Empower Atlanta Magazine 2021 Entertainment Edition

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Kevin “Coach K” Lee And Pierre “P” Thomas-Quality Control Founders


Lil Baby


City Girls




Lil Yachty


Georgia Overall Covid-19 Status


Entrepreneurship 101-Creating Community




Duke Deuce


Jordan Hollywood


Layton Greene


Bankroll Freddie


Metro Marrs

28 Blood Cancer: Its Time To Make An Impact Together




There Is Something I Have To Tell You All


Collective Gallery


Ozzie Areu


Cocoa Brown


Georgia Film Tax Credit


Financial Tips For The Self-Employed 43 Stevie Baggs, Jr


Gerry G. Garvin


How To Discover The Dna Of Your Brand 48 Kevin Ross


Eric Bell


Bronzelens Festival 52 Freedom To Vote Act 54




From the










PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Towanna Hogue MANAGING EDITOR Jada Hogue DESIGN EDITOR Saheed Adio ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Scott Tyler ADVERTISING SALES EXECUTIVE Jerome Hogue, II CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Davaul Carter Elijah D. Davis Kristin Hoose Stephanie Howard Adam Young CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Shamaal Bloodman Marcelo Cantu Cameron Kirkland of Cam Kirk Studios Chad Lawson Christopher Parsons Travis Shinn Gunner Stahl Bethlehem Taye

Empower Atlanta Magazine (ISSN 2693-339X) is published quarterly, four issues per year by T.H. Publishing. Principal office address: 1775 Parker Road, C-210, Conyers, GA 30094. Mailing address: P.O. Box 362, Conyers, GA 30012. Main number: 1 (833) LOVEATL. Copyright © 2020 by Towanna Hogue. All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher. The one-year domestic print subscription rate is $20.00. The digitalsubscription rate is $4.00.The single edition rate is $5.00.



Greetings Everyone! Welcome to the 2021 Entertainment Edition of Empower Atlanta Magazine! We are excited to promote people in the entertainment industry and contribute to Atlanta being known as the Hollywood of the South. We are honored to feature the Founders of Quality Control Music Kevin “Coach K” Lee and Pierre “P” Thomas. They have a diverse group of talented artists on their roster, including the Migos, Lil Baby, Lil Yachty, City Girls, and more! They are dominating the music industry and are creating an empire. They are also venturing out into the sports and film industries. Both Coach K and “P” believe in giving back and supporting those in need in the Atlanta Metropolitan and surrounding areas. They have supported food drives, back to school events and donated to causes to help make a difference in our communities. They are truly humbled and give from their heart with little to no promoting of all that they do, which speaks volumes about who they are and why they are successful businessmen. We have Cameron Kirkland, also known as Cam Kirk of Cam Kirk Studios and Collective Gallery. They are some of the most talented photographers in Atlanta. His team consists of Scrill Davis, John Canon, Jalen Amir, Ryder Brooks, Dani B, and Bre’Ann White. They have worked with artists such as Cardi B, Gucci Mane, and Latto and brands such as Nike, PayPal, Bacardi, and more. Comedian and actress Cocoa Brown. She is not only one funny momma, but 100% real and is unapologetic about it. Her book, titled Famous Enough, will be available soon on all platforms. Retired athlete, actor, inspirational speaker, and brand ambassador Stevie Baggs, Jr. discusses the importance of health and wellness and his book WOKE. We have acclaimed chef, author, and TV host Gerry “G” Garvin, who has opened Low Country Steak in Atlanta, wrote a book titled A Message To My Children, and will be releasing his memoir, The Making of a Chef, in 2022. Ozzie Areu, Founder and CEO of Areu Bros. Studios, the first major Latino-owned and operated media studio in the U.S. He contributes his success to his faith in God and walking in his purpose. Every 180 seconds, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with blood cancer. Support the cause, and let’s make an impact together! I am a survivor of Hodgins Lymphoma and am assisting with bringing awareness to this disease. I wrote a book titled There’s Something I Have To Tell You All, Mommy Has Cancer. It is available everywhere books are sold. We celebrate, honor, and remember those touched by cancer. We continue to inform, inspire, and make a difference in every edition of Empower Atlanta Magazine. We thank you all for continuously believing in our mission. Yours truly,



owanna Hogue is the author and publisher of Through It All I’m Still Standing Bringing Awareness to Narcissistic Behavioral Disorder and Emotional Abuse. She is a survivor in more ways than one. She shares her personal experiences surviving sev-

eral challenges, including marriage, divorce, cancer, and starting over with readers worldwide. The self-help book aims to bring awareness to narcissistic personality disorder and emotional abuse, with the hope of helping people in similar situations and their families deal with the effects of the unfortunate phenomena.





Photo credit: Cam





Co-Founder and COO of

Quality Control Music Kevin “Coach K” Lee is a businessman, entrepreneur, mogul, and larger-than-life executive who can recognize potential when others don’t. He is the co-founder and Chief Operational Officer of Quality Control Music. Coach K is an art collector of black living artists and loves sports and music. He was recently appointed a new board member of the High Museum of Art. He doesn’t believe in talking much about himself; instead, he leaves it all on the field and lets his work speak for itself. Photo credit: Cam Kirk


have any artists.” I was like, “Trust me. I can get artists.” He said, “Really?” I was like, “Yes, I can.”

I moved to Atlanta for a better opportunity. I wanted to work in the music industry. When I lived in Indianapolis, ten friends and I decided to start a label in 1996. We attempted to start it, but there’s really no opportunity there for that. There are many talented people there, but there is not an infrastructure set up for someone who wants to try and make it in the music industry. I would come to visit in Atlanta, and I saw the opportunity for black entrepreneurs. I packed my bag one day, and I left Indianapolis and never came back.

I was tired of bringing artists up, and with management, you can get fired at any time. So, I got tired of doing that for years and years. I was wasting my time, time that you can’t get back. So, I wanted to start a label where we sign and are like partners with the artists. So, if we go down, we go down together. If we grow and become bigger, then we become bigger together. So, “P” and I started the label, and the first artists we signed were the Migos. It was like a match made in heaven because everything that “P” and I represented and wanted to do, the Migos, they let us do it, and they had the talent. Once we signed them, it was like an explosion. We did it the old school way. We were in control of artist development, where a lot of labels don’t do that anymore. A lot of labels are all about data. They want to know what the numbers are looking like. Are the numbers good? What are the socials like? We weren’t into that. We were like, let’s find a diamond in the rough and develop it until it shines.

Opportunity was my motivation. I had a dream, a goal, and a vision. My mother never pressured me. She let me dream. I told her I wanted to work in the music industry, and she said, “Well, you’ll probably be good at that because you are good at anything you put your mind to.” She always supported me. My mom had moved to Atlanta in 1995. I’m the only child, so my mom and I are like super close. She moved to Atlanta from Indianapolis, and for like a year and a half, I have only seen my mother maybe five times. I wasn’t used to that. So, when I moved to Atlanta in 1997, my mom actually lived here. I knew I had a place to stay. So, I made the move. Then my grandmother got sick. She had cancer, so my mom moved from Atlanta back to Indianapolis to care for my grandmother. She stayed in Indianapolis until 2018. I moved my mom back to Atlanta after my grandmother passed. WHEN DID YOU START QUALITY CONTROL? HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? We started Quality Control Music in March of 2013. I had a management company and managed artists for 15 years before we started Quality Control. “P”, my business partner, had a record label and recording studio. To be honest, I got tired of just managing artists. I felt like I was selling myself short by just managing because when I managed artists, I developed their brand and everything around it, right? So, when “P” and I came together, I remember our first conversation. I was like, “Man, you know we should start a label together.” He was like, “We don’t

WAS IT YOUR LOVE OF MUSIC THAT INSPIRED YOU TO DEVELOP THE LABEL? OR MORE SO, WANTING TO DO YOUR OWN THING AND GETTING OUT OF THE MANAGING SIDE OF THE BUSINESS? It was for the love of music but also being able to develop talent. When it’s developed and we’re able to showcase it, we can get our credit. Credit in the music business is all you have. When you put your hard work down, you want to be credited for that. MANY AFRICAN AMERICANS STRUGGLE WITH FUNDING AND RAISING CAPITAL TO START A NEW BUSINESS. DID YOU FACE SIMILAR STRUGGLES, AND IF SO, HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? We did struggle. When we first came into the game, we were like, we’ll just stay independent. But being independent is tough. You really have to put up or shut up. There’s no one to fall back on and say, “Hey, I need a budget, or where is the budget?” No, you are the budget. Everything we put in or got out, we put right back in. Of course, there have been times where we’re like, “Hey man, this is all that’s in the account. We had to double down and empty EMPOWER ATLANTA MAGAZINE |



it out. But by the grace of God, we are highly favored. Every time our account looked negative, a check would come. We would grind it out, and another check would come. Then we start learning the process. We got our secret sauce that we don’t really talk about, which is how we develop and market talent. But that sauce is through trial and error and learning. It got to the point where, you know, eventually we built Quality Control up and decided we needed to take in a partner so we could have global domination and make it bigger and have longer arms that we can stretch. So, we took on a partner, and that would be Motown. YOUR PRESENCE INSPIRES A ROOM, ESPECIALLY YOUNG MEN. WHAT MAKES YOU REMAIN HUMBLED? It’s something my mother and grandmother instilled in me growing up. When I see talented people, I stop to acknowledge them and tell them, “Hey man, you’re talented. If there’s any way I can help you, I would love to extend my olive branch to you.” Because, as black people, we have to do that and support each other. I come peacefully and humbly. I don’t care what room I’m in. If I’m the small or big guy in the room, I’ll always be the same person. CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU FOR GOING BACK TO SCHOOL AND RECEIVING A BACHELOR OF SCIENCE DEGREE IN ORGANIZATIONAL MANAGEMENT AT SAINT AUGUSTINE’S UNIVERSITY AND BEING BESTOWED AN HONORARY DOCTORATE DEGREE OF HUMANE LETTERS. I KNOW IT WAS A PROUD MOMENT FOR YOU, YOUR MOM, AND YOUR FAMILY. Thank you! I graduated in the class of 2020, but because of COVID, I didn’t get to walk. So, we walked with the class of 2021. My mom, my three kids were there, my father came, and my best friend. My grandmother was there in spirit. It was wild because one of my best friends called me. He was staying at my house in Atlanta. He was like, “Man, I’m just going to stay in the house and wait for you to get back.” He Facetimed me. The school streamed the graduation on Facebook. There is a beautiful picture that I have of my grandmother that sits in my living room. He put the picture on Facetime, so her face was looking at the

screen, and that touched me. YOU HAVE A TESTIMONY TO SHARE. HOW CHALLENGING WAS IT FOR YOU TO DEAL WITH THE ORDEAL OF BEING SHOT AND LEARNING HOW TO WALK AGAIN? HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO OVERCOME? I mean, it was a challenge. Never in a thousand years did I think that would happen to me, but it did happen. It changed my life. I was 21 years old and just had a child. I stayed in the hospital for five months. Then, I was in a wheelchair for six months. I had to learn how to walk again. I had to look deep in my soul. I went into a great depression. But God was with me and showed me the light and got me out of it. That’s when I really fell in love with music. I always loved music, but I loved sports before that. Once that incident happened, I couldn’t play basketball anymore on a collegiate level. So, in the hospital, music saved me. Music was my escape. I used to put my headphones on, and I’d escape. DO YOU HAVE ANY BOOK DEALS IN THE WORKS? I’m working on it now. “P” and I are working on our QC documentary, our life story. So, with that, it’s going to be a book as well. For a long time, I ran from it because I’m kind of shy. But then, I started thinking. I do have a story to tell and a testimony to share. I want my book to be able to help and inspire any young brothers who want to become an entrepreneur, or in the music business, or even be a guiding light for someone. WHAT PHILANTHROPY PROJECTS ARE YOU INVOLVED IN? We started giving back from day one. “P” and I both come from inner-city neighborhoods or the hood. God blessed us with success, and the first thing we wanted to do was make sure we give back. We started giving back to the elderly and those who are less fortunate about four to five times a year. We give out food, clothing, supplies, and more in both Atlanta and Indianapolis. I recently started a foundation in my grandmother’s name, Betty Brooks foundation, in Indianapolis. Follow @coachk44

Co-Founder and CEO of

Quality Control Music Pierre “P” Thomas is a music mogul, entrepreneur, co-founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Quality Control Music. He is from the Southwest side of Atlanta, GA. He believes in moving in silence and gives back to those in need with little to no recognition. “P” strives to make a difference and is a pillar to local communities in Atlanta. Photo credit: Cam Kirk




