Understanding house rules can aid new ventures; so before sounding off on culture and media’s junction for pop impact in Atlanta, definitions may be helpful.
Per Webster’s Dictionary and numerous online references, from popculturejunkmail to Cliff Notes, culture stems from what we deem “excellent in arts, letters, manners, and scholarly pursuits,” while pop culture references mass culture, relying “heavily on media to permeate our daily lives.” Now throw ATL in the mix.
Headquarters to Coca-Cola, CNN, AT&T and Delta Air Lines to name a few, Atlanta clearly does business well. That we hosted the 1996 Olympic Games andown major sports teams like the Braves, Falcons and Hawks reveals vision for expansion. 30 colleges and universities including Emory, Georgia Tech and renowned HBCU’s Spelman and Morehouse confirm focus on the future. That focus may need tweaking as Screen Gems, Raleigh Studios and more west coast entities join Rainforest Films and Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta’s venture onto the media map. Emergent business town and capital city of the South East, check. Film industry player and pop culture don… well, let’s check.
“Atlanta? What’s happening there?” is the response to an Angeleno considering relocation. “Tyler Perry, right?” “I hear there’s a ton of production, what’s that about?” In the film industry gridiron, if LA is the Super Bowl, Atlanta is a pre-season game. Not good for our mainstream ranking, and not good for engaging Hollywood, that feeder of pop culture business. So how do we propagate Atlanta’s ascendancy?
For starters, clearly define identity. Every city has a personality. Pop culture index cities like New York and LA have specific attributes branding them, which in turn find their way into the movies. The Godfather trilogy, Wall Street and its sequel Money Never Sleeps cement New York as the epicenter of US capitalism. We buy that. From The Player to Clueless to Mean Girls, we get that LA indulges excess and looks. But is Atlanta all hip-hop and no story? As we cite Gone With the Wind to Driving Miss Daisy to ATL, Madea, Blindside, Stomp the Yard and the upcoming Avon Man, perhaps we should consider: what do we want to say and have said of Atlanta? All media awaits our clarity so as to quickly and seamlessly tweet, stumble upon, digg, like, and so on in powerfully branded bytes for pop culture reach.