of the Bureau was to make all forms of art—established and experimental—more accessible to Atlanta’s citizens. The Bureau empowered a multitude of artists and arts organizations through city funded grants and broke new ground in stabling a niche for black musical genres such as jazz and classical music as well as alternative films. This set the stage for Atlanta to boom in terms of black popular culture, as Jackson’s black political power yielded an expressive arm, a black arts movement unique to Atlanta, making it ripe for popular culture to be spewed and accessed critically. “Dirty South” rap music evolved out of this black arts movement, and opened black Atlanta to social commentary from a new generation of artists that lived in the underbelly trampled over by Atlanta’s pursuit of a global commercial center. This counter-narrative and demonstration, gave a southern perspective of popular culture spewed and assessed critically in the city. It was grounded in Hip-hop and centered on this particular sector of youth culture, the meanings and significance of a recently self-defined southern–style of rap and Hip-hop culture and was established and promoted by Organized Noize’s OutKast and Goodie Mob, rap groups hailing from Atlanta’s Southwest side. Their music imbibed an aesthetic that was particular to the South in general and Atlanta in particular but was consumed by markets nationwide. In this music, artists call out Atlanta’s black politicians and their governing practices. Using popular culture from Atlanta provides a useful scope through which to view the lingering tensions and trends that were particular to Atlanta as a result of the “Olympification” of the city.
Keywords: Atlanta Hustlers, black internationalism, Bohannon, Brick, Bunny Jackson-Ransom, Cameo, City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs, Confederate Battle Flag, crack cocaine, Dirty South, displacement, Dungeon Family, First Class Inc, Freaknik, gentrification, globalism, Goodie Mob, International Olympic Committee, LaFace Records, MARTA, Miami Boys, neoliberalism, Olympification, Organized Noize, OutKast, police brutality, political economy, Red Dogs, Rodney King Rebellion, S.O.S. Band, Sigidi Abdullah, Soul Food, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, The Atlanta Project, urban renewal, Vine City, YEEK
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