THERE ARE STRUGGLES AND REWARDS OF STARTING A BUSINESS. YOU PREVIOUSLY LAUNCHED AN INDEPENDENT LABEL CALLED DIRTY DOLLA. CAN YOU SHARE MORE ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE AND HOW IT MOTIVATED YOU TO START QUALITY CONTROL MUSIC WITH COACH K? I was involved with Dirty Dolla. It was me and my friend Dirty. We were young and had aspirations of getting into business, but we didn’t have the knowledge or know-how. We made a lot of mistakes. Early on, we were trying to make a name for ourselves, but we didn’t have a business structure. That caused us to waste a lot of money. When you make a bad decision or not making money, you have to make other moves. He went off to do his thing, and I went off to do mine. I knew Coach from my relationship with Gucci Mane. I came to him because I knew he knew a lot about the business. He had been in the business a long time. I felt like it would be a great opportunity to partner with him. At first, I wasn’t even trying to recreate a label. I was trying to get him to help me get artists in there to rent the studio out. I felt like I’d make money off just booking studio time. He actually came to me and said, “Hey, I know you got a lot of resources out there. You’re passionate. You don’t have a lot of information on how to structure a label, but I’ve got some talent, and I think we can have a shot at it again.” I felt like it was a good move for me to partner with somebody who had a lot of know-how of the business. So, here we are today. Nine years later, we’re one of the most successful entertainment music labels in business. WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU WISH YOU WOULD HAVE KNOWN WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED A BUSINESS THAT YOU KNOW NOW? [Laughter] That’s a good question. Something that I wish I would have known then is keeping it business and taking the personal part out. Sometimes, you put so much of your personal feelings into the business. You will get your heart broke. Just keep it all straight business. HOW DID YOU AND COACH K COME UP WITH THE NAME QUALITY CONTROL MUSIC? Well, I hit Coach up one day, and he was like, “Yo, the first thing you have to do is rebrand yourself. Dirty Dolla is like street. You got to rebrand yourself with a cleaner image.” He was like, “What means a lot to you? What do you care about a lot? I was like, “I had a best friend that died. We called him Q. I said, “Anything that has a Q in it. He was my best friend and meant the world to me. Let’s just try to go off that.” Coach hit me up a few days later and said, “I want you to look up the definition for the words quality control.” I looked it up, and he said, “Listen, we can do designs. We can call it QC. The Q will stand out.” I said, “Man, I love that idea.” We had some designers come up with the logo, and we just ran with it. It’s been on ever since. WHY IS MASTER P SOMEONE YOU IDOLIZE? I idolized both Master P and Birdman. Birdman is from my hometown. I’m from the hood, and I feel like, when I was growing up, all the young urban kids coming up were fans of music. Those guys were like entrepreneurs. They were putting other people on. People from their community, from the hood. They were like the hood heroes to me, for the music business. They were saying that you can be from the hood or come from the same community we

come from, and you can be successful. You can be rich and have money. I used to sit back and watch them like I wanted to be like those guys. YOU HAVE A BEAUTIFUL FAMILY. AS A MUSIC MOGUL, HOW DO YOU BALANCE TIME DEVOTED TO FAMILY AND BUSINESS? You got to set boundaries. It’s crazy because I was just talking to Lil Baby about that. In order for you to stay ahead, you have to give 100% of your time to it, especially when you’re building a business. We’re not just making music. We are doing films and sports, and all the other parts around the music business. The business on this type of level, you’ve got to put 100% of your time into it, but you’ve got to set boundaries. It’s hard because the business is what is going to provide for your kid’s future. On certain days I clear my schedule and spend time with the kids. Right now, I’m sacrificing for them. ARE THERE ANY NEW PROJECTS THAT YOU ARE WORKING ON? We have multiple projects that we’re working on. Lakeyah has a new project, Gansta Grillz, out with DJ Drama. The City Girls are in the studio working on their album. Lil Baby is on tour right now. He’s working on his album. Lil Yachty just dropped a project that he’s working on. We’ve got some big film projects in the works that are going to really be shocking when people see them. Well, I don’t think people will be too surprised because they understand the work we put in. But I think people will be shocked at how well-produced these film projects are that we have done. We have a lot of projects coming out soon. More details to come. WILL THERE BE ANOTHER CONTROL THE STREETS ALBUM? We are actually putting one together now. I wanted to let a couple of the other artists put a few projects out and get a little more known. But we’re coming out with another one. ARE THERE ANY PHILANTHROPY PROJECTS THAT YOU ARE INVOLVED IN? Yes, but I really don’t like to be at the forefront of it. I’m always involved in back-to-school drives, giving back during the holiday seasons, and donating to churches. I’m always involved in a lot of things in the community but behind the scenes. It’s coming from the heart. I am behind a lot of philanthropy projects that many people are unaware of. Follow @qualitycontrolmusic @qcmusicmgmt

Quality Control Music Quality Control Music (QCM) is a highly successful and influential hip-hop label based in Atlanta. QCM entered into a joint venture with Capitol Music Group in tandem with its Motown Records label in 2015. The visionary record label has talented hiphop artists on their roster, including Migos, Lil Baby, City Girls, Lil Yachty, and more. EMPOWER ATLANTA MAGAZINE |



Quality Control Sports Quality Control Sports is an industry-leading sports branding, marketing, and management agency. They are goal-centric, results-driven, and relentlessly innovative. From profitable partnership deals to brand sponsorships, QC Sports is a leader in procuring earning opportunities for their clients. The agency is able to create long-lasting brand partnerships that engage consumers, drive conversations, and yield meaningful results.

Photo credit:

Cam Kirk



Quality Films Quality Films is responsible for City Girls-The Series, a five-series episode YouTube series that shares an in-depth look into the story of creating their album City on Lock. Quality Films has also created an ongoing Instagram Live series, Mastery, where artists join in discussions about the industry and becoming masters of one’s craft. Look out for more projects coming soon.


Photo credit:

Cam Kirk




LIL BABY Rap Artist Photo credit: Christopher Parsons

Grammy-nominated Lil Baby has been one of the most dominant and criticallyacclaimed names in rap since his first release in 2017. He is as authentic as they come; at just 26 years old, he is unapologetically himself, speaking his truth in his lyrics, and that connects him to listeners like no other. In February 2020, he released My Turn, which entered The Billboard 200 at #1, remained in the Top 5 for 15 weeks, and then returned to #1 three months later. The album was the #1 streamed and selling album of any genre for 2020. In June 2020, as the nation protested, Lil Baby dropped a powerful record, “The Bigger Picture,” articulating frustration, confusion, and a call to stand up for something much bigger than himself. My



Turn held 14 records simultaneously on The Billboard Hot 100, and in 2019 Lil Baby tied musical titans Prince and Paul McCartney, for Billboard Hot 100 hits in his young 3-year career. In 2021, Lil Baby’s catalogue reached 21 billion global streams, had five consecutive #1 songs on urban radio, won the BET Award for Best New Artist, was named Vevo’s Top Performing Hip-Hop Artist of 2020, was named MVP on Rap Caviar, he won the top award of Global Artist of the Year at the Apple Music Awards. “The Bigger Picture” was nominated for two Grammy’s (Best Rap Performance & Best Rap Song). Lil Baby received the 2021 iHeartRadio award for Hip Hop Album Of The Year. His track “We Win” with Kirk Franklin from the Space Jam: A New Legacy Official Soundtrack has garnered widespread acclaim, amassing over 4 million streams and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot

Gospel Songs chart. Lil Baby and Lil Durk released Voice Of The Heroes that features the likes of Travis Scott, Meek Mill, Young Thug, and Rod Wave. NBA superstar James Harden is credited as an executive producer, as he played a role in the inception of the project and Lil Baby spent considerable time in Harden’s studio to record. Lil Baby has seen widespread critical acclaim from the likes of GQ and Vanity Fair and has graced the covers of Rolling Stone and NME. With such a rapid rise and a relentless stream of critical and commercial hits, it’s clear that he is one of the greatest modern success stories in hiphop. Follow @lilbaby


CITY GIRLS Rap Artist Photo credit: Marcelo Cantu

City Girls, the unapologetic female duo, is considered a hip-hop sensation. Their bars are as flashy and bold as their looks, and they’ve got no problem telling everyone exactly what they want. Without a doubt, City Girls are already free, so City on Lock is an escape plan for the rest of us. “It’s a mood,” says JT. In fact, “It has every mood you could possibly be in, except a sad mood.” The set includes 15 songs, featured by Yo Gotti, Lil Baby, Lil Durk, and Doja Cat, and wall-to-wall proof that City Girls are slinging the unfiltered flow that savvy listeners fell in love with early on. Lead single “Jobs” samples 2018’s “Tighten Up,” laying true tales from these women’s recent lives and struggles on top of a menacing beat. It’s a clever way to connect the past to present. City Girls have never censored themselves, and are more inspired than ever to share their own brand of female empowerment and preach its realness to those who need to hear it. It’s that no-nonsense stance that’s

lifted City Girls to the top of the rap game, scored them a handful of platinum records, kicked off collaborations with Drake and Cardi B, won them a BET Best New Artist nomination, and sparked interest from taste-making label Quality Control Music. Yung Miami and JT grew up together around Opa-locka and Liberty City, Florida. Both loved music but never planned to make it a career. But thanks to their raw talent, unrelenting hustle, and fearless attitudes, that’s what they did. It was Quality Control’s Coach K who gave the duo their name after that cut caught his ear. JT and Yung Miami introduced themselves to him as being “from the city,” and so they became City Girls. They are unapologetic feminist icons unafraid of demanding their due. Their message resonates loud and clear with fans who blasted their songs. City Girls released “Twerkulator,” a dance anthem that has taken over the club scene. The song was a sample of Afrika Bambaataa and Soulsonic Force’s “Planet

Rock.” The duo showcases their unmatched confidence and a wily sense of humor in the highly-anticipated video directed by Missy Elliott. The track’s release is accompanied by a new visualizer. For the last several months, a snippet of “Twerkulator” has seen a massive run on TikTok with over 1.2M+ Creates and 750 Million Views on the platform. City Girls have one goal: leave the game as legends, nothing less. The hip hop duo fully expects to succeed because the key is simply being the brilliant, bossy, saucy hustlers they’ve always been. Follow @citygirls

Photo credit: Marcelo Cantu




MIGOS Rap Artist

Migos is a Grammy-nominated hip-hop trio from Atlanta, GA. The group consists of family members known by their stage names Quavo, Takeoff, and Offset. They quickly rose to fame after releasing their first Billboard hit single “Versace” and mixtape, Y.R.N., in 2013. They went on to release ten mixtapes in less than two years. They’ve had many successful singles, some of which became viral, such as “Fight Night,” “Bad and Boujee,” “Look at my dab,” and “Handsome and Wealthy.” They’ve obtained almost 30 billion streams and 68 billion YouTube views throughout their career. They’ve also received 47 award nominations and became the first rap group to tie the Beatles for most simultaneous Hot 100 (after the Fab Four clutched the record solo for 54 years). The first volume of Culture (2017), Migos

took their rightful seat atop the throne in rap and pop culture. Their first number one album on the Billboard 200, Culture, spent 107 weeks on the chart. It also topped US R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, was certified platinum, and was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Rap Album (Culture) and Best Rap Performance for “Bad and Boujee.” Culture (2017), Migos took their rightful seat atop the throne in rap and pop culture. Their first number one album on the Billboard 200, Culture, spent 107 weeks on the chart. It also topped US R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, was certified platinum, and was nominated for two Grammy Awards: Best Rap Album (Culture) and Best Rap Performance for “Bad and Boujee.” From 2017 onward—the moment they broke through with the original Culture,

Photo credit:

Kenneth Capello



essentially—Migos took home Best Group at the B.E.T. Awards every year, four years in a row. By the dawn of 2021, they had covered The FADER, Respect Mag, Billboard, XXL, Wonderland, XXL again, Complex, Rolling Stone, N.M.E., The Source, and HIGHstyle, among others. With over a dozen gold and platinum singles, two multi-platinum albums, and hundreds of songs behind them, Migos stepped away to regroup and prepare the final installment of their Culture trilogy. Culture III reminded everyone that Migos is the greatest rap group of the modern era and, and they are here to shift the culture once again. Follow @migos


LIL YACHTY Rap Artist Photo credit: Gunner Stahl

Lil Yachty is a Grammy-nominated rapper who has undeniably emerged as a talented artist in the music industry. He has over 3 billion streams across his music catalog to prove it. He has shared his newest track, “Love Music” via Quality Control / Motown. The laid-back single is his first release following his highly praised Michigan Boy Boat mixtape that featured a comprehensive who’s who of rappers from Detroit and Flint, including Tee Grizzley, Sada Baby, Babyface Ray, Louis Ray, YN Jay, RMC Mike, Veeze, Baby Smoove, Icewear Vezzo, Rio Da Yung OG, Baby Tron, Krispy Life Kidd, and Slap Savage. On “Love Music,” the versatile rapper

takes a turn from the rapid-fire, off-kilter delivery of his latest body of work. The track yet again demonstrates a new side of Yachty backed by alt-pop production, showcasing his melodic prowess and story-telling abilities. The release is accompanied by a visualizer of the single’s artwork. After dropping the last chapter to his Lil Boat trilogy in 2020 with Lil Boat 3 (and subsequent deluxe album LB3.5), Lil Yachty entered 2021 soaring with his mixtape Michigan Boy Boat. The tape was a homage to the emerging Michigan rap scene and was packed with features from fast-rising midwest rappers. Lil

Yachty is keeping busy by working on a new series for HBO Max based on the card game ‘UNO,’ releasing his cryptocurrency “YachtyCoin,” partnering with Reese’s Puffs Cereal, and promoting his new unisex nail-paint line Crete. Follow






Georgia Overall COVID-19 Status The number of positive COVID-19 test results is on the rise. Fewer people are wearing a mask and socially distancing themselves from others. Below you will find the information reported to DPH on the total number of COVID-19 tests, confirmed COVID-19 cases (PCR positive), antigen positive cases, ICU admissions, hospitalizations, and deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Confirmed Cases 1,250,673 Confirmed Deaths 23,869 Hospitalizations 83,843 ICU Admissions 13,181 Antigen Positive Cases 365,026 Probable Deaths 3,905 Note: These data are based on available information at the time of the report and may not reflect all cases or tests performed in Georgia. The data only include lab tests reported to DPH by electronic laboratory reporting (ELR) and do not represent all tests performed in Georgia. The number of positive tests in this chart will not match the number of confirmed or antigen positive cases because the case numbers include all reporting sources, not just ELR. People with a positive test often get retested and may test positive multiple times. These repeat positive tests will be counted as new positive tests, but they will not be reported as new cases.

Top 5 Counties with the Greatest Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases County

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Confirmed COVID-19 Cases by Race and Sex Race

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Getting vaccinated prevents severe illness, hospitalization, and death; it also helps reduce the spread of the virus in communities. o Unvaccinated individuals should get vaccinated and continue masking until they are fully vaccinated. o With the Delta variant, this is more urgent than ever. The highest spread of cases and severe outcomes are happening in places with low vaccination rates.


Data show Delta is different than past versions of the virus: it is much more contagious. o Some vaccinated people can get Delta in a breakthrough infection and may be contagious. o Even so, vaccinated individuals represent a very small amount of transmission occurring around the country. o Virtually all hospitalizations and deaths continue to be among the unvaccinated.


In areas with substantial and high transmission, CDC recommends that everyone (including fully vaccinated individuals) wear a mask in public indoor settings to help prevent the spread of Delta and protect others.


CDC recommends that community leaders encourage vaccination and masking to prevent further outbreaks in substantial and high transmission areas.


CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place. For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html




Are Essential.



On the job, and at home. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine adds one more layer of protection. Learn how you can get a COVID-19 vaccine. cdc.gov/coronavirus/vaccines



By Stephanie Howard, MBA Being an entrepreneur can often times be an isolating experience, especially during the early stages of developing a company. Many people begin as solopreneurs and spend countless hours alone. Even if life is filled with supportive family and friends, they may not provide the type of support needed to push an entrepreneur to the next level. While well-intentioned, it is difficult for those who have not traveled the same path to “get it” and provide adequate support as a person and company grows. There are varying types of support systems needed to aid a founder through these uncharted waters, and it is important to identify the types of assistance needed to help along the way. Developing support systems during the entrepreneurship journey is a key piece to not only success but longevity. The process of developing support systems in the entrepreneurship space is often referred to as creating community. The word community has many definitions, but the dictionary describes it best as “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” Creating community that aligns with business as well as personal trajectory generates the atmosphere to do extremely well. Here are a few areas any entrepreneur should plan to find or create community. 1. •


MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT According to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health, 72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to just 48% of non-entrepreneurs. Mental health is ignored by many until times of crisis. Being proactive with mental health can provide tools, tips, and resources which should be included in strategic plans. Founding a company is a stressful process and filled with anxiety-inducing situations. If stress and anxiety are preexisting conditions for the business owner, they will be exacerbated by the startup process. The stakes are high for many entrepreneurs, especially those who sought venture capital investments, loans, leveraged key assets, or utilized personal savings. In addition to financial pressure, lack of | EMPOWER ATLANTA MAGAZINE

self-care while striving to achieve goals is often detrimental to overall personal health. Discussions about mental health are becoming more common, and admitting the need for medical support for mental health issues is less taboo. There are numerous options for mental health support ranging from informal groups to private, professional medical services. It is important to note that mental health support and personal support are not one-in-the-same. In short, family and friends are not mental health providers. It is essential to find the right mental health support community to provide the appropriate help in this area. 2. PERSONAL SUPPORT • As previously mentioned, personal support differs from


mental health support. Personal support is where family and friends play a key role. Think of personal support like developing a personal board of directors. Oprah Winfrey has named this her “Kitchen Cabinet,” which is a select group of people who give her honest yet caring feedback. A personal support community will not only provide encouragement and a listening ear but also hold the entrepreneur accountable. For example, a licensed therapist would provide mental health support, and the personal support community would remind the person to show up on time for the therapy appointment. This group is critical to keeping personal goals on track by providing accountability. When developing a personal support community, it is important not to select a

group of “yes” people. Yes people struggle with rocking the boat and potentially upsetting the group or person being held accountable 3. BUSINESS SUPPORT • All industries are not created equal and have different demands based on the business type. Seek support from the specific industry of the business. This community will provide the business version of the personal support group. If the entrepreneur owns a bar-b-que restaurant, then it is important to connect with other local restaurant owners. Most industries have numerous national, regional, and local groups for businesses they are connected to. These groups

Honest feedback is what is needed from the personal support community, so be sure to select circles that will challenge as well as support. not only provide support but also keep the industry on the same page and provides opportunities for potential strategic alliances. If no formal group exists, then spearhead an informal group of entrepreneurs in the same industry. 4. CREATE COMMUNITY WITH CUSTOMERS • Customer relationship management (CRM) is an effective strategy for any company relying on repeat business. It is much easier and cheaper to sell more to current customers than to acquire new customers. One way to develop CRM is to create community with current customers. Customers are the biggest company supporters, so nurture this

relationship! Music artists, tech companies, clothing brands, and even bakeries all focus on the community aspect of their customers. By creating community with customers, it gives insight into customer satisfaction, what products to develop or delete, and makes customers feel a part of the company. Companies like Apple, Supreme, and artists like Beyonce’ all have passionate supporters who have developed their own community within the brand. How do they do it? By interacting with customers and noting the feedback given during each interaction. A small first step is creating dialog with the customer base, and in today’s age of social media, this is very easy to implement.

These four communities are just the beginning, and there may be a need for more depending on the entrepreneur. A great way to access multiple entrepreneurship communities is by attending a startup conference. Startup Week is a celebration of entrepreneurship and the people shaping the entrepreneurship ecosystem in your community. Check out https://www.techstars.com/communities/startup-week to connect with communities in your area.


Stephanie Howard Stephanie Howard is Director of the Mercer Innovation Center and Lecturer of Marketing in the Stetson-Hatcher School of Business at Mercer University. She is an experienced marketing professional and advocate for small business development.




LAKEYAH Singer and Rap Artist Photo credit: Chad Lawson

craft playing local shows in Milwaukee in September of 2019, Danaee rolled the dice on a permanent move to Atlanta. Lakeyah Danaee has a versatile sound that bridges that gap between velvety R&B and hard-hitting bars that contest even her most veteran Quality Control Music counterparts. The Milwaukee-born singer, rapper, and star in the making came from humble beginnings in the midwest. As she came into her teenage years, her lyrical chops and songwriting prowess began to emerge. Her rise into the spotlight kicked off in 2019 with a remix of a City Girls track for the viral “First Day Out” Challenge, which gained traction online and caught the eyes of Quality Control and City Girls’ JT, who reposted her track. After honing her



In early 2020, Denaee followed up with The Keymix II project, which introduced the world to her unmatched range, effortlessly swinging between aggressive, braggadocious rap and soulful, earnest R&B tracks. After releasing her project, Lakeyah produced two more diamonds in the rough when she remixed Lil Baby’s “Sum 2 Prove” and “We Paid” in Spring of 2020. Again, her “We Paid” remix was quickly reposted by Lil Baby online, but this time Quality Control wasn’t waiting for someone else to recognize her untapped potential. QC’s CEO Pierre “P” Thomas sent Lakeyah a DM asking for music and wasted no time signing her to the label.

Lakeyah released her Quality Control debut In Due Time. Lakeyah recently released the Gangsta Grillz project with DJ Drama. Her new single “313-414” features Detroit’s Tee Grizzley. 313 is a Detroit area code, and 414 is Milwaukee’s. Lakeyah announced her new mixtape, My Time, dropped on September 24th. With her unique style, natural talent, and so much range, there’s no doubt that Lakeyah will gracefully climb the ranks toward stardom. Follow @lakeyah


DUKE DEUCE Singer and Rap Artist Photo credit: Cam Kirk

Rap artist Duke Deuce has let the world know without a doubt that “Crunk Ain’t Dead.” Born and raised in Memphis, the budding 27-year old rapper has made an assertive introduction to the hip hop world in a time where Atlanta rap has reigned supreme, which offers a significant testament to how special Duke’s talent is. His rapper/producer father, Duke Nitty, who was a local fan favorite contributed to the Memphis sound running through his veins. His father showed him the trade. After releasing his 2017 track “Whole Lotta,” word of his untapped potential found its way to Offset of the Migos and subsequently to the team at Quality Control Music, who quickly sent Deuce an Instagram DM and was quickly signed. Soon after, Deuce released his 2018 project

Memphis Massacre and contributed on two tracks from QC’s Control The Streets, Vol. II, further putting his stamp on the game. In 2019, he followed up with the hit single “Crunk Ain’t Dead,” which eventually made its way onto his 2020 follow-up project Memphis Massacre 2, where he teamed up with Memphis legends Project Pat and Juicy J, as well as Lil Jon on the “Crunk Ain’t Dead” remix. In 2021, Duke released DUKE NUKEM via Quality Control Music / Motown Records / Made Men Movement. The bombastic album features all the hallmarks of Duke’s gritty style, from his booming ad-libs to his aggressive delivery, as well as winning appearances from Offset, A$AP Ferg, recent collaborator Mulatto, Young Dolph, and more. Duke Deuce brings an entirely new and refreshing sound to the

QC roster. He is consistently bringing the best of the Memphis-rap cadence and style. There is more to come from this talented rap artist. Follow



JORDAN HOLLYWOOD Rapper, Singer, and Producer

Photo credit: Travis Shinn

Jordan Hollywood is a Florida rapper, singer, producer, and hitmaking CEO. He considers his anxiety to be a key factor in his success. “I believe that being anxious is healthy. Overthinking certain situations can assist you in avoiding life’s losses.” It’s hard to argue with the multi-talented musician. His unique ability to combine his punchlines, verses, and melodic croons into captivating rap/R&B/pop hybrids will captivate his growing fanbase for years. After writing for fellow Broward County artist Jason Derulo, Jordan released a successful independent debut Sorry for This in 2016 and then signed with Quality Control Music for 2018’s FINALLY!. His ever-skeptical mindset has now given him the space and close-knit creative group he needs to make his most honest and mature record to date, Only the Paranoid Survive. The album is a document of his growth as he masters the skill of balancing family, loyalty, and financial gain. Only the Paranoid Survive is the result of Hollywood spending many hours in his home studio.



Jordan released “The Ugly Song,” the speaker-rattling debut song from his new album, Only the Paranoid Survive, featuring Grammy-winning producer and artist Timbaland. The song is on Quality Control Music/Motown Records. The song is accompanied by a compelling, cinematic, and often humorous music video that follows the singer from the country to the country club. “It’s incredible how much I loved this song as a kid 20 years ago, and it’s now part of my legacy. It’s one thing to obtain a Timbaland beat or have him clear a sample. But it’s something else entirely when the icon himself joins you in the booth and lends his touch to your vision,” explains Jordan.“ I never in a million years thought I’d get to work with the hitmaker. With the video, I told the director, “I want this to feel like an open-world video game where I have the freedom to randomly do things my way.” “The Ugly Song” is just the start.” Timbaland’s Bollywood-influenced melodies are expertly chopped and paired with quaking drums and trap percussion in this piece.

Timbaland offers his distinctive ad-libs (“ficky ficky”) while Jordan flows easily over the track. The video, directed by Austin McCracken and shot in Los Angeles, makes full use of visual effects (and openly acknowledges them at the end). Dropping Hollywood into a wheat field with a horse that kicks him in the head. The rapper continues to get thrown into or out of a variety of strange situations. Both the video and the song defy expectations, demonstrating Jordan’s willingness to take risks, share a laugh, and channel various emotions. He’s eager to take his profession to the next level as a member of Quality Control Music’s roster. “I want to achieve LONGEVITY in everything I do. I want to live a long life, I want a long successful career, and long relationships, moving the right way is going to bring me all of that and more.” Follow Jordan Hollywood on @jordanhollywood


LAYTON GREENE R&B Singer Photo credit: Elijah D Davis

Layton Greene grew up in East St. Louis, Illinois. She discovered her musical gift at the age of seven - when she sang Keyshia Cole’s “Love” to her mother. By the time she was a teenager, Layton had auditioned for (and was rejected by) both X-Factor and America’s Got Talent. What would have been a crushing blow for most didn’t faze her. Greene was focused on becoming a professional singer no matter what. “Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I was going to be a professional singer. I knew I would be famous one day. I didn’t know how it was going to happen. I just knew it would.” In 2017, she went viral after remixing Kodak Black’s “Roll in Peace” and uploading the homemade video to social media. This prompted the singer to go into the studio with producer G-Styles to record the extended version of the song. “Roll In Peace Remix” gained over 3.5 million plays on SoundCloud in the first month and jumped into the Top 15 of Billboard’s Hot R&B Songs chart. Record labels began to take notice. Layton

began fielding offers and found a home with Quality Control’s Pierre “P” Thomas and Kevin “Coach K” Lee. “The thing that I loved is that they didn’t want to change me. They genuinely love me for who I am.” She signed with Quality Control/Capitol Records in February 2019. That spring, she released “Leave Em Alone” (ft. Lil Baby, City Girls, and PnB Rock), which has amassed more than 85 million streams and went to #1 on YouTube Music’s “R&B on the Rise.” This early in her career, she has combined global streams of 350 million. Layton then introduced herself to the world with her first body of work, the Tell Your Story EP. The 7-song effort was devoid of collaborations so that the world can get to know who Layton Greene is. The EP didn’t shy away from real life, her struggles, and her triumphs. Since the release of Tell Your Story, Layton was named as one of Vevo DSCVR’s Artists to Watch for 2020 and has been steadily at work on her next project.

She joined forces with mainstay producer Like Mike for the dance meets R&B crossover single “I Lose Me,” displaying a unique adaptability that is baked into her sound. In a tumultuous year when some artists have slowed down, Layton has poured her heart into writing the next chapter of her story and is eager to share the first single, “Chosen One,” from her upcoming project to close out the year on a high note. Watch for more to come soon from one of R&B’s most promising young stars. Follow @laytongreene




BANKROLL FREDDIE Rap Artist Photo credit: Gunner StahL

Bankroll Freddie represents the best of what southern rap has to offer. Born and raised in Helena, Arkansas, the work Bankroll Freddie put in honing his talents behind the scenes paid off in a major way when he was discovered by Quality Control’s Pierre “P” Thomas. After hearing a freestyle on Instagram, Pierre “P” Thomas flew Bankroll Freddie out to LA, and he was quickly signed by QC. In 2019, Bankroll formally introduced himself to the game and made waves throughout the industry with the hardhitting track “Drip Like Dis,” calling on his newfound labelmate Lil Baby and



Memphis-heavyweight Young Dolph to feature on the track. Soon after, in 2020, he released his debut album From Trap to Rap, boasting features from Lil Baby, Young Dolph, Lil Yachty, Moneybagg Yo, Tay Keith, Renni Rucci, and more. Never one to take a day off, in May 2020, during the novel COVID-19 pandemic, he released “Quarantine Flow,” a rapid-fire track that put his lyrical prowess on showcase. In 2021, Bankroll Freddie released his latest project, Big Bank, via Quality Control/Motown Records. After sharing two early singles, “Add It Up” and the “Rich Off Grass” remix featuring Young

Dolph, Freddie delivered an album full of anthemic hits and club-ready jams. Alongside the Dolph feature, Freddie invited a bevy of talent to join in, with cuts from Big Bank including features from Gucci Mane, Megan Thee Stallion, 2 Chainz, and more. As part of Quality Control’s newest class of rappers, Bankroll Freddie is destined for the spotlight.

@Bankroll_Freddie @BankrollFreddie


METRO MARRS Singer, Songwriter, and Rap Artist Photo credit: Shamaal Bloodman

At only 18-years-old, Atlanta-born singer/ songwriter and Quality Control signed artist, Metro Marrs is proving to the music industry that he’s more than ready for the spotlight. On June 18, 2021, Marrs released his debut mixtape “Popular Loner,” which gained praise from outlets such as Complex, Hot New Hip Hop, and Revolt TV. The mixtape also features hits such as “Prosper,” “Oh Yea,” and “Bye Felicia,”- which have racked up over 5M streams combined and landed him a spot on Pigeons and Planes Best New Artists of June roundup. It isn’t just his impressive music capabilities

he’s putting on display, but his deep-rooted altruism and kindness as well. Marrs made national headlines such as TMZ, Wendy Williams, NY Magazine, and more this past spring when he gave out $10K to his classmates during graduation, which led him to being detained by Atlanta PD. As a result, Metro took the high road and launched the Loners Rainy Day Scholarship-a campaign which granted his graduating class Valedictorian and Salutatorian $10K to congratulate them on their hard work. This campaign will run every year in partnership with Emerging 100 Atlanta - an organization that mentors

high school students. Metro Marrs is a prime example of what good influence can do to a community. More to come this year from Metro Marrs as he takes the stage at JMBLYA with Future, Gunna, and other rap artists. Follow





Blood Cancer: Its Time to Make an Impact Together The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) reflects on vital work to support blood cancer patients and the urgent need for cures. Every 180 seconds, someone in the U.S. has their life turned upside down by a blood cancer diagnosis. When this happens, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), the global leader in the fight against blood cancers, is there, providing guidance, education, and support every step of the way. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, LLS has remained laser-focused on its mission priorities: Research, Education & Support, and Policy & Advocacy. “No one should have to face a blood cancer diagnosis alone, especially during these trying times. LLS is unwavering in our commitment to helping blood cancer patients and their families throughout their entire cancer experience,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS President, and CEO. “But we can’t do our critical work without you. In 180 seconds – just three minutes of your time – you can help us save and improve lives. It’s a vital impact we can make together.”

LLS MISSION IN THE TIME OF COVID-19 “The time for action is now. The pandemic has disrupted access to cancer care at an alarming rate, resulting in diagnosis and treatment delays, and widened existing health inequities in the U.S,” said Dr. DeGennaro. “If left unresolved, there will be increases in cancer morbidity and mortality for years to come. We simply can’t let this happen. Together with our volunteers, supporters, and partners, we are determined to find cures and help every blood cancer patient access the care they need.”



Studies show immunosuppressed blood cancer patients are particularly vulnerable and at risk of more severe outcomes from COVID-19. In February 2021, the organization launched The LLS National Patient Registry, a project of the Michael J. Garil Patient Data Collective, to increase scientific knowledge about how COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines affect people living with blood cancers. More than 10,000 patients are taking part in this initiative. Recently, LLS released the largest study to date, reporting detailed findings on antibody response after COVID-19 vaccination by blood cancer and treatment type. While COVID-19 vaccines are safe and offer protection to the majority of blood cancer patients, data show about 1 in 4 blood cancer patients do not produce detectable antibodies after the COVID-19 vaccination. It’s possible these patients still receive some benefit from the vaccines, but many may be at higher risk of breakthrough infection. “As a mission-driven health organization, we are doing everything in our power to protect the patients, families, and communities we serve,” said Dr. DeGennaro. “We’re continuing to partner with citizen scientists in our LLS National Patient Registry to conduct ongoing analyses and build crucial knowledge. The more we learn, the more we can help the patients we all care about.”

2021 ENTERTAINMENT EDI TI O N ADVANCING THE MOST PROMISING BLOOD CANCER RESEARCH WORLDWIDE LLS is an unstoppable innovator, driving research worldwide to deliver next-generation breakthroughs and cures. From pioneering the first collaborative precision medicine clinical trial in a blood cancer to supporting the rise of CAR T-cell immunotherapies, LLS is an early adopter of the most cuttingedge treatment technologies and approaches. Since 1949, LLS has invested more than $1.3 billion in cancer research, leading to breakthroughs in immunotherapy, genomics, and personalized medicine that are improving and saving the lives of patients. The organization has helped advance 85% of the blood cancer treatment options approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 2017 alone. Among its newest research programs is the LLS IMPACT Research Grants. LLS’s IMPACT Research Grants bring worldclass care to underrepresented blood cancer patients by awarding funding to major cancer centers to partner with community-based hospitals and clinics on creating networks of clinical trial sites in their regions.


TAKING ON PEDIATRIC BLOOD CANCERS FROM EVERY DIRECTION Right now is an important time to talk about the need to take a bold approach to help children with blood cancers. “For too long, children with blood cancers have been treated with a one-size-fits-all approach. In this era of precision medicine, we must do better,” said Dr. DeGennaro. “Our goal is no less than a wholesale shift in the standard of care, moving toward safer, more effective treatments that precisely target cancer without harming the rest of the body. That’s why we’re driving an unprecedented collaboration to next-level pediatric blood cancer treatment and care.” Through The LLS Children’s Initiative, a $160 million multiyear endeavor, LLS is taking on children’s cancer from every direction. The LLS Children’s Initiative includes: more dedicated pediatric blood cancer research, expanded education and support for children, young adults, and families, bold advocacy endeavors, and LLS PedAL, the first global precision medicine clinical trial for pediatric acute leukemia, with an anticipated launch later this year. LLS is inviting people around the world to give 180 seconds to the fight against these diseases. Every action can make a difference and lead the way to a future without blood cancers. Some ways to help include:

LLS is the leading source of free blood cancer information, education, and support for patients, survivors, caregivers, families, and healthcare professionals. The organization urges patients to learn about its free, one-on-one support, including:

• •

LLS Information Specialists are highly trained oncology professionals who provide free, personalized assistance to patients, families, and healthcare providers. LLS Information Specialists are ready to help at (800) 955-4572, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET or by live chat/email on LLS.ORG.

LLS Clinical Trial Nurse Navigators are registered nurses with expertise in blood cancers who conduct comprehensive clinical trial searches and personally assist patients, parents, and caregivers throughout the entire clinical trial process. LLS’s registered dietitian has expertise in oncology nutrition and provides patients, parents, and caregivers with free nutrition consultations. LLS also offers financial assistance, a podcast, peer-to-peer support, online chats, webcasts, videos, caregiver support, education and outreach programs like Myeloma Link, and so much more. The organization also pursues a patient-focused advocacy agenda focused on breaking down barriers to care and accelerating the development of new treatments. LLS has made groundbreaking policy changes possible, from advancing oral parity to ending surprise medical bills. Through a nationwide grassroots network of more than 30,000 active online volunteers, LLS advocates for policies at the state and federal level and is taking action to reduce patients’ out-ofpocket costs, address financial toxicity, and protect public health and cancer patients during this crisis and beyond.

Donate at LLS.ORG to help more patients and families. Learn more about blood cancers and our free education and support at www.lls.org/BCAM. Register for one of our inspirational Light The Night events to bring light to the darkness of cancer. Become an advocate or exploring volunteer opportunities. No matter how you choose to get involved, you’ll help blood cancer patients receive the best treatments and support possible. Follow LLS on social media @LLSusa. Share our stories or contribute your own with #cancelbloodcancer.

To learn more, visit www.LLS.org.

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the global leader in the fight against blood cancer. The LLS mission: cure leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care. Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., ET.




A blood cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. Blood cancer patients, including those with leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, can find hope, education, guidance and support from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Our Information Specialists provide FREE, in-depth, personalized services that connect patients to financial assistance, patient education (including booklets, podcasts and webinars), online and in-person support, and the LLS Clinical Trial Support Center for assistance with clinical trials.

Contact us at 800.955.4572 or go to www.LLS.org/patient-support.

There’s Something I Ha ve To Tell You All… Mommy Has Cancer “There’s Something I Have To Tell You All…Mommy Has Cancer” is the first children’s book by the talented writer and publisher Towanna Hogue as she shares her personal story of surviving cancer. The children’s book aims to bring awareness to the emotional struggles of mothers and their families coping with finding the strength to have faith during such a challenging time. “To hear the words “You have cancer” is one of the scariest moments of a recently diagnosed cancer patient. My goal is to help other people in similar situations and their families deal with the effects of the unfortunate phenomena.”

https://youtu.be/g_6zHqmCWh8 “I remember when I was diagnosed with cancer as if it were yesterday! I went to the doctor’s office and had a physical examination and was told nothing was wrong.

The doctor said I was healthy. How was I healthy but had cancer?” Please visit www.towannahogue.com to learn more about her books. Follow




Atlanta-based for 13 years now, Cameron Kirkland— infamously known as Cam Kirk— has transformed the city into his throne. Cam picked up the camera for the first time over ten years ago, around the same time he was attending Morehouse College for Business Marketing. Getting his start working with iconic Trap artists such as Gucci Mane, Migos, 21 Savage, Future, Young Thug, etc., in the iconic home of HipHop, Kirk was cultivating creativity behind the scenes in the music industry. Throughout his journey as a photographer, he realized the city was still missing something— a safe place for creatives to advance their skills, market themselves, and network. And so, in 2017, Cam Kirk Studios was born! Three years later, Cam Kirk Studios is now a staple within the Atlanta community, averaging over 500 appointments a month. Alongside being a community forward operation and platform, the studio has developed into a media company— highlighting creatives and spotlighting talent in Atlanta on social media. Covering such a wide variety of creatives, including music artists, models, businesses, photographers, etc., Cam Kirk Studios is known half as a photography studio but also as a music-based space where artists can come and create visuals for their music. Most recently, Cam launched Collective Gallery, a label-like company for photographers. Through signing artists, Cam will invest in these photographers’ future just like you would the next best rapper. Atlantic Records not only saw the vision but also partnered with Collective Gallery, forming the first partnership of its kind. Cam’s team includes Scrill Davis, John Canon, Jalen Amir, Ryder Brooks, Dani B, and Bre’Ann White. @thecamkirk




COLLECTIVE GALLERY Specializing in capturing the subtle beauty of the people, fine artist and director Scrill Davis fuses fashion, textures, and rich colors to create true pieces of fine art. Working with some of the top brands and personalities in entertainment and culture, Scrill Davis has developed a reputation as one of the most dynamic photographers in entertainment. Scrill, now known as “The Icon,” has collaborated with huge brands and artists, including Spotify, Mitchell & Ness, Atlantic Records, Mulatto, Cardi B & more! Continuing to push the narrative and challenge himself professionally, Scrill, in addition to photography, directs videos, offers creative direction, and even co-owns a restaurant in Atlanta called “The Bando.” @scrilldavis

Making an impact in entertainment since he picked up a camera, John Canon continues to show his creativity behind the camera. Known as #covercanon, for all the album covers he shoots, Canon has quickly become one of the most sought-after photographers in the industry. Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN, since his move to Atlanta, GA, in 2016, he hasn’t looked back! Many know John for his close working relationship with 21 Savage & Slaughter Gang. Outside of the 4L crew, Canon has produced work for many brands and artists such as Kanye West, Drake, Alicia Keys, Courvoisier, Forever 21, and many more. John has published press with: Vogue, Fader, Complex, Billboard, Revolt TV, XXL, Pitchfork, The Source Magazine, and many more. @thejohncanon




COLLECTIVE GALLERY Primarily working in a combination of photography and digital painting, Jalen Amir is a 21-year-old interdisciplinary concept artist based in Atlanta, GA. With a longer background in drawing, painting, and sculpting, Amir has been photographing for only two years. His photographic work explores Blackness, gender, and world-building with minimal but elaborate compositions. Concerned with simulation theory and marginalized identity, the work is often visually surreal and conceptually heavy. Featured in Vogue, Jalen looks forward to making a lasting mark in this industry. @jalen.amir

Visual storyteller and color enthusiast Ryder has been creating and executing visual stories since her move to Atlanta, GA, in 2016! Originally from Michigan, Ryder’s goal is to capture her generation’s legacy in its totality; joy, pain, and triumph. With a niche in photography, film, and color theory, Ryders created for a wide range of clients, including Sprite, The Jimmy Fallon Show, Nike, Red Bull, Savage X, Rico Nasty, and more! @ryd.der




COLLECTIVE GALLERY Brooklyn, New York-based photographer, and creative director Dani B has been highlighting black subjects with an intimate approach ever since she graduated with her BFA degree in photography from New York Film Academy in 2014. Dani’s work is both an ode and celebration of her personal upbringing and culture; an embodiment of pridefulness. Seamlessly fusing fine art and fashion photography, Dani’s goal is to challenge her audience to re-imagine the narrowed and stereotypical views of the black experience. Through her lens, she directly explores blackness in its entirety. To date, Dani has worked with major brands like Adidas, Nike, & Atlanta’s infamous Magic City. @dvn1b

Since 2010, Bre’Ann White has curated stunning photographs and branding materials for organizations worldwide. The Detroit-bred fashion and portrait photographer is known for creating and cultivating striking images that draw you into the subject’s world. Throughout White’s portfolio, there is a consistent layer of authenticity and imagination. With confidence in her work and her vision, Bre’Ann’s career has allowed her to showcase her work and explore exhibition opportunities to connect to a broader audience. Her work has been shot around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, Africa, Southern France, Italy, and Australia. Bre’Ann White has exhibited work in The African American Museum of Phil, Arabic National Museum, Playground Detroit, UICA of Grand Rapids, N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art, Norwest Gallery, and SaveArtSpace. Bre’Ann has been featured in national publications such as Teen Vogue, Hour Magazine, Essence, Netflix, and Harper Bazaar. @breannwhite




OZZIE AREU Founder and CEO of Areu Bros. Studios

Ozzie Areu is the Founder and CEO of Areu Bros. Studios, which is the first major Latinoowned and operated media studio in the United States. Previously, Ozzie served as the President of Tyler Perry Studios for 13 years, where he produced over $1B in production. In his role, he oversaw the studio and production businesses generating over 900 episodes of television, including nine-hit series, as well as 17 movies, including numerous #1 box office openers and 6 stage plays. A renowned leader in the Latin American community, Ozzie serves as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), has received numerous awards, such as The Global Cultural Hero and Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award by the World Chamber of Commerce, Diamond Award for Outstanding Producer, Entrepreneurship, Philanthropy and Humanity, and The Nosotros Golden Eagle Award one of Atlanta’s Most Admirable CEO’s by Atlanta Business Chronicle, 2020 National Hispanic Media Coalition’s Trailblazer Impact Award, 100 Most Influential Georgians by GeorgiaTrend, Goldman Sach’s 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs, 2020 PVIFF’s Tommy Award, and so many more. Ozzie has also appeared on Larry King Live, The Today Show, Fox News, and Despierta America. Ozzie has worked with A-list talents such as Sofía Vergara, Janet Jackson, Whoopi Goldberg, Taraji P. Henson, Phylicia Rashad,

Eugene Levy, Doris Robert, Nia Long, Thandi Newton, Kerry Washington, Loretta Devine, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Kathy Najimy, John Schneider, Zulay Henao, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Ellen Degeneres, Portia de Rossi, Kim Kardashian, Tyler Perry and many more. Ozzie contributes his success to hard work, dedication, perseverance, Faith, and his devotion to God. He said, “On Faith, I purchased the studio and shocked everyone. No one could understand what I did and why I did it, but I felt like I was called to do this, and it was bigger than me.” It was the hardest decision he ever had to make. “Transitioning from a company and a man that I adore, admire, and respect so much was definitely the scariest thing I have ever done in my life. He taught me almost everything that I know. I made a change and did something that was unselfish, on Faith alone. God knows I am here for a purpose, and I am here to serve.” He has the utmost respect for Tyler Perry. Ozzie describes him as a mentor and another brother. “Tyler Perry believed in me when no one else did. He has an incredible ability to champion and support people’s growth. He inspires everyone around him to dream big, spread their wings, and believe that nothing is impossible. He promoted me from his assistant, the lowest person in his organization, to the highest in one day after a year of only being with him. He impacted my family’s lives

tremendously, and I hope to give that back to others.” Personally, Ozzie is creating a fresh new reality TV show that revolves around him and the entertainment process. “It will be an authentic perspective and give the audience an inside look into the daily life of a Studio Content Executive, along with his production process. Showcasing an authentic and honest view of his 25 years in the business that follows him on his future journey. Authenticity and honesty is something that is very important to Ozzie. He hopes that not only will people enjoy an inside look into the entertainment business but that this will also inspire many, that anything is possible.”

AREU BROS. STUDIOS Areu Bros. Studios is one of the few large-scale production facilities, centrally located in close proximity to the activity and business center of a major city. The core business is renting out the Studio space to all of the Streamers, Production Companies, and Hollywood Studios. Areu Bros. Studios consists of ±30 acres of fenced property on the southern edge of the Atlanta Metropolitan District. Five sound stages, four office buildings, and production support spaces(±150,000 square feet), as well as an 11-home backlot, with plans to add more sound stages soon.

BACKGROUND IMAGES Ozzie loves where the future of storytelling is going with LED and Background Images. Areu Bros. Studios provides cutting-edge technology for all of your production needs. They can bring any part of the world to the studio with Background Images, a sister company. Since 2001, Background Images has been the go-to company in Hollywood for film and TV productions. In 2007, they opened an office in Atlanta and have never looked back! Specializing in 24 frame playback and display, the company had focused on providing productions with the best technology and support for Car Process, on-set displays, and large format LED screens or projection screens.




Now – a visit with Background Images validates the fact that they didn’t sit still during the pandemic! Over the last two years, they have perfected LED technology specific to the digital cinema camera. Along with Pangaea Technology, the new tile, called the +2.3, was designed to leap-frog the existing competition and bring a new level of efficiency to productions.

production the ability to work with LED on set and eliminate Green Screen standards. The ability to use various content options such as pre-shot plates or volumes in Epic’s Unreal Engine can completely change the way the industry works. Reduce the days on location and keep the work in the studio! The time money savings are real and are in practice today.

Currently, at Areu Bros. Studios, Background Images has an LED Virtual Stage set up for a myriad of end clients that are in production. Once the new technology was realized, the VFX house has brought in robots and highspeed cameras. Taking advantage of the +2.3 tile’s talents, they are pushing the envelope of special effects with ultra-high refresh rates and increasing their ability to capture more incamera.

The new Car Process Booth designed by Background Images allows DP’s to capture both interactivity and reflections in an enclosed environment. With four walls, a ceiling, and strips of high brightness interactive LEDs, no angle on a car is impossible. The booth is also adjustable so that you can bring in larger vehicles or plane cockpits. With the largest LED rental inventory in Atlanta, Background Images is the best option for production’s needs for display and playback.

For additional information about how Areu Bros. Studios can assist with all of your production needs, please visit www.areubros.com. 3133 Continental Colony Parkway S.W., Atlanta, GA 30331. Email: Info@AreuBros.com Call (404) 443-2300 Follow

@ozzieareu Background Images @backgroundimagesllc Email: info@bgimages.com Website: www.bgimages.com

The goal of Background Images is to provide




COCOA BROWN Comedian, Actress, and Entrepreneur By Towanna Hogue


ocoa Brown is one of the funniest comedians around. She is her real authentic self and is unapologetic about it. She is balancing a successful career while being a great and loving mom to her 9-year-old son. Her laughter is contagious, and her story is empowering. WHO IS COCOA BROWN? Cocoa Brown is the alter ego of Farah Brown. Cocoa Brown was created and manifested through divine placement. Cocoa Brown has evolved, grown, stumbled, fell, and has come into her own. I think, in the beginning, Cocoa Brown was someone who was trying to be what everyone thought she should be, and now, Cocoa Brown is unapologetically who she is. She is a grown woman embracing every



part of herself and learning to love herself completely, even through all her flaws and mistakes. I forgive myself and have survived the worst that life tried to give me. I am now enjoying the very best that life has to give me. WHEN DID YOU START COMEDY? I started in 1996. I had just graduated college and then moved to DC for my first job. I ended up going to a BBQ with a friend, and I was just being me. By the end of the night, the gentleman throwing the BBQ co-owned a comedy club called The Comedy Spot. He said, “You are just naturally funny. Have you ever thought about being a comedian?” I said, “No.”. He said, “No? You should try it. You should come to open mic and just try it.” I have

never been fearful of the stage. I just never thought it was something that I could do to put food on the table – be my livelihood. I ended up going to open mic and had no idea what I was doing but was funny. I got a lesson the first day on stage that probably takes many years for comics to learn. At that very moment, I realized that what is ‘real’ is funny, and audiences can tell when you’re faking it. They can tell when you’re not invested in what you’re saying. I went up there trying to tell jokes, and the audience was just staring at me like: ‘What is she doing?’ I panicked and was like, “Look, I don’t need none of this for real for real, because I work for the circus,” and the audience busted out laughing. I said, “Nah, for real, for real. I work for Ringling Brothers, but I‘m not out there training monkeys or nothing.” I’m panicking, and the audience is laughing because I’m literally in a panic mode trying to explain to them: “Look, I’m not up here because I need this.” It hit me that this is just funny, out the gate. When I came off stage, I had the incredible blessing of meeting my mentor, who became my Godfather in the business, Darcel ‘The Fat Doctor’ Blagmon. He was an icon in DC. They called him the DC Godfather of Comedy. He had mentored everyone from Martin Lawrence, Tommy Davison, Donnell Rawlings, and Dave Chappelle. He was that dude, and I had no idea because, like I said, I was only a viewer of comedy. I was not a student of comedy at all. My friends and I went to comedy shows, and we stayed up at night watching Def Jam in college, but I never thought, in a million years, I would be in that position. He approached me and said, “You got it!” I said, “Got what?” He said, “You got something I’ve been trying to teach my students for years.” I said,


“What’s that?” He said, “That what’s real is what’s funny.” I said, “Huh?” He said, “I would love to work with you. You just have a natural talent, and I think we can teach you how this works.” He ended up taking me under his wing and became more than just a mentor to me. He passed away last year, God bless his soul, but even up to the very end, he was in a hospital bed still trying to help me with jokes, encouraging me, and believing in me. The Fat Doctor taught me the integrity of the business and that anybody can get on stage and make people laugh at them. The key is making them laugh with you and to be true to yourself. Even when you stumble and make mistakes, hold yourself accountable, keep moving forward, and let no one keep you where you used to be. He just instilled so much in me, so when I think about comedy and the craft of it, for me, it’s deeper than a set-up and a punch line. It is a business, it is a family, it is a natural gift that you possess, and you got to fine-tune it. So that’s what he taught me. I hold that dearly, every time I get on stage, whether it’s my first show or my thousandth show, I’m going to give them everything I have, and I’m going to be authentic and true to myself. I’m not getting up there to try to make a mockery of this business: I respect the craft. WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE COMICS? Richard Pryor. Richard is the originator of ‘laugh at my pain’ and putting his tragedy on stage and making it comedy. You can’t even call yourself a true comedian if you haven’t studied this man and how he did that. I love that he took real societal issues and made you think, and he really didn’t give a damn if he made you laugh. He wanted you to feel uncomfortable. Speaking of uncomfortable, Paul Mooney, God rest his soul. Paul Mooney was unapologetic. Dick Gregory was unapologetic. Adele Givens, Sommore, who is a master comedy writer. Watching her is like watching a masterclass. Marsha Warfield, for opening doors for the black female sitcom actresses. I respect her greatly. Newer comics like Tony Roberts and Rob Stapleton. These guys are just heavy hitters. There are so many that I admire and respect, but if I had to say top five, I would say: Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Sommore, Marsha Warfield, and Dave Chapelle.

WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR MATERIAL TO CREATE JOKES FROM? Life. I’m a constant observer. I’m the person that, when I come into a room, people expect me to be the center of attention, make jokes at whatever. But I’m the one sitting in the corner observing everything. Some of my best jokes have come from me being in the car with my girlfriends. A lot of times, I stumble on jokes just from general conversation and observation. Now, being a mom of a 9-year-old, he gives me way too much material. I am thoroughly convinced he has been here before. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST ROLE AS AN ACTRESS, AND HOW WAS THAT EXPERIENCE? My very first role as a paid actress was in a movie called ‘Blue Moon.’ It was filmed in DC by a Howard University student. I played a nightclub MC that had a drinking problem, and he wanted me to improv everything. Improv was something I could do with my eyes closed. This film was the only credit on my resume when I moved to LA, outside of ‘Comic View’ and ‘Showtime at the Apollo.’ My first major role was ‘Lakeview Terrace,’ with Samuel L. Jackson. That was one of those roles that I was like; I’m not only in the film with the man, but I’m in the scenes with him too. I will always give him his props. They didn’t want me to say anything. I had lines, and they were like, “No, no. Don’t say nothing”. Sam Jackson was like, “Well, hold up. I’ll look crazy as hell talking to her, and she don’t talk back.” So he saved the three little lines I had [laughs] in the movie. OUTSIDE OF ACTING AND COMEDY, DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER MAJOR INTERESTS, PASSIONS, OR BUSINESSES? Absolutely. I’ve really gotten into the CBD business. CBD has become like a passion of mine. I’ve taken courses and done a lot of research, and now I have two businesses that incorporate CBD. The Cocoa Brown Collection are body products that include body creams, scrubs, and hand sanitizers that are CBD-infused. I also have an edibles business called Cocoa’s Craveables which are CBDinfused edible products. I also have acting workshops. I was getting asked by many comedians how I got into acting or how did I transition. So I began to teach comics

on how to transition from stage to screen. That then went on to parents reaching out to me about helping their kids get into the business. So then I started another class called Little Oscars, which helps prepare children for the business. Teaching them acting and educating the parents on how to protect their children. ARE THERE ANY OTHER EXCITING NEW PROJECTS YOU ARE CURRENTLY WORKING ON THAT YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? Yes! I just shot my first 1-hour special, well, actually, it’s my third, but this is the biggest one I’ve ever shot. I’ve shot two other specials – one I funded myself, and one was through Bounce TV. But this one is through Comedy Dynamics and the Tribeca Film Festival, so that will be dropping soon. I also have a book coming out. It has been a labor of love. I’ve always needed to get to a certain place in life because I didn’t want the last chapter to be like I’m still dealing with certain things. I wanted some kind of resolution or evolution. So my book ‘Famous Enough’ is coming out soon on all platforms. I’ll be back on 9-1-1, which is awesome. It’ll be my fifth season with 9-1-1 on Fox. I’m also on the second season of Never Have I Ever on Netflix. I play Principal Grubbs. I’m also on a new show on Freeform called Single Drunk Female, with Ally Sheedy. I’ll be doing a reoccurring role in P-Valley on Starz and the new show BMF – Black Mafia Family that is executively produced by 50 Cent. I have a movie called Sebastian, directed by Mann Robinson, coming out soon. Also, Gamechangers, that’s coming out on the Hallmark Channel. I’m just trying to stay relevant. To learn more about Cocoa Brown, please visit her website at





GEORGIA FILM TAX CREDIT By Zachary Collins Identifying creative ways for our clients to save on taxes is an important service we provide. This is especially true this year as Congress is considering various tax law changes, some that may not go into effect for another year and some that may be retroactive to 2021. One of those options is the Georgia Film Tax Credit. This program was enacted in 2008 as an incentive for production companies to film in the state. The credit is up to 30% of the qualified expenditures incurred by a production company from a Georgia vendor. Since most production companies are based in other states and therefore do not have any Georgia income, the state allows the production companies to sell their credits at a discounted rate to other taxpayers, This not only helps the production companies but can also benefit Georgia taxpayers. The process is relatively straightforward. Production companies hire accountants to prepare all the specific forms and documentation required by the state. The state of Georgia audits this information and approves the credit if all is correct. Once this is approved, the company uses brokers to sell the credits to tax payers. These tax credits are offered at a discounted rate that currently ranges from around 86 cents to 93 cents on the dollar. These credits can be carried forward for five years, so the more time left in the life of the credit, generally, the more expensive they are. In any event, these tax credits can be quite valuable for taxpayers with significant Georgia tax liabilities. For example, if you have a Georgia tax liability of $100,000, you could purchase $100,000 worth of film credits for $86,000, saving you $12,000. Even though you would have to pay capital gains on that $12,000, most people would still come out ahead. As stated above, the carryforward period on these credits is five years, so we are working closely with our clients to project and plan to maximize their tax savings over the long term. We have a listing of film credits inventory that has already been audited by the state of Georgia. Please contact our office today to see if these film credits will make sense for you.


Zachary Collins, CPA, is a Manager with our Business & Tax Advisory Group. He can be reached at zcollins@antarescpas.com.



On it.

Ending racial injustice requires all of us to work together and take real action. What can you do to help? Educate yourself about the history of American racism, privilege and what it means to be anti-racist. Educate yourself

about the history of American racism, privilege and what it means to be anti-racist.

Commit to actions that challenge injustice and make everyone feel like they belong, such as challenging biased or racist language when you hear it. Vote in national and local elections to ensure your elected officials share your vision of public safety. Donate to organizations, campaigns and initiatives who are committed to racial justice.

Let’s come together to take action against racism and fight for racial justice for the Black community. Visit lovehasnolabels.com/fightforfreedom


FINANCIAL FOCUS FOCU S Being self-employed has some benefits: You get to choose your own hours, you don’t have to count “vacation days,” and you’ll never worry about getting downsized. On the other hand, you’re truly on your own – there’s no employer-sponsored retirement plan and no benefits package. So, if you’ve recently started a business or become a “gig worker,” possibly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what can you do to get on the road to financial security?

and even productive. But other debts, especially those that can’t be deducted from your taxes and carry a high-interest rate, are far less useful, so you may want to set up a repayment plan. With your other expenses, you might not be able to whittle these debts down as fast you’d like, but, over time, your efforts can pay off.

There are several steps you can take, including the following: •

ESTABLISH A BUDGET. When you’re self-employed – and especially when you’re first starting out – you need to keep tight control over where your money is going. So, establish a budget and stick to it.

OPEN A RETIREMENT PLAN. As a self-employed individual, you can choose a retirement plan, such as a SEP-IRA, a SIMPLE-IRA, or an “owner-only” 401(k). When your earnings are limited, you can contribute modest amounts to any of these plans, but when your income rises, you can boost your contributions. While these retirement plans have some things in common, including tax-deferred growth of earnings, they differ in other areas, such as contribution limits, and one plan may be more suitable for you than another, depending on whether you have employees. You may want to consult with a financial advisor to determine which plan is best for your needs.

BUILD AN EMERGENCY FUND. When you work for a business or other organization, your income is predictable – but that’s usually not the case when you’re self-employed. And when your earnings are uneven, you can be vulnerable to financial stress when you face an unexpected expense. To help protect yourself from these threats, try to gradually build an emergency fund containing a few months’ worth of living expenses, with the money kept in a liquid, lowrisk account. PAY DOWN YOUR DEBTS. Some debts, such as loans to help your business, may be unavoidable –

Edward Jones,

PUT MONEY ASIDE FOR TAXES. Because no employer is withholding taxes from your paychecks, you will likely have to make quarterly estimated payments. Plus, you’re responsible for all your Social Security taxes, which, if you worked for someone else, would be split between you and your employer. To make sure you’ve got enough money available to pay your taxes, you might want to set up a special account – one that’s not used for any other purpose.

GET PROPER INSURANCE. Depending on the nature of your work, you may or may not need some type of business insurance, but if you have a family, you should certainly consider the need for life insurance, and you may also want to consider disability insurance. Self-employment can be quite fulfilling – and you’ll find it even more rewarding when you make the right financial moves. Davaul Carter | Edward Jones Investments | Financial Advisor 2970 Peachtree Rd. | Suite 650 | Atlanta, GA 30305 Office: 404-254-3178 Fax: 888-844-2346 Davaul.Carter@EdwardJones.com

Edward Jones, its employees, and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. This content should not be depended upon for other than broadly informational purposes. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation. Make sure to discuss the potential financial aid impacts for your specific situation with a financial aid professional.




Actor, Author, Athlete, Inspirational Speaker, Brand Ambassador, and Philanthropist

Stevie Baggs, Jr., also known as Shakespeare, has always been making moves, whether on the football field, writing books, or using his platforms to empower youth and adults. He was in the movie “Focus ” that starred Will Smith and on hit TV shows such as “Star,” Tyler Perry’s “For Better or Worse,” “A Match Made in Heaven” on WEtv, and more.



I am a retired professional football player but played for ten years in the NFL and CFL for 11 different teams in 10 years. I played football at Lake Brantley High School, which is in Altamonte Springs, Florida. I graduated from Bethune-Cookman College. While there, I was a three-time All-American Black College Player. I was awarded the SBN/Mel Blount Defensive Player of the Year and won the Ernie Davis award.

Television and film were never something that I had a vision for. I’ve always had a vision for playing football since I was a child. I knew that was something that I wanted to attain or achieve. But, being an actor is just something that kind of came by way of my other passion, which is speaking. When you have a big name, it’s easy to parley that into more speaking opportunities. But, television and film gives me another opportunity to have my brand be known.



I began my career as an actor, unofficially in 2012/13, when I was waiting to get picked up by a team to go back to play football. One of my buddies said, “Man, look, they’re looking for some real football players to do this show. They want some extras.” I said, “Man, I’m not going to be an extra.” So, consequently, I ended up going, and literally, my first day on set, they stood me next to the main character on the show, and the producer asked me if I would like to read for a part. I was like, “Yes, absolutely.” I got a speaking role, did some stunt work, and the rest is history. The show was called ‘Necessary Roughness,’ where I got my first real taste of speaking for TV.

(Laughing) I received this nickname when I was in college playing football. One of my teammates was like, “Man, you making so many plays, we are going to start calling you Shakespeare,” and it just stuck with me ever since then.



CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT PREVIOUS ROLES YOU HAVE TAKEN? ARE THERE ANY CURRENT PROJECTS YOU ARE WORKING ON, NOW OR IN THE FUTURE? Yes. So, most notably would probably be Tyler Perry’s show called Ruthless. I am a regular. Oliver is the name of my character. I was on season three of Cobra Kai.


The Underground Railroad that is co-produced by Brad Pitt and Barry Jenkins. I’m very thankful for working on those projects. Earlier this year, I shot a film called The Twisted House Sitter that will be out in 2022. I’m working on a show myself called Empower 3 that I’m going to produce. It’s basically a motivational speaking version of American Idol, so think about American Idol but for motivational speakers. I am constantly auditioning. People don’t even know the number of steps you need to go through to get to that next stage, so I’m thankful for that. YOU WERE NAMED HEALTH AND WELLNESS AMBASSADOR FOR THE CITY OF ATLANTA BY PREVIOUSLY ELECTED MAYOR KASIM REED. WHAT WAS THAT EXPERIENCE LIKE? AND CAN YOU SHARE MORE ABOUT HOW YOU PROMOTE HEALTHY LIFESTYLES? The experience was tremendous! The way I promote healthy lifestyles is by being an example of what I want to see. I have a nonprofit foundation that my mother and I started 18 years ago. We have nine afterschool programs in the city of Atlanta where we taught young people what they wouldn’t get in the traditional education system, including information on health and wellness. It’s especially important, for me, for melanated people in our neighborhoods. I look at how we get bombarded with being the sickest people in the nation, and so, it’s something that my family and I take very seriously. We just want to spread love, positive energy, and information to others. Kasim saw that, during that time, and I used to go around and speak to people in the city about not only the importance and health and wellness from eating right and staying active, but more importantly on the stress levels that you deal with when you recognize that emotional disease causes disease. I don’t think a lot of people grasp how powerful stress can be.

intellectual, emotional, physical are all connected. YOU ARE AN AUTHOR AS WELL. YOU HAVE WRITTEN WOKE AND “Greater Than The Game” CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE BOOKS? AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START WRITING? “Greater Than The Game” is a book I came up with because I was the only pro football player that played on 11 pro teams in 10 years. My experience on the field prepared me for a purpose beyond the stadium. It guides readers to self-discovery by challenging them to examine how they can elevate their own personal game. “WOKE” is a dictionary for the conscious mind and teaches us to not only question the world around us but also to be guided by principles of logic and reason. WHAT IS THE CREATING EMPOWERMENT THROUGH AUTONOMY FOUNDATION? Creating Empowerment Through Autonomy (CETA) is a nonprofit organization that my mother and I started 18 years ago. We have nine after-school programs in the city of Atlanta where we taught young people what they wouldn’t get in the traditional education system, including information on health and wellness. Our mission is to mobilize people and resources to propel overall health and wellness. HOW CAN WE KEEP UP WITH YOU AND STAY INFORMED ABOUT ALL YOU ARE INVOLVED IN, EVEN HOW TO PURCHASE YOUR BOOKS? You can go to www.steviebaggsjr.com. You can also follow me on all social media platforms @steviebaggsjr.

I tell people all the time the most important STD that we have to deal with is Spiritually Transmitted Diseases because if your spiritual, emotional, or mental man is not intact or out of whack, then you don’t have the opportunity even to be able to grasp onto new ideas. If you control the mind, then you control the man or focus on truth than tradition. Health and wellness are the most important things in my life, and I take care of it and preserve it. I think your spiritual health, EMPOWER ATLANTA MAGAZINE |



Author, Chef, Host, and Philanthropist

Gerry Garvin, also known as G. Garvin, is an acclaimed author, chef, television host, philanthropist, and father of two children. He has cooked in gourmet dining rooms for the luxury hotel Ritz Carlton in Atlanta, GA and Palm Springs, CA, Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, Morton’s, and more. He has now opened Low Country Steak, located in Atlanta, GA.

TELL US ABOUT G. GARVIN? Growing up, I didn’t think I’d live past 25 because of what was happening. Young black men were dying, whether in the streets, drugs – whatever it was, I committed my life to food earlier on to try to exceed 25. Doing so, I realized I had a reason and a right to live. At 50, I feel like I have earned the right to pick and choose what I get involved in, not just based on the financial reward but also on the integrity of people and partnerships. I’m going into ten years with SodexoMAGIC, a Magic Johnson company, something I’ve always wanted to be a part of, which was work with Magic Johnson in some capacity. My consultant company, Garvin Food Group, we’re doing a lot of great things. What’s important to me now is making sure that everything I do is at the highest levels of culinary hospitality and human excellence. ARE YOU AN ATLANTA NATIVE? Yes, I’m from Atlanta. I moved to California when I was around 20 for about 25 years, and I came back about 8 or 9 years ago. HOW DID YOU LEARN TO COOK? IS IT A NATURAL TALENT, OR DID YOU GO TO CULINARY SCHOOL? I wish I had gone to culinary school. It’s the one regret I have in life. I couldn’t afford it. I wouldn’t say self-taught but taught by many in a non-curricular way. I started cooking by watching my single black mother, grandmother, four sisters, and then decided to always be a part of chef-driven concepts, where I was learning and still learning . TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESTAURANTS IN ATLANTA? We just opened the steakhouse, ‘Low Country Steak”. It is a steak house, high grain. Everything is made from scratch. We make everything in-house, all of our sauces, cut our own meats, shuck our own corn for cream, and bake our own desserts. We’re a steakhouse with some Southern influences. It’s a restaurant that every item on the menu is from a part of my life, whether it be working at a restaurant or developing recipes, but it’s everything I’ve done over the last 30 years. We are the only black-owned steakhouse at our level. We also have a location at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, called Low Country Restaurant. It has been there since 2012. It is a quick-serve concept. It’s still healthy Southern food cooking from scratch. The new location in midtown is completely opposite.



CAN YOU NAME SOME OF THE NOTABLE CLIENTS THAT YOU COOKED FOR? I have cooked for Halle Berry, Denzel Washington, Lenny Kravitz. Some of the proudest are Sidney Poitier, James Earl Jones. I’ve had everybody from Nicole Kidman, Steve Tisch, Janet Jackson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson, Tracy Morgan, and Eddie Murphy. I was lucky enough that Peter Morton gave me such great opportunities over the years. ARE YOU INVOLVED WITH ANY PHILANTHROPY PROJECTS? My foundation is called ‘G. Garvin Culinary Hospitality’ and we just did a project with Jackson State University. We bought a lot of supplies for the kids going back to school, and we provided them with care packages to get back to school. We are a non-profit that really tries to support the community. At my restaurant, we try to highlight black-owned businesses by selling their products or introducing them to my platform of folks at the restaurant. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH US THAT WE HAVEN’T DISCUSSED? I’m opening ten restaurants over the next five years and just continue pushing to operate in excellence. My role at SodexoMAGIC as a chief culinary advisor allows us to work with healthcare, corporate services, all the different sectors of the business. It’s a role that I truly admire and love. My consultant company is working with SMiZE Cream, Tyra Banks’ new ice cream line. My company, One Bite Productions, produces a cooking show called ‘Butter and Brown’, with Aspire. I’m also excited about my latest book, titled “A Message to My Children.” It’s not a children’s book but 1000 – 1200 quotes about life and things that I think people should know. I’m self-publishing now and, I’m currently in the editing process of my new book called ‘The Making of a Chef.” A lot of wounds were uncovered, but the inspiration for this book is getting through life. It’s a memoir: it’s sex, drugs, it’s about the restaurant business and the dos and don’ts. It was tough writing it, but God put it on my spirit to get it out. Everyday American Southern’ will be the next and final cookbook. It will be released in late 2022. Low Country Steak is located at 1010 West Peachtree Streat, Atlanta, Georgia, Suite C, 30309. To learn more about G.Garvin, visit www.chefgarvin.com or www.garvinfoodgroup.com. @chefgarvin


Seafood Bouillabaisse MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • •

8 ounces king crab legs 1 lobster tail 8 ounces sea bass 8 ounces salmon 4 ounces halibut 1/4 cup olive oil 9 black mussels, cleaned 8 clams 2tablespoons chopped garlic 2 teaspoons salt

• • • • • • • • •

2 teaspoons black pepper 6 ounces calamari, cut into rings 12 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 4 diver scallops 6 potatoes, peeled and crushed 1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes 2 cups Lobster Stock 2 cups water 1 cup white wine 6 fresh basil leaves

Procedure •

Chop crab legs between joints and use kitchen shears to cut along the lighter-colored underside of the shell. Remove crabmeat from legs. Remove shell from lobster meat. Chop crab and lobster meat into 1-inch pieces, set aside. Chop sea bass, salmon, and halibut into 2-inch chances, set aside. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add mussels and clams; cook until they start to open. Add garlic, shallot, salt, and pepper. Saute for 45 seconds. Add crab, lobster, sea bass, almond, and halibut to pan. Add calamari, shrimp, and scallops. Stir in potato, crushed tomato, and cherry tomatoes. Add Lobster Stock, water, wine, and basil. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir stew with a large spoon. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with toasted bread or your favorite rice. You may use lobster tail or claw shells.






Branding is such an interesting, desirable, yet confusing concept for many small business owners. Over the past 16 years as a Brand Strategist, I have observed that typically branding tends to be underutilized and misinterpreted as only marketing activities, graphic designs, social media posting, and advertising activities. It is also viewed as something only big companies invest in. Branding has a strategic component then a creative component. All too often, small businesses only focus on the creative component of branding but rarely spent time on the strategic component. Over the past few years, I have educated the market on the principle that branding comes before marketing and marketing comes before advertising. In this article, I will offer insight and steps for how to make your brand more lovable and how to understand the why and the how behind discovering the DNA of your brand.

What is the DNA anyway? DNA is often associated with a living organism and a human being. BUT!!! Your company brand has a DNA as well. Your 48


company brand has a voice and a soul. DNA is the distinctive characteristics and qualities of someone or something that is regarded as unchangeable and innate. This is the genetic code making someone or something unique. This is where you want to think about the true uniqueness of your brand. Here are a few specific questions I would like you and your team to think on. Consider making this a company exercise. 1. What makes your brand unique? 2. What is the promise that your brand offers to every customer? 3. What truly makes your brand memorable and lovable?

Take the time to drill down deep to answer these questions this month so that you can begin to uncover the soul and DNA of your brand. Knowing this is highly important when you seek to connect with your marketplace. Ensuring your brand emotionally connects with your


marketplace and active clients is directly related to the success, sustainability, and profitability of your company. It is not enough to have a pretty logo and clever marketing taglines anymore. Companies must now align with the five human senses in order to establish emotional, visual, and auditory brand positioning. Through effective E.V.A brand positioning, your company will now become a habit for your clients, which converts to consistent cash flow and profits.

to be absolutely clear about the emotional triggers and emotional resolutions your customer experiences as a result of needing and receiving your service or product. This is a powerful piece of the puzzle! Digging deep into your business, your industry, and your clients, unlocks tremendous long-lasting value and impact for your company. Unfortunately, most small business owners seldom, if ever, dig deep enough into understanding their customers’ triggers and resolutions.

Achieving effective brand positioning within your marketplace will improve and simplify the way the company markets its products and services. It is important to be clear about your company’s brand positioning strategy. This strategy is going to give you and your entire team clarity around when and how your company will show up in the minds of your customers and marketplace.

Most recently, one of our clients reported to me with tears of joy in their eyes that spending the time working on discovering their DNA and applying the principles and strategies we’ve given them has been extremely valuable. They received an endorsement that their customer had defined their company as having a soul that feeds other souls. WOW!! Talk about a brand having a long-lasting impact!

The first step to discovering the DNA of your brand is to understand your competitive landscape. Your competitive landscape will reveal what is standard in the industry and what is the unique addition your company infuses into the industry. I often remind my clients that good customer service is not a USP. Good customer service is a standard. Customers expect good customer service. There is nothing unique about it. Make sure you spend time identifying the specifics of your company’s uniqueness.

When the DNA of your brand has been discovered, you, as the leader and as a company, will effectively break down the walls between your business and your customer, and the industry. Remember that branding must be consistent and intentional. Understanding and aligning with the company’s DNA must start from the inside, and then it will work its way outside. If the current focus is on increasing customers, increasing brand awareness, and improving customer service delivery, start with branding and, most importantly, clearly outline the DNA of your brand.

The next step to discovering the DNA of your brand is

If you would like more branding and marketing tips to support you on this branding journey, visit www.GetBrandingAndMarketingTips.com for free helpful resources. To learn more about myself, I welcome you to visit www.NatashaDavisVisionary.com and connect with me on LinkedIn @ NatashaDavisVisionary.

Natasha E. Davis, MBA-M, RN-BSN, CEME, CSMA




KEVIN ROSS R&B Singer, Songwriter, & Producer

Photo credit: Bethlehem Taye

Music has always been a passion for Washington, D.C. native Kevin Ross. He attended a performing arts high school and went on to earn a degree from Berklee College of Music. His career began as a songwriter, getting his first placement with Jamie Foxx, which was followed by Ross writing and producing songs for such artists as Johnny Gill, SWV, and Trey Songz. In 2017 Kevin released his long-awaited debut full-length album, The Awakening. The album’s first single, “Long Song



Away,” peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Adult R&B Song chart and at Urban Contemporary Radio with the followup single, “Don’t Go,” cracking the Top 15. The chart-topping success of The Awakening led to Ross receiving several award nominations: Best New Artist (Soul Train Awards), Outstanding New Artist (NAACP Image Awards), and New R&B Artist (iHeart Radio Awards).

“Thing Called Love,” the EP’s lead single, entered the Top 20 on Billboard’s Adult R&B Songs chart and was named the top song at Sirius XM’s Heart and Soul. The success of Audacity led Ross to be named the R&B Artist of the Year at the 2021 Wammie Awards. Currently, Ross is prepping for the release of his third fulllength album, Drive 2. Follow

Ross continues to make a significant mark on the contemporary music scene as he kicked off 2020 debuting at #3 on iTunes R&B Albums chart with Audacity Vol 1.

@kevinrossmusic @iamkevinross


ERIC B. BELL Voiceover Artist, Actor, and Host

Eric B. Bell has a distinctive voice that can be described as smooth, sultry, sexy, and professional. His work includes commercials, trailers, corporate narration, e-learning voiceover reads, and more. Eric was born and raised in San Diego, CA. He received an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California. He is a former collegiate Track & Field athlete. Eric eventually moved to Atlanta, GA, and received an MBA from Georgia State University. He continues to train at the Atlanta Voiceover Studio located in Buckhead. Eric stated being a voiceover actor is a competitive industry, and he is always striving to do better. Last summer, during the pandemic, he built a home studio and created a demo of 6-7 different scripts and genres that display different examples of his range. He is now back in the studio and honing in on his craft.

Before each gig, Eric makes sure he sees the script to familiarize himself with the content as soon as possible. “I read the content over and over again, and I make it my own. I stay hydrated at least 24-hours before a recording session. I get a pen and some paper out and mark it up, so it doesn’t sound like I am just reading. Instead, it comes across as a relaxed and normal conversation.” Eric’s optimal gig is being a part of a scripted podcast or hosting a food and travel show on air or over the airwaves. “I love food and travel, and working on this type of show would combine all of my talent and interests.” Eric is continuing to audition and pursue his dreams. Here are some words of advice for anyone looking to pursue a career in voiceover acting. “If you think or feel you have a talent, go ahead and pursue it. You don’t know if you don’t try. Take classes and receive coaching is

the first step. We all have wonderfully sounding voices. Training will help you to use your voice to convey a message to tell a story. Continue to chase your dreams. Stay prayful and positive. One thing about this industry is that you will receive a lot of no’s before a yes. Stay strongminded and know that you have talent. Believe in yourself, and you will achieve your goals.” To learn more about Eric, please visit ericbbell.com. @ericbbell




The 12th Annual BronzeLens Virtual Experience Presents

2021 “Best of Festival” Winners The 12th BronzeLens Film Festival (BronzeLens) culminated with nine filmmakers and two actors receiving top honors in the festival’s competitive categories. Special tributes were given to recipients of both the Founders Award and Trailblazer Award. The six-day festival, presented for the second year virtually, wrapped its annual event of multifaceted Powerhouse panels, workshops, and demos by honoring the Best of Festival winners. “As we bring to a close the 12th year of BronzeLens, it is with great pleasure that we salute these talented storytellers, actors, and special honorees for their authentic and diverse works and accomplishments in the film industry,” said Kathleen Bertrand, founder, and executive producer BronzeLens Film Festival. The positive response from this years’ BronzeLens is a testament to the wealth of extraordinary stories from various parts of the world, waiting to be shared and that despite the challenges of the pandemic, we are triumphant.” This year the festival presented two special awards to honor the accomplishments of two distinguished professionals who have made countless contributions to the entertainment industry. The Founder’s Award was presented to Tia Powell, publisher of OZ Magazine; the Festival’s Trailblazer Award winner was Madeline Anderson, award-winning documentary filmmaker/producerdirector/film editor/educator. BronzeLens’ 2012 lineup presented a record 180 official selections with 63 world premieres, 15 from returning filmmakers from 13 countries: Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Ireland, India, Israel, Ghana, the Netherland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Americas.



The 2021 list of BronzeLens winners including, Features, Documentaries, International Films, Shorts, Student Films, Webisodes, Music Video Best Actress and Actor are listed below. BEST OF FESTIVAL Roads to Olympia – Director: Ramazan Nanayev; Producer: Ramazan Nanayev, Elise Sievert, Yanal Kassay, Eline Porto BEST FEATURE Queen of the Morning Calm - Director: Gloria Ui Young Kim; Producer: Gloria Ui Young Kim BEST DOCUMENTARY 2020 The Year of the Nurse – Director: Robyn Jones; Producer: Robyn Jones, William Roebuck, BEST SHORT Al-Sit – Director: Suzannah Mirghani; Producer: Suzannah Mirghani, Eiman Mirghani BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY Continuing a Legacy – Director: Elizabeth Bayne; Producer: Elizabeth Bayne BEST REEL SOUTH SHORT DOCUMENTARY Wonderfully Made – Director: Benita Ozoude; Producer: Benita Ozoude BEST WEB SERIES


The Bottom – Director: Supadope; Producer: Marcus Munroe, Lem Collins, Karon Joseph Riley, Travis Love Hunter 1 & 2 – Director: Kelvin Owens; Producer: Kai Turé, Tiffiny Turé, Elliott Turé BEST STUDENT FILM My Own Mecca – Director: Alba Roland Mejia; Producer: Maddy Graves, Monica Castro BEST MUSIC/DANCE VIDEO META – Director: Danielle Swatzie, Kamryn Harris; Producer: True Colors Theatre Company BEST ACTOR Antonio Carlos – Roads to Olympia BEST ACTRESS: Nikki Lynette Get Out Alive ABOUT MADELINE ANDERSON Madeline Anderson is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, producer, director, film editor, and educator. She learned the technical skills of filmmaking while working in the industry. An important part of her training was obtained while working at Ricky Leacock’s production company. Leacock, a world-famous documentary filmmaker, was Anderson’s mentor when she directed her first film, Integration Report 1 in 1960.

for the film and television production industry, with the Georgia Film and Television SourceBook as a bellwether: over 600 pages featuring some 3,900 crew, vendors, and companies with a huge online viewership. In addition to the directories, Oz Magazine is a 25-year-old business-to-business online and printed magazine for and about the people and companies working in Georgia’s film and television production industry. In 2014, Oz published the Industry Yearbook, a 40-year history of Georgia’s Film Industry, and the people who helped build it. Powell was a founding member of the Georgia Production Partnership (GPP), a non-profit organization founded in 1995. The original goal was dedicated to reversing the collapse of production in Georgia. She was the first chairperson of GPP’s Communications Committee. Through grassroots efforts, GPP became a unified force for the industry and was a key player in the drafting and passing of several bills, including the Georgia Sales & Use Tax industry in Georgia, and is the primary reason for Georgia’s preeminence in the production business. Powell has won numerous awards and honors for her work in the industry. In 2016, she won a bid to bring the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI)’s annual Cineposium to Atlanta. Her most coveted awards are The Founder award from the Black Women Film Network and the Top Film Directory in the world, voted by the Association of Film Commissioners International (2017). ABOUT THE BRONZELENS FILM FESTIVAL

Anderson adopted a method of filmmaking which combined footage shot on location during the time of the incidences with newsreel footage to tell the story. This technique, which was dictated by economy and time, became the distinctive style of her filmmaking. With the completion of Integration Report 1, Anderson became the first African American woman born in the United States to produce and direct a 20-minute 16-millimeter sync sound documentary film. After working with Shirley Clarke on The Cool World, Anderson was finally admitted into the film editor’s union after a bitter fight. She then became the first African American to work as a staff writer-editor for NET (now WNET) Productions. She later worked as a film editor on the original “Black Journal” series. She left Black Journal to direct and edit I Am Somebody, the film she is most recognized for. Anderson has also made films for children while working at the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) and for the PBS series “Infinity Factory” on which she also served as the executive producer.

ABOUT TIA POWELL For 30 years, Tia Powell has been a central and instrumental figure in Georgia’s thriving film and television production industry. Powell began her career in 1980 as a crew person for Canadian film and TV. She is now the publisher and sole owner of Oz Publishing, Inc., the award-winning voice for the film and television industry in Georgia and a resource for productions across the nation since 1990. Oz publishes four annual directories

BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta, Georgia, is a non-profit organization founded in 2009 that is dedicated to bringing national and worldwide attention to Atlanta as a center for film and film production for people of color. Its mission is two-fold: to promote Atlanta as the film mecca for people of color and to showcase films, and provide networking opportunities that will develop the next generation of filmmakers. Since its inception, BronzeLens producers have brought national and worldwide attention to Atlanta, helping to showcase the city as a leader in the thriving film industry. For more information regarding the BronzeLens Film Festival, please visit https://bronzelens.com/. SUPPORT FOR THE 2021 FESTIVAL COMES FROM:



SPONSORS WarnerMedia, City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs, DeKalb Entertainment Commission, Black Public Media, and SAGindie MEDIA PARTNERS Fulton County Films, WCLK/91.9 FM, and City of South Fulton Tourism Office POWERHOUSE PARTNERS Microsoft, Scriptation, Seed&Spark, and Atlanta Pitch Summit





“History is waiting on us”: Senator Reverend Warnock Introduces Freedom to Vote Act, Speaks on Senate Floor to Urge Colleagues to Act on Voting Rights U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) spoke on the Senate floor, calling on every single one of his colleagues to support the Freedom to Vote Act, which will improve access to the ballot box, advance election integrity reforms & protect the nation’s democracy from emerging threats. The Freedom to Vote Act, legislation that includes the Preventing Election Subversion Act and Voters on the Move Act, two specific provisions championed by Senator Warnock, improves access to the ballot for Georgians and for Americans, advances commonsense election integrity reforms, and protects our democracy from emerging threats. Importantly, this proposal reflects feedback from state and local election officials to ensure that the people responsible for implementing these reforms are able to do so effectively. This bill also elevates the voices of Georgia and American voters by ending partisan gerrymandering and rooting out the undue influence of special interest money in our politics. The legislation, which was introduced and co-sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Alex Padilla (D-CA), and Jon Tester (D-MT). Many of the co-sponsors joined Senator Warnock on the Senate floor to underscore the importance of this legislation. HIGHLIGHTS FROM SENATOR WARNOCK’S FLOOR SPEECH: • Our work is a testament to Democrats’ commitment to protecting access to the ballot box for every eligible voter. I think it’s important to remind us that we were blocked from debating this issue in June. It bears repeating so that the American people understand that that’s what got stopped in June – not the actual bill, but the ability to debate the bill on the Senate floor. •

But I’m proud that our group was able to come together – we decided we were not about to let this fight to protect voting rights die in this Congress. That passing voting rights is the most important thing we can do in this Congress. Because if we are going to lengthen and strengthen the cords of our democracy, that won’t just happen. We will have to work for it. We will have to fight for it. We will have to stand up for it. And that’s what we intend to do.



The Freedom to Vote Act will improve access to the ballot for all eligible Americans by setting national standards for absentee voting, early voting and in-person voting; it will make sure that [ballot] drop boxes are available for workers; it will enable the work that is so necessary to strengthen our democracy. This bill will end partisan gerrymandering – yet another way in which the voices of ordinary people are squeezed out of their democracy; and it will advance commonsense reforms to secure our elections.

I say, at least give this bill a chance. Come let us reason together. Let’s talk about it. Let’s have the voting rights discussion that we didn’t have in June – it’s not too late. Let’s have the discussion the American people deserve. Let’s have an open debate and input from both sides. Here on the floor of the United States Senate. That’s why we were sent here!

I know that for those that have been in this body for a while, there’s a sense in which, you know, you offer up proposals and they don’t always make it and you fight another day. When I look at what’s going on across our country, I think that if we don’t address what’s happening right now, we will have crossed a Rubicon that imperils our democracy for years to come.

And I’m not about to sit here silently and allow that to happen. Too many people died. Too much blood was shed. Too many sacrifices made. Too much is at stake. And it’s beneath the legacy of the greatest deliberative body on the planet to refuse to even have a debate about voting rights.

We’ve got some things done this year, but I believe if we don’t pass voting rights, history will rightly judge us harshly. The folks who sent us here are counting on us. History is waiting on us. Our children are watching us. And a great cloud of witnesses – John Lewis; a white woman named Viola Liuzzo who died fighting for voting rights; Abraham Joshua Heschel; Medgar Evers – a great cloud of witnesses urging us on to march towards the mark of the high calling. The high calling of our democratic ideals: a nation where every voice is heard and every vote counts